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1 DECEMBER 2012 2.80

www.thetablet.co.uk | Est 1840




Guest editor: Julie Etchingham
WITH Justine Greening, Ed Balls, Penny Marshall,
Rohit Kachroo, Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala,
David Harewood, Delia Smith and Dermot OLeary
A Special Edition to mark Cafods 50th birthday
PLUS Cardinal Angelo Scola interviewed Edward Kessler on Vatican II and the Jews
Linda Woodhead: its tougher being an Anglican woman than a Catholic one
01 Tablet 1 Dec 12 Cover_Cover 28/11/2012 18:58 Page 1
1 December 2012
lthough its relations with other faiths are far better
than they were before the Second Vatican Council,
the Catholic Church has still not resolved all the
complexities of that new relationship. The way for-
ward is by theological exploration, dialogue and joint action.
Theologians must not be discouraged from thinking outside
the box, as happened in the Vaticans disgraceful treatment
of the late Fr Jacques Dupuis SJ; nor should political com-
plications stand in the way of addressing awkward questions,
such as whether the Church should recognise a specifically
religious claim by the Jewish people to the land of Israel.
The Vatican II decree Nostra Aetate transformed Jewish-
Christians relations, outlawing Christian anti-Semitism and
anti-Judaism. But it glossed over the land issue, not least because
Christian Arab leaders became concerned that Palestinian inter-
ests should also be recognised for the sake of balance. In its
final form, Nostra Aetate also had important things to say about
Catholic-Muslim relations, and indeed relations with other
faiths, too. But there are still loose ends. Does Nostra
Aetates proclamation that the Catholic Church rejects
nothing that is true and holy in other religions mean that
they can be regarded as alternative paths to salvation? If they
are not, what is the point of them? If they are, however, what
happens to the uniqueness of Jesus Christ?
Dr Edward Kesslers article in The Tablet today in celebra-
tion of Nostra Aetate tactfully raises several such issues. Nor
can they be ignored in the work of Cardinal Angelo Scola,
Archbishop of Milan, interviewed in these pages, who has
courageously pioneered dialogue between Catholics and
Founded in 1840
Muslims through his cultural foundation, Oasis. It is
simplistic to dismiss such efforts on the grounds that,
logically, Catholicism and Islam cannot both be true; better
to start with the expectation that each of them may well be
truer than the other side might have supposed.
Islams sublime emphasis on the holiness of God, for instance,
can only be admired by Catholics. What cannot be said is that
when they pray together or side by side, only one of them is
praying to a God who truly exists. There is one true God and
both are praying to him a radically uncomfortable thought
for fundamentalists of either type. This basic insight can trans-
form interfaith relations, as in the foundation of a centre for
interfaith dialogue, which opened in Vienna this week with
Saudi finance and enthusiastic backing from the Catholic
Church, the United Nations and Jewish groups. It is also
relevant to the reality of modern Catholic education in Britain,
where members of different faiths share the same classroom.
It means, for instance, that the facilitation of prayer by Muslim
pupils becomes a religious duty for Catholic teachers.
Latest statistics collected by the Catholic Education Service
point to the growing diversity of religion among the intake
of a typical Catholic school. But the gradual decline in the
Catholic intake should not be regarded as a setback. A Catholic
school should enshrine the ideals of Nostra Aetate at its heart,
rejecting nothing that is true and holy, and regard foster-
ing interfaith relations as its special business. If the result is
to be growth of respect rather than confusion, however, the
religious identity of Catholic pupils has to be secure. If it does
nothing else, a Catholic school must take religion seriously.
Beneath the statue of Christ at the front
of my parish church is a little metal box
set into the wall with a slot. Beneath the
slot is the word Cafod. Its presence is a
reminder of the Churchs mission to the
poor, and a reminder that it cannot
function without our help. Whether its
a donations box in your church, a Family
Fast Day envelope in your childs school
bag or a Fairtrade sale after Mass, if youre
a Catholic its likely Cafod has been a constant presence in your
life, as it has in mine. Its sometimes easy to forget that as our
coins drop into its boxes, there is an echo on the other side of
the world: in a childs cry of joy at being fed or in a gush of
fresh water long-awaited.
Cafods beginnings were humble: a group of Catholic
women gathered around a kitchen table in 1960, who set out
to raise money for an infant nursing home in Dominica. They
printed 600,000 leaflets, hoped to raise 500 and collected
6,673. They saved hundreds of lives. The next year, they raised
32,000 and in 1962, Cafod was born.
In the Biafra crisis in 1967, as millions suffered violence and
starvation, Cafod was there. In Bangladesh and in Cambodia
when natural disaster and war struck in the 1970s, Cafod was
there. When famine hit Ethiopia in the 1980s, Cafod was there.
In the 1990s, it co-founded Fairtrade and helped child
soldiers lay down their weapons. As its mission to the poor
and desperate in 40 countries continued in the new century,
it also became a campaigner on debt, climate change and poverty.
So when Cafod and The Tablet asked me to guest-edit this
edition to mark the charitys fiftieth birthday, it was an hon-
our to say yes. Its a chance to take stock of its achievements
and to look at the challenges that lie ahead for all those work-
ing in aid and development, including next years Hunger Summit
ahead of the G8 meeting. In this special edition, we hear from
new Development Secretary Justine Greening, and a gaunt-
let is thrown down for her on food security by Shadow Chancellor
Ed Balls. As South Sudan finds its feet as a new nation, one of
its bishops tells us how Cafod is walking with them.
