04 September 2019, The Tablet

News Briefing: From Britain and Ireland

Scottish Catholic parents are being invited to join a network aimed at safeguarding the future of the country’s Catholic schools

News Briefing: From Britain and Ireland

John Henry Newman

Martyn Percy, the dean of Christ Church college, Oxford, has been reinstated after a tribunal chaired by a high court judge dismissed complaints against him. Details about the complaints were not made public, although the college told alumni in a letter that the row related to pay. In a statement it said: “Following a thorough investigation, the tribunal has decided that the charges are not upheld and that there is no cause to remove the Dean as Head of House. However, the tribunal made some criticism of the Dean’s conduct and found that there was one breach of his fiduciary duty.”


Westminster Abbey is to celebrate the canonisation of John Henry Newman with a day-long symposium exploring his influences and legacies. The symposium, on 18 October, will bring together Catholic and Anglican theologians and historians including Professor Eamon Duffy of Magdalene College, Cambridge and Professor Roderick Strange, of St Mary’s University Twickenham. Tickets are available at https://newman-symposium.eventbrite.co.uk


Cafod is among the signatories to a letter to the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, calling for more funding to tackle the climate emergency. The signatories, who also included Oxfam and Greenpeace, costed measures they thought were necessary to tackle climate change, and concluded that the Government needed to more than double its public investment on climate and nature in order to fulfill its commitment to reach a net zero carbon target by 2050. Christine Allen, Director of Cafod, said: “The government has a golden opportunity to invest in the infrastructure the UK needs to thrive and to help British people access the green jobs of the future, and to limit the UK’s contribution to climate change and help protect the world’s poorest people, who are already suffering its effects.”


Scottish Catholic parents are being invited to join a network aimed at safeguarding the future of the country’s Catholic schools. The Parents’ Network will be relaunched at a meeting on 21 September. Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow, President of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, said that the new initiative was “directly related to the responsibility of Catholic parents to be the first teachers of their children”. It comes as Edinburgh City Council voted last week to delay a decision about removing voting rights from religious representatives, pending consultation with faith groups. Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews and Edinburgh thanked parents and parishioners for the “enormous support” in petitioning the council.


The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby joined with Christians in Sri Lanka to mourn victims of the terrorist attack last Easter Sunday that killed 259 people in three churches and several luxury hotels. During the visit Archbishop Welby prayed at the spot on the glass-covered floor at St Sebastian’s Catholic church in Negomb where a bomb exploded during Easter Sunday Mass, killing more than 100 people. He also met with Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo and families of victims.


Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin led tributes to Dublin priest Fr Tony Coote who died last week after a long battle with motor neurone disease. The popular priest, who was administrator of St Thérèse Church, Mount Merrion and St Laurence O’Toole Church in Dublin, grew as “a powerful witness” just as his human strength began to wane, the Archbishop said at his removal.

The 55-year-old was diagnosed in February 2018 with the debilitating disease and undertook a walk the length of Ireland from Donegal to Cork to raise funds for research into the condition.

Pushed in his wheelchair for the whole of the 550km journey by family members, friends, parishioners and former students from UCD, the epic walk was made into a documentary by RTE and covered by The Tablet.


Some 3,200 parishes across 16 dioceses are now powered by “green” energy thanks to a new deal between two Catholic organisations, Interdiocesan Fuel Management Ltd (IFM) and Churchmarketplace (CMP). The combined buying power of the 16 dioceses enabled them to negotiate a saving of more than £180,000 on the renewable energy tariffs.

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