25 October 2018, The Tablet

News Briefing: from Britain and Ireland

News Briefing: from Britain and Ireland

Lindisfarne Gospels

Treasures including the Lindisfarne Gospels (above), Bede’s Ecclesiastical History and a Northumbrian bible – in England for the first time in 1,300 years – are on display at the British Library. “Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, World, War”, which will run to 19 February 2019, brings together art and literature from the decline of Roman Britain to the Norman Conquest. Among the exhibits will be the Lichfield Angel, a 1,200-year old carving of the archangel Gabriel discovered beneath Lichfield Cathedral in 2003.


Organ donation criticism

The Bishop for Healthcare, Paul Mason, has warned that requiring an opt-out of consent for organ donation amounts to a “plundering of the body”.

Speaking ahead of a debate on the report stage of a new Organ Donation Bill in the House of Commons, Bishop Mason said: “The Government’s plans to introduce ‘opt-out’ consent for organ and tissue donation in England undermine the concept of donation as a gift. It crosses the line of what constitutes a reasonable action by the state towards individuals in a free society.”


The Government should do more to promote Religious Education in schools, and should consider ending parents’ right to withdraw children from RE classes, the religion think tank Theos has said.

In a report on the future of Religious Education that summarised three projects on RE, including the recently-published final report by the Commission on Religious Education, Theos said that “government ministers should emphasise publicly and vocally the critical importance of RE.”


St Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney, has appointed a new chief executive. The hospice, one of the oldest in Britain, said that former nurse and NHS Trust chief executive Tony McLean would join in November. Mr McLean said: “The hospice has a very proud heritage and strong values spanning 113 years when the Religious Sisters of Charity first opened the doors to the dying and poor of East London.”


The Iona Community has launched an appeal to raise the £400,000 needed to complete the refurbishment of part of the Abbey and its community spaces. The Community, based on the small island of Iona in the Inner Hebrides, hopes to re-open to guests in time for Easter 2020. Unfinished work includes linking the centre to the island’s renewable energy resources and refurbishing the rectory.


Romero shrine

A shrine to the recently canonised St Oscar Romero has been dedicated in a parish church in Edinburgh. The shrine, which was opened by the parish priest Fr William Pearsall SJ, contains a blood­stained fragment of the alb St Oscar Romero was wearing when he was killed while celebrating Mass. The relic has been donated by Jan Graffius, curator of collections at Stonyhurst College. The shrine will receive its solemn dedication on 24 March 2019, the feast of St Oscar Romero and the anniversary of his martyrdom.


The pro-life charity Right to Life has warned that Labour MPs’ efforts to prompt a vote on abortion law in Northern Ireland could introduce “one of the most extreme abortion regimes in the world” in the UK. On Tuesday, MPs debating a Ten Minute Rule Bill brought by Diana Johnson MP, voted in favour of repealing the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act which makes seeking abortion a criminal offence. Superseded in England and Wales by the 1967 Abortion Act, it remains the law in Northern Ireland. The bill will receive a second reading next month.


Archbishop’s peace plea

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin commemorated the centenary of Ireland’s worst maritime disaster with a plea for a culture of peace. At a Mass in Dublin’s Pro Cathedral to commemorate the torpedoing of RMS Leinster by a German U-boat in October 1918, which resulted in the deaths of 564 people, the Archbishop said the history of the First World War was one of “horrific barbarities”. “History shows us … how tensions and wars between States and within States arise when one population group or one nation begins to feel that it is somehow superior to another,” he said.

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