Television newsrooms like mine grapple with how best to
cover disaster and development; veteran ITN correspondent
Penny Marshall examines how such reporting has evolved. And
as pressure grows on aid budgets and allegations abound of
corruption, ITNs Africa correspondent Rohit Kachroo asks
whether its time to stop giving money to the continent. We
also hear from some of Cafods supporters. David Harewood,
the British star of the hit US series Homeland, writes about
the compassion to be discovered at the heart of disaster. And
at the start of Advent, Delia Smith and X-Factors Dermot
OLeary share their recipes for frugal times and fishy Fridays.
All Cafod life is here.
Julie Etchingham
Julie Etchingham presents News at Ten for ITV News.
02 Tablet 1 Dec 12 Leaders_Leaders 28/11/2012 19:10 Page 2
4 The right and smart thing to do Julie Etchingham
Q & A with Justine Greening, International Development Secretary
6 New nations baptism of fire Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala
South Sudan is a year old, but it cannot yet go it alone
8 Media and the aid message Penny Marshall
Charities and journalists are interdependent, but pitfalls lurk
10 Austerity fayre Delia Smith and Dermot OLeary
Waste not: a selection of hearty recipes for hard times
11 Is it time to stop giving to Africa? Rohit Kachroo
Many economies there are on the rise, says one correspondent
12 Feed the world Ed Balls and Mary Creagh
An appeal to the Government to tackle the food giants methods
14 Caretaker of the oasis Catherine Pepinster
Cardinal Angelo Scola on his mission to boost interfaith dialogue
15 Advent meditation Teresa Morgan
Are we ready to welcome God with us? asks the first in our series
16 When the Church came in from the cold Edward Kessler
How Nostra Aetate was a symbol of the new era for the Church
19 Dont blame the laity Mark Chapman
Bishops must work with the synod in future, not against it
20 A womans place Linda Woodhead
The Catholic Church welcomes women in the way the Church of
England does not
1 December 2012
Church backs Saudi interfaith centre
Go-ahead for first Catholic universities since Reformation
When there is enough food to feed the world,
why are 870m people going hungry?
Comment on women bishops kept on
coming, driving far inland like a tidal bore
Our Church: a personal history of the
Church of England
Roger Scruton
Inconvenient People: lunacy, liberty and
the mad-doctors in Victorian England
Sarah Wise
Patrick Leigh Fermor: an adventure
Artemis Cooper
Laura Gascoigne
Russian art
Francine Stock
The Hunt
John Morrish
Why Poverty?: Give Us the Money
Mark Lawson
The Magistrate; The Mousetrap;
and The Seagull
03 Tablet 1 Dec 12 Cont_P3 contents 28/11/2012 19:07 Page 3
The right and
smart thing to do
For this special edition of The Tablet, focusing on aid, the
International Development Secretary, Justine Greening,
tells Julie Etchingham why the Government backs aid,
and what shes doing with money once earmarked for
India. But she warns that levels of state funding for
agencies like Cafod cannot be guaranteed
he woman given a one-way ticket in
the Cabinet reshuffle out of the
Transport Department and into the
chair of International Development
Secretary to spearhead Britains efforts on
global poverty and hunger has found she has
a lot on her political plate.
In just three months, her department has
been accused of wasting millions on private
contractors who run aid programmes on
Britains behalf, has been forced to suspend
aid to Uganda over corruption allegations
and now has similar pressure over Rwanda.
It has also announced its cutting Indias aid
programme by 200 million, because the
country is now deemed too rich.
Ms Greenings is also one of the few gov-
ernment departments not to be the target of
cuts. As many of her colleagues grapple with
austerity, DFIDs [Department for
International Aid] spending is set to rise from
its current 8 billion to over 10bn by the
end of 2014. In a period of tight budgetary
control how will she spend her money?
Ms Greening is grappling with all this, as
Britains role in combating world poverty and
hunger takes centre stage. Next June, the UK
will hold a hunger summit ahead of the G8
in Enniskillen. David Cameron is co-chairing
a UN panel on what should come next after
the Millennium Development goals and
then, in the same month, the Rio+20 summit.
In a time of austerity, your department
isseeing a huge rise in spending, from more
than 8bn in 2012/13. How does the
Government justify this?
Keeping our promises to the worlds poorest
people isnt just the right thing to do; its the
smart thing to do. Development tackles the
root causes of threats like terrorism, illegal
immigration, crime and disease. It is in every-
ones interests for countries around the world
to be stable and secure, to have educated and
healthy populations, and to have growing
With such pressure to cut the overseas aid
budget, can you guarantee youll maintain it at
0.7 per cent of national income until the next
Were on course to meet the target of spending
0.7 per cent from next year and its a
Conservative-led Government which will
achieve our long-standing promise to do so.
Youre carrying out a complete audit of your
department. Do you think every pound is
spent wisely at the moment?
Im determined to ensure our budget is spent
wisely, which is why Ive introduced new finan-
cial controls in the department to ensure
ministers have greater oversight, signing off
spending decisions of more than 1m.
But what about Nigeria? How can you justify
the 102m already spent there and commit a
further 126m over the next seven years when
an independent assessor says the money has
failed to produce any major improvement in
pupil learning?
The ICAI [Independent Commission for Aid
Impact] report was a limited enquiry in that
the team only visited one per cent of schools,
most of which were only in only one state in
Nigeria, and they did not take into account
the most recent evidence of the projects
progress. However, we will carefully review
the reports recommendations and respond
in due course.
Youve just cut the aid budget to India
dramatically and have halted spending in
Uganda temporarily. Where is the money
youve saved going to be spent? What are your
We will complete the short-term projects
which are already under way in India but we
will make no new financial aid grants. This
means spending 200m less before 2015,
which will give me more flexibility to add to
our programmes in lower-income countries.
