19 July 2018, The Tablet

News Briefing: From Britain and Ireland

News Briefing: From Britain and Ireland

Downside names new prior

Downside Abbey has announced that Fr Nicholas Wetz (pictured), Prior at Belmont Abbey, will move to Downside to take on the role of Prior Administrator from September. The community, described as “low in numbers” by its current Prior, Dom Leo Maidlow Davis, will also receive Dom Oliver Holt from Douai Abbey as a resident while Dom Mark Barrett from Worth Abbey will be a regular visitor. “Together they will help to reinvigorate our community and strengthen Downside”, Dom Leo said in a 16 July statement.


The Archbishop of Glasgow is to meet the Scottish justice secretary, Humza Yousaf, after a priest was attacked during an Orange walk. The Church has called on the Scottish government to take strong action after the assault on Canon Tom White, on 7 July, as parishioners were leaving Mass at St Alphonsus’ Church in the Calton area of Glasgow. Anthony Horan, director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office, who will accompany Archbishop Philip Tartaglia to the meeting at Holyrood, said “a strong message” was needed “that anti-Catholic behaviour will no longer be tolerated and that government will do everything in its power to stop it”. The Church has called on the Scottish government to stop labelling such attacks “sectarian”, and not to attempt to sweep anti-Catholic hate crimes under the carpet.


Adoption apology call

MPs have urged the Prime Minister, Theresa May, to apologise on behalf of the nation to women who were forced to hand over babies for adoption in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The motion, calling for recognition of the “pain and suffering that the practice of forced adoption caused many women from the 1960s onwards”, was tabled by a group of cross-party backbench MPs and approved unopposed.

It is estimated that half-a-million babies were adopted into largely church-run mother and baby homes before legal reforms in the mid-1970s.


Christianity is viewed marginally more favourably by the post-millennial generation than by those in older age groups, according to a ComRes survey released last week. Fifty-one per cent of so-called “Generation Z” (18-24-year-olds) said they had a positive experience of Christians and Christianity. However, two-thirds of the age group said that they never went to church.


Dame Colette Bowe, chair of the Tablet Trust and of the Banking Standards Board, was to be made Doctor of Humane Letters “honoris causa” by Liverpool Hope University on 19 July at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. Educated by the Sisters of Notre Dame at the High School in Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, Dame Colette went on to study Economics at London University, and to work in Whitehall and the City.


Ireland is set to become the first country in the world to sell off its investments in fossil fuels following the passage of a new bill last week. Trócaire, the bishops’ development agency, has welcomed the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill. It will require the state’s €8bn Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) to divest all public money from peat, coal, oil and gas companies “as soon as is practicable”. About €318m is believed to be at stake. The bill follows more than two years of lobbying by the Independent Donegal politician Thomas Pringle TD, as well as Trócaire. Éamonn Meehan, Executive Director of Trócaire, said the bill sent a powerful signal about the need to speed up the phasing-out of fossil fuels, if global climate goals are to be met.


A Christian mother has launched an appeal to raise £50,000 to challenge a High Court ruling which recently made a Marie Stopes abortion clinic in Ealing, west London, the first to be surrounded by a protest-free buffer zone. On 2 July, Mr Justice Turner declared the 100-metre zone, “a necessary step in a democratic society”. Alina Dulgheriu, a mother who received help from a pro-life vigil when she attended the clinic for an abortion in 2011, hopes to appeal the ruling. At the time of going to press, Ms Dulgheriu had raised nearly £20,000 through a “GoFundMe” appeal in 11 days to fund legal costs.

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