Is it really morally right to cut Indias money,
when it still has the biggest concentration of
poor people in the world?
The Indian Government last year spent
50bn on health and education programmes.
When I travelled to India earlier this month,
again and again I was told that it is British
advice to help India get the most out of their
own spend, and skills-sharing, that is valued
more than the size of our aid grants.
With all the development charities coming
together in 2013 on the issue of world hunger
what will DFID do to put this on the political
agenda? What should the Prime Minister be
pressing for?
I very much welcome charities plans for a
food campaign next year and Im looking for-
ward to working with them to highlight such
an important issue.The Prime Minister has
said that he will use the UKs presidency of
the G8 to lead the way in the battle against
hunger, with a special event on food and nutri-
tion a few days before the meeting, to follow
up on this years Olympic hunger summit.
Why is lack of food such a problem in the
twenty-frst century? What is the main UK
government policy for addressing this issue?
Its shocking but the facts are that up to one
billion people do not get enough food to eat
and a further billion are deficient in essential
vitamins and minerals. During the next year,
we will push forward progress on the G8 New
Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition,
which I co-chair.
Will this Government press for change to the
EU Common Agricultural Policy [CAP] so that
farmers in the developing world have a fair
chance to thrive, rather than struggling
against a distorted market?
Yes. The UK wants significant reform of the
CAP so that, over the long term, farm pro-
duction is not reliant on direct subsidies.
What is the Government doing to make sure
British companies based here are paying their
fair share of tax on the profts they are making
in developing countries?
As the Prime Minister pledged [on 21
November], next years G8, which Britain is
hosting, will seek to maintain the momentum
generated by the G20 on information
Q & A with the International Development Secretary
1 December 2012
Photo: PA
When there is enough
food to feed the world,
why are 870 million
people going hungry?
Just a few weeks ago I was in
Charlotte, North Carolina, filming
the final episodes of Season 2 of
Homeland. Like much of the East
Coast, we sat with bated breath,
glued to the news reports, waiting for
Hurricane Sandy to hit. And my, did
she hit. In the cities of the
developed West, with our soaring
skyscrapers and modern
underground systems, we can be
fooled into thinking we are
impervious to the forces of nature,
making it all the more humbling to
see the scenes that played out in New
York, New Jersey, Florida and
beyond: families literally washed out
of their homes, public transport
brought to a standstill and whole
cities blacked out.
In the aftermath, we saw people
sifting through what was left of their
homes and businesses, desperately
searching for fuel and fresh water.
On their faces were shock and
frustration as they struggled to get
back to normality.
While the circumstances were
different, it reminded me of my time
in Maralal in north-east Kenya when
I visited families severely affected by
ongoing drought. There, whole
communities are having their way of
life destroyed by extreme and
unpredictable weather, leaving them
without livelihoods or homes and
with very limited access to food and
water. There is often conflict too,
over the few remaining resources.
I remember being genuinely
amazed at how everyone was
working together in such a
challenging environment, and by the
generosity of the people who
welcomed me into their homes. Even
though they were surviving on so
little, they felt willing, compelled
even, to share with me a stranger
they may never see again.
Also surprising was the
overwhelming message of hope
running through all their stories of
loss and devastation; an unwavering
hope and faith that their brothers
and sisters in Kenya, in Africa,
across the globe would not turn a
blind eye to their struggle.
We live on a planet of limited
resources, an abstract notion for
many of us, but for the poorest and
most vulnerable, those limits are all
too real. For their sake, we must
come together as a global
community and work through this
challenge together. When there is
enough food to feed the world, why
are 870 million people going
hungry? We must learn to share
what we have; no one race or nation
has a greater right to life than
Of course the causes of hunger are
vast and complex. That is why Cafod
and other UK charities are coming
together next year to demand not
just that we provide aid, but that we
tackle the root causes of that hunger
and find lasting solutions. And for
me, it starts with something quite
simple: helping the small farmers
like those I met not just to survive
and provide food for themselves, but
to grow their businesses and sell food
at reasonable prices. Small farms
account for 90 per cent of
agricultural production in Africa, but
aid is barely reaching them. That is
why Cafods Hungry for Change
campaign calls for small farmers to
get the support and fair treatment
they need to flourish.
As I left Charlotte, the news
reports were moving from the
impact of Sandy to the battle for the
White House. And now President
Obama, Homelands biggest fan, has
been returned to office, I hope he will
consider not just domestic but global
issues, too, where he could make a
lasting impact. Britains Prime
Minister, David Cameron, has a vital
role to play as well and is co-chairing
the United Nations panel planning
how the world will tackle poverty
beyond 2015. I hope both men,
powerful as they are, will recognise
that there is no more important
experience to inform their work than
listening to the voices of those fighting
the daily battle to survive in the
poorest countries.
What swayed many votes in the last
days of the US election was the images
of President Obama showing solidarity
with and warmth for the suffering
residents of New York and New
Jersey. Before President Obama, David
Cameron and the other world leaders
come together in Britain next summer
for the next summit on hunger, I hope
they will visit places like Maralal,
and meet people like those I met. If
they do, Im sure they will come away
not just with a better understanding
of how to help those communities,
but with a real determination to do
so. We can but pray.
David Harewood is currently
starring in the drama series
Homelandon Channel 4 and is a
Cafod supporter.
1 December 2012
exchange and the strengthening of inter -
national tax standards. We will look to go
further including, for example, on tax havens
by improving the quality and quantity of tax
information exchange. We will also work with
developing countries to help them improve
their ability to collect the tax that is due to
Whats your personal view of the role of the
Catholic Church and its agencies in tackling
I greatly value the role Cafod and the
Catholic Church more widely play in tackling
poverty around the world. The Catholic
Church not only gives humanitarian help in
times of disaster but also provides services
such as health and education in some of the
most troubled parts of the world. Churches
are often the first places poor people turn to
in times of need and faith organisations can
reach communities that others cant.
This is why DFID has pledged to work more
closely with faith groups, following our launch
of our faith partnership principles earlier this
year, and Im particularly pleased Cafod has
taken part in our working group identifying
key areas to work on.
Cafod gets 15 per cent of its funding from
DFID. Can you guarantee this will be
maintained? Could DFID meet all its
aspirations without the help of charities like
Cafod and Oxfam?
Like all charities, Cafod needs to apply for
funding, and I cannot guarantee set levels of
funding beyond whats already been agreed,
but Cafod is a valuable partner of DFID and
I expect us to work together long into the
future. Charities like Cafod and Oxfam are
absolutely vital to DFIDs work around the
Achieving DFIDs goals wont be possible
unless we work not just with governments,
but with charities, faith groups and the private
sector, in all the countries where were oper-
ating. Theres been a dramatic fall in charitable
giving its fallen by 20 per cent in the past
year. What impact could that have on aid and
development work?
Charitable giving is still very much alive
Cafods Lent Appeal this year raised an
incredible 9.4m. Match-funding from DFID
takes this total to more than 18m, which
means tens of thousands more people will
have access to clean water and better
Are you surprised that, given the recorded
drop in church attendance, faith-based
charities still receive great support? What
might explain this?
Im not surprised, because of the great
reputation for good work that faith-based
charities have, among churchgoers and non-
churchgoers alike.
Churches and other faith groups are often
first on the ground and the last to leave when
awful crises occur around the world. Their
work makes a difference to countless lives
around the world and I think the general
public recognises this too.
Challenges for South Sudan
New nations
baptism of fire
Nearly 99 per cent of South Sudanese voted for independence in
January 2011, and few of them will have expected anything but a
hard road ahead. But the depredations of the Lords Resistance
Army, which has caused havoc in the region since the 1980s, are
heaping new miseries on the country
ne hundred years ago this month,
a group of Comboni Fathers
reached Mupoi in what is now
South Sudan and though little-
noticed at the time brought the Gospel of
Christ to Sudan. Over the past century, the
Lord has walked with us and proved a reliable
companion through years of hardship and
suffering. Sudan has endured one of the
longest-running civil wars of recent times.
After more than 22 years of fighting and a
2005 peace agreement between the Muslim-
dominated north and Christian-majority
south, South Sudan became independent on
9 July 2011.
On this wonderful occasion of the Churchs
centenary, we will bear witness to the men
and women Religious who brought us faith;
we will thank those who work and pray with
us today. But even as we share food in cele-
bration and thanks together, we cannot hide
away from the challenges we face as a nation,
from the spiralling prices of that food to the
severe refugee crisis in the north of the coun-
People around the world are all too aware
of these challenges. Ask them what they
remember about the past year in South Sudan,
and much as I would like them to say the first
anniversary of our independence in July, or
the upcoming centenary of our Church, I sus-
pect most people will look back on 2012 as
the year they learned about a man named
Joseph Kony, leader of the Lords Resistance
Army (LRA) and an indicted war criminal.
The LRA and its leader originate from across
the border in northern Uganda, but they habit-
ually take refuge in South Sudan, committing
the same atrocities here as they do in Uganda.
Their trademark approach is to kidnap chil-
dren and turn them into killers by forcing
them to murder the innocent, the vulnerable,
or anyone who resists their rule.
In March this year, much to the surprise of
those who have been living under threat of
attack from the LRA for the last decade, the
sympathy of the developed world suddenly
shone upon us, thanks to the universal reach
of YouTube and Twitter. It happened because
of Kony 2012, a short film made as part of a
campaign to have Kony arrested by December
of this year. Kony 2012was not just an internet
film that went viral, but a placard, for those
wishing to show their support for communities
like ours in South Sudan, and willing the
United States military to solve the problem
of the LRA by hunting down Kony.
Eight months on, the attention of the worlds
media has waned, and despite the best efforts
of the US military and other regional forces
both Kony and the LRA are still with us.
Many children are still captive in the hands
of the LRA, their parents unsure if they are
alive or dead, or what emotional and physical
harm they have suffered. For those we have
recovered, we do what we can to help them
readjust and integrate back into our commu-
nities, but sometimes the mental scars run
too deep.
The tragedy for South Sudan is that at a
time when we are striving to establish our
new nation and overcome the challenges of
a weakened economy and high food prices,
when we are still trying to accommodate the
hundreds of thousands of our brothers and
sisters displaced from the north of the old
Sudan we are having to tackle the presence
and the threat of the LRA in our region. I
make no apology for saying that we cannot
do it alone, and that we cannot rely on national
governments in this region that have tried to
get the job done but fallen short. What we
need to deal with the LRA is no less of an
international effort than was needed to bring
North and South Sudan to the negotiating
table, and to secure our path towards
As in that process, this will require a
combination of protection and humanitarian
relief for civilians in affected areas, the removal
of leaders like Kony, and a concerted campaign
to negotiate and promote peace. We need to
see the defection and reintegration of LRA
fighters, among them many of our abducted
I implore those in Britain, America and
other countries who came together to cam-
paign for peace in Sudan to do the same again
now that our peace is threatened once more.
I implore their governments to find the finan-
cial resources and the political will to turn
the goals and objectives of this strategy into
reality. For us, this is a matter of life and death.
What will it tell us about the relationship
between the developed and the developing
world if people in South Sudan, Uganda, the
Democratic Republic of Congo and other
countries in our region are able to say, the
next time there is a major LRA offensive or
wave of atrocities: those in the West were
willing to watch an internet film in 2012,
they were willing to wear a T-shirt and sign
a petition, but that is all they were willing to
do? When it came down to the serious work
of solving the problem, they were not inter-
Of course, there are some whose commit-
ment to our cause knows no bounds: our
friends in Cafod and the other Caritas agencies
who have stood by us for decades, and their
supporters in Britain and across the world
whose donations mean shelter, food, water,
dignity and security for our people. But it will
take more than their efforts and those of the
Church in South Sudan to secure the peace.
We have suffered so much from a war that is
not our own and have often felt forgotten by
our own governments and by the international
community. We need hope and action.
Just as 100 years ago when we embraced
our faith, and last year when we embraced
our independence, we hope that the people
of South Sudan will continue to choose democ-
racy over repression, diversity over division,
human rights and justice over abuse, trans-
parency and accountability over corruption,
and equality between men and women over
discrimination. Above all, I pray that we will
continue to choose peace over war. And I pray
that you will stand with us when we do so.
Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala is Bishop of
Tombura-Yambio, South Sudan.
People fleeing violence gather outside
the compound of the UN mission in
Kadugli, Sudan, last year. Photo: CNS
1 December 2012
A major humanitarian tragedy is
unfolding in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
An armed rebellion in the east has so far forced more
than half a million people to fee from
their homes since April.
Our local Church partners are leading the way
in providing food, shelter and
emergency supplies for afected families,
and CAFOD has pledged 200,000
to support this work.
Please join Father Arsne and all at CAFOD in
praying for a lasting peace.
The Church right now is
shoulder-to-shoulder with
the people. We walk in
solidarity with them. This is not
just today, but it was yesterday
and it will be tomorrow.
Caritas Goma, with the help
of organisations like CAFOD, is
working right now to get aid
to people in need food, tents,
cooking utensils, blankets and
We will try to bring hope
to those who are feeling
no hope and we will continue to
work for dialogue between all
We urge all our brothers and
sisters in Britain to join us,
and to pray for the peace we
Father Arsne Masumbuko
CAFOD partner Caritas Goma
Eastern Congo Crisis
Telephone: 0500 858 885
Media and the aid message
Charities and journalists increasingly work together to cover events from some of the most
testing situations around the globe. While media coverage can alert the rest of the world to
the plight of the most vulnerable, this dependency has pitfalls for all involved
very night, 870 million people go to
bed hungry. Most of the time, the
rest of us go to bed without giving
that appalling reality very much
thought. But occasionally a powerful news
report shakes us out of our chronic indifference
and makes us care. Sometimes, we may even
be moved to donate money.
For charities, these are the golden moments
of fundraising. For reporters, they are impor-
tant journalistic challenges. The two have a
long history of working together in conflict
zones and disasters: aid workers need coverage
for their operations, and the media need char-
ities for access to the stories. But this symbiotic
relationship can be tricky, and it can present
moral dilemmas for both sides.
When charities and journalists collaborate
closely they have a shared goal of drawing
attention to the plight of those suffering. There
is also an unspoken assumption that the cov-
erage will help to bring in aid. Nothing
exemplifies the power of TV news reports to
galvanise opinion more than a single news
report filed by the BBCs Michael Buerk from
Ethiopia which inspired the Live Aid cam-
paign of 1984.
One of the organisers and founders of the
campaign was Midge Ure. The BBCs Michael
Buerk footage was a first, he says, but he wor-
ries that the continual search for similar
footage can lead to compassion fatigue. That
type of footage is de rigueur now. In fact, we
are seeing far worse stuff almost nightly,
brutal images. I think the result is that we
have become more accustomed to horror. The
question for aid agencies and journalists is:
how do you deal with that? Do you soften it,
or harden it?
Journalists often harden it. And they may
feel in the process subconsciously at least
the need to provide high-impact and positive
coverage of the charity to ensure their access
isnt jeopardised and that donations will flow
in. They may also, on occasions, be dependent
on the charity or NGO for transport, food and
water and not want to risk the relationship
with that agency, given they are effectively
embedded within its front line.
I once witnessed a riot in a refugee camp
in Chad, caused entirely by the misjudgement
of an NGO which had planted trees to provide
shade for the thousands of displaced villagers
who had fled the war in Darfur. Unfortunately,
what the NGO didnt know was that planting
trees was a sign of permanent settlement for
the people they were trying to help. The result
was an angry mob who saw the trees as an
omen that they would never be allowed to
return home. I chose not to report this inci-
dent, preferring to concentrate on the bigger
picture, examining the work being done to
alleviate the hunger and suffering. In a two-
minute news report, rather than a half-hour
programme, time is often an important issue
when deciding what to leave out. On reflection,
I still think I was right; the tree-planting deba-
cle was a footnote to a bigger positive story,
but it was an interesting dilemma and one
that charities such as Cafod are aware of too.
Our attitude is that we take journalists to
see our work, but how they report it is entirely
up to them, whether its good or bad, says
Cafod communications director, Damian
McBride. Weve got to have the courage of
our convictions that our money is being spent
wisely and making a huge difference, and if
thats not what the journalist sees, weve got
to accept that but be prepared to argue our
case. People watching at home wont put their
trust in us if they feel theyre only getting part
of the story.
Two years ago, BBC journalist Edward
Stourton made a programme about the dev-
astating earthquake in Haiti and its aftermath.
It was an operation, he says, about which he
says pretty much everyone now agrees there
were some serious mistakes made. Both gov-
ernmental and non-governmental agencies
are, with some honourable exceptions,
extremely thin-skinned when faced with
criticism, he says, but some journalists can
also be nervous about exploring them.
Most aid money is spent well by dedicated
people, but anyone working in the field will
tell you that some of it isnt, and that they
routinely face real dilemmas. If you are helping
people in a war zone where you cant operate
freely, for example, you are almost certainly
going to have to accept that some of your
money/supplies will be stolen, and may well
help fund the war. Does that mean you stop
trying to help those who really need it?
Stourton, who is working on a Radio 4 doc-
umentary about aid which is a follow-up to
the original Haiti programme, believes that
in the future the issues about aid and about
covering aid will be even more complex.
Mdecins Sans Frontires (MSF), which
has a good record of being open about these
things, showed us one of the clinics it runs in
the Nairobi slums, he says. It is well run,
staffed by local people and has made a huge
and measurable difference to peoples lives.
But there is an open sewer running down the
street outside, and of course the clinic will go
on having lots of patients while the slum has
no sanitation. In the long run, should MSF
be spending the money to lobby the Kenyan
Government to invest in infrastructure? And
would anyone give them money for that if
they did? Aid workers talk a lot about these
things among themselves, but many of them
dont like it if outsiders raise these questions
too and of course, the complex reality is
much more difficult to sell to donors than
the idea that your pound can feed the child
in the picture.
The speed with which information can now
Reporting of humanitarian crises
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be transmitted, the rise of social media, 24-
hour news channels and the internet have
also changed the way journalists and aid agen-
cies inform viewers and raise money.
Journalists can find themselves very depend-
ent on facts being given to them from charity
and NGO field workers; facts which are often,
at the time, uncheckable. Damian McBride
acknowledges this adds an extra duty of care
to the aid agencies.
At a time when news organisations around
the world are cutting their travel budgets, and
when everyone is reliant on social media for
up-to-the-minute news, aid agencies have a
vital role to play simply in feeding back the
facts and pictures from the ground, and help-
ing newsrooms to tell the story, he explains.
But for that reason, its all the more important
that what we are feeding back is an objective
presentation of the facts, and a full picture of
whats going on.
McBride uses as an example the East
African drought of 2011, when some aid agen-
cies depicted the base of their operations as
the epicentre of the disaster because they
want the worlds press and the international
donors to descend on them, when actually
the need was far greater in other areas. The
same was true of Haiti in 2010.
Michael Buerk didnt overstate the situation
in his award-winning coverage of the
Ethiopian famine of 1984 when he described
it as a biblical famine now in the twenty-first
century. More than 600,000 people died
1 December 2012
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Graduate School of Religion
and Religious Education
before the world took notice. Interestingly in
the intervening 30 years, there has in fact
only been one other official, UN-defined,
famine in southern Somalia. The dreadful
benchmarks they have to meet: at least 20
per cent of households facing extreme food
shortages, acute malnutrition in over 30 per
cent of people, and two deaths per 10,000
people every day.
But that hasnt stopped heart-wrenching
reports about hunger in Africa recurring on
our TV screens, as genuine food crisis after
food crisis has hit. Each report is likely to
contain harrowing shots of crying babies being
weighed on flimsy scales and listless adults
batting flies from their faces. It is as if there
were a template for covering Africa which is
unspoken but unbreakable. Stewart Purvis,
a former editor of ITN and now a professor
of journalism at City University, says journal-
ists and aid agencies covering disasters need
to challenge the templates that exist, or risk
compassion fatigue.
Broadcasters believe they need striking
images to get the audiences attention when
covering stories in far-off lands that viewers
know little of. Starving children meet that
need, he says. NGOs need to provide striking
images to get on TV to get their activities
noticed and their funds raised. The effect of
this is that stereotypical images appear again
and again and the audiences ability to be
shocked each times is lessened.
Midge Ure also acknowledges the moral
dilemma faced by journalists. Its always a
delicate balance between being intrusive and
telling the story. People do get charity fatigue
seeing the harrowing repetitive images and
there is a danger that they glaze over. The
reality is that sad, anguished images touch
peoples hearts at a basic level, which is why
the camera zooms into a dying child.
The alternative, says Professor Purvis, is
non-stereotypical stories that use non-
stereotypical images. That means a leap
of faith and imagination by broadcasters
and NGOs and maybe even viewers too.
The best journalists dont just show the
dying child; they make that leap of faith and
show children playing, smiling, even hoping
for a better future as well. And the best charities
and NGOs talk honestly about the problems
they face trying to help the people they care
about. When this happens, charities and jour-
nalists alike are working at their optimum
and the best stories are filed stories which
do not oversimplify the tragedy, and dignify
the survivors rather than just pity the victims.
Ultimately, the best news coverage is that
which reminds us of our common humanity
those are truly the golden moments which
unite us all.
Penny Marshall is social afairs editor for
ITV News, and a former foreign correspondent.
She won a Bafta, an Emmy and a Royal
Television Society award for her coverage of
Serb-run detention camps in Bosnia.
The effects of recession,
rising food prices and
climate change are
contributing to, if not
a complete turnabout,
then certainly a
serious rethink about
what we cook, what
we eat, and, more
alarmingly, what we
throw away, writes Delia Smith.
An astonishing one-third of the food we
buy is wasted, and the cost in energy
emissions in merely producing unwanted
waste is the equivalent of taking one car in
five off UK roads. My book Frugal Food was
prompted partly by these considerations
and partly by the fact that I believe there
can be a positive response to all this.
Eating more frugally is a challenge, but it
can often be more fun. Using cheaper cuts
of meat, cooking meals with no meat at all,
or simply enjoying good square meals
instead of junk food, is actually more
satisfying. And just think to sit round a
table and eat a substantial, beautifully cooked
meal can cost less per head than two large
cappuccinos in a coffee shop. My team and I
have recently developed a Christmas in a
Crisis menu three courses for 4.79 per
head for 6 people. Here are two recipes from
Frugal Food, which was first published in 1976.
Frugal Food is published by Hodder &
Stoughton (2008). Delia Smith 2012. All
royalties from the sale of Frugal Food are
generously donated to Cafod. For more
Delia recipes go to deliaonline.com
Food for thought
1 December 2012
Austerity fayre
A fsh pie should be a celebration of
the best ofcuts of whatever seasonal
fsh is available, but this is especially
so in the winter months when
mussels, scallops, cod and plaice are
at their best and smoked fsh is
abundant, writes Dermot OLeary,
(pictured right). This is just as good
made with tail fllet ofcuts, so ask
your fshmonger for any cheap fsh
pieces. Cooking the fsh and pastry
lid separately is a nice touch as it
means you get a perfect pastry
Ingredients (Serves 8)
1 sheet ready-made puf pastry
1 egg yolk, beaten
300g white fsh fllets, skinned
300g smoked fsh fllet, skinned
900ml milk
1 bay leaf
4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
50g butter
1 onion, fnely chopped
1 small carrot, fnely chopped
1 celery stick, fnely
75g plain four
100g frozen peas,
200g prawns, peeled
200g fresh scallops,
cleaned (with the roe
left on)
salt and freshly ground
black pepper
Preheat the oven to Mark 4
(180C/350F). Roll out the puf
pastry to a thickness of about 5mm.
Place the dish you will be using for
the fsh pie upside down on the
pastry and cut around the rim.
Carefully pull away any unwanted
pastry and place the lid on a baking
tray lined with greaseproof paper.
Brush a little egg yolk over the lid
and add any pastry shapes made
from the ofcuts, if you
wish. Brush with egg again
and set aside.
Now put the white and
smoked fsh in a large frying
pan, pour over the milk and
add the bay leaf. Poach over
a low heat for about 5
minutes until the fsh is just
cooked. Discard the bay leaf,
strain the milk into a jug and set
aside. Flake the fsh into a large
ovenproof pie dish and scatter the
hard-boiled eggs evenly over the fsh.
Heat the oil and butter in a
saucepan and slowly sweat the
onion, carrot and celery till soft. Stir
in the four and salt and pepper and
cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Slowly add the reserved poaching
milk and bring to the boil. Stir
continuously until the sauce thickens.
Add the peas, prawns and scallops,
stir together and pour over the fsh.
Place the dish in the oven for
20-25 minutes. After about 5
minutes of cooking time, put the
pastry lid in the oven (it should take
about 15-20 minutes to cook).
When the fsh pie is hot and
bubbling, and the pastry is golden,
remove from the oven and place the
lid on top of the dish before serving.
Dermot OLeary presents The X
Factor on ITV and jointly owns the
Fishy Fishy restaurants in Brighton
and Poole. Fishy Fishy Cookbook,
by James Ginzler and Loz Talent
with a foreword by Dermot
OLeary, is published by New
Holland (16.99).
Dermot OLearys Fishy Fishy fish pie
Split Pea and Vegetable Soup
(Serves 6)
Yellow or green split peas will do for this
deliciously thick and substantial soup.
225g green split peas, washed
75g butter
110g streaky bacon, rinded and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, scraped and chopped
small turnip, peeled and chopped
small swede, peeled and chopped
1.7 litres stock (or water)
First, in a large cooking pot, melt the
butter, then cook the bacon and onion in it
for five minutes before adding the rest of
the vegetables. Give them a good stir round
and let them colour a little at the edges over
a fairly low heat. Then pour in the stock and
add the washed split peas. Bring everything
back to simmering point, skim the surface if
theres any scum, put a lid on and continue
to simmer very gently for about 1 hours,
or until the peas are absolutely soft. Now
liquidise the soup just a little (or else sieve
it) it shouldnt be too uniformly smooth.
Taste, season, reheat and serve the soup
garnished with some croutons crisp-fried in
Note: Theres no need to soak the split peas,
but the length of cooking time may vary 30
minutes or so either way.
Steak and Onions in Guinness
(Serves 2)
If you long for a thick, juicy, grilled steak
and cant afford it, try this recipe with
braising steak its every bit as good.
350-450g lean braising steak (in 2
2 large onions, peeled and cut into rings
150ml Guinness
Beef dripping
Pre-heat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas
mark 2.
In a frying pan, melt a little dripping
and fry the onion rings over a medium
heat until theyre nicely tinged with
brown and starting to caramelise all
round the edges. Now remove them to a
plate, add a little more dripping to the
pan if you need to and brown the meat
over a fairly high heat. This browning
(on both sides) will help the flavour.
Next, take a shallow gratin dish or
casserole, arrange a layer of onion in it,
place the steak on top and season well.
Add another layer of onion, pour in the
Guinness, cover closely with either a lid
or a double sheet of foil and cook near
the top of the oven for 2 -3 hours, or
until the steak is tender. This goes very
well with creamed potatoes and with
the oven on for that long, you might
contemplate cooking another casserole
at the same time.
Is it time to stop
giving to Africa?
If there is one continent linked in the Western mind to aid,
it is Africa. But as countries in this longstanding recipient of
charity show growing signs of prosperity, one foreign
correspondent working there asks whether it still needs our cash
am looking out across a skyline that is
rising from the ground. Sprinkled
among grand, historic buildings which
hint at the citys imperial legacy, are
brand-new office blocks. And ahead of me
are the gigantic construction sites where sky-
scrapers will soon become shining symbols
of progress.
We are going places you just watch,
Abraham confidently tells me. He is a 23-
year-old coffee barista who proudly brews
the local beans for visiting tourists, business-
men and, yes, charity workers too.
This is Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia
a country that you may associate with
poverty, famine and charity appeals by
unshaven rock stars. But nowadays its people
deserve our awe as much as our sympathy.
Over the last decade, they have achieved
annual economic growth of 7 per cent. Those
astonishing numbers might be enough to
make Chancellor George Osborne weep, but
the figures are not unique to Ethiopia. Much
of Africa is booming bristling with confi-
dence. Seven of the worlds 10 fastest-growing
economies are African.
If, when you hear about Africa, you think
of skeletal children, and dictators riding
around in Bentleys, you are not completely
wrong. Those images have become clichs
for a reason: in too many parts of this con-
tinent they are an enduring reality. But there
is another side to the story of this continent.
As I stare out towards the Addis cityscape
wondering how different it might look in 12
months from now, I know that I am looking
at proof that Africa is rising, and fast.
This is not the continent that it was when
Cafod first began appealing for help in the
wake of the humanitarian crises of the 1960s.
Todays Africa has the capacity to feed much
of the rest of the world. Thanks, in part, to
massive investment from China, its potential
is being unleashed to the sound of a million
cement mixers.
Yet Ethiopia remains the biggest recipient
of British aid. Is that right, when its own
wealth is growing so rapidly, and while ques-
tions persist over the way it treats some of
its own citizens?
In countries like Ethiopia, British money
is going to prop up a government which
abuses human rights; it shows the farce of
British aid, says Ian Birrell, a former deputy
editor of The Independent, who has written
extensively about the limits of foreign aid.
There are increasingly loud voices ques-
tioning these Western salvation fantasies.
My view is that aid has always been a cor-
rosive and corrupting influence, undermining
the establishment of democracy.
Birrell believes that a harmful culture of
dependency has developed among some poor
nations. Charity, he argues, is killing Africa
stifling enterprise and providing a simple
but inadequate solution to its complex prob-
lems. He believes that Africas current
economic growth should give Western nations
the opportunity to step back from their cur-
rent approaches towards aid.
Aid is not the reason behind African suc-
cess. It doesnt work, and it becomes more
outdated with every day that passes. The vast
majority of the continent is in a healthy state.
The economics are changing fast and
increasingly the most important issue is
One problem with aid is that we have this
vast, growing, competing mass of charities,
consultants and governments, all pushing
this one image of Africa that its a helpless
recipient of our largesse. This is a false por-
trayal, and it is disruptive. It stops people
from visiting the country, and it stops busi-
nesses from investing.
But an end to aid to Africa seemed a dif-
ficult proposal to consider as I walked around
a rural hospital ward in southern Niger last
June, surrounded by the screams of the living
and the weeping of the dying. In one corner
of the room was the haunting vision of eight-
month-old Jahaman, his tiny chest rising and
falling as he struggled for breath. Within 24
hours he was dead. It was a brutal reminder
that Africa is home to many of the neediest
people in the world that the economic boom
in many of its countries is only experienced
by a minority of its people.
As Africa correspondent for ITV News, I
find myself too often reporting on starvation
in West Africa this year and in the Horn of
Africa last year, where famine hit millions of
people. This continent remains a place where
there is far too much poverty and disease;
where too many children die of illnesses that
could be prevented by simple treatments
which cost a few pennies; where hunger crises
strike far too frequently; where war often
compounds problems made by Mother
So, should people watching the images that
we broadcast of suffering in Africa resist their
urge to donate?
It is very understandable that people want
to give, says Ian Birrell. But you have to look
at how good intentions backfire. Go on
holiday go and spend your money there
Mike Sunderland, spokesman for Save the
Children, one of Britains biggest charities,
argues that Africa is still in need, and that
aid today will help Africa to become more
self-reliant tomorrow.
International development support
including through aid has contributed to
the economic growth happening in Africa,
he says. Thanks to overseas aid, millions more
children are going to school, surviving past
their fifth birthday and helping to bring their
countries out of poverty.
There are plenty of countries take Liberia
and Sierra Leone in West Africa, for example
that are still very much in the rebuilding
stage after their public services were wiped
out by civil war. Liberia only has around 100
doctors. There are many countries in Latin
America and Asia that relied heavily on aid
a generation ago but now receive very little
aid money.
Aid will not by itself deliver development,
and the long-term measure of aids success
is that countries no longer need it.
It is a dream for donors and recipients
alike. All African countries hope for a day
when they dont need the help of generous
foreigners. That day may not have arrived.
Rohit Kachroo is Africa correspondent
for ITV News. He is based in
1 December 2012
Ethics and the developing world
An office block goes up in Addis Ababa.
Photo: Reuters, Thomas Mukoya
Food policy at home and abroad
Feed the world
As aid agencies begin their campaign on hunger in the run-up to Britain hosting next years G8
summit, Labours Shadow Chancellor and Environment Secretary urge the Government to tackle
the multinationals whose business methods affect what we all eat and what it costs
n the early years of the last Labour
Government, food was rarely at the top
of the agenda. We kept tabs on the price
of a loaf and a pint of milk for what it
told us about weekly shopping bills and infla-
tion, although we did not go anywhere near
it with VAT. We batted for the interests of
British farmers in Brussels, a welcome change
from the beef wars of the John Major years.
And, occasionally, when an infection crisis
threatened, we became experts on beef, eggs
or poultry.
Internationally, we were alert for food crises
and famines, although too often from North
Korea to Darfur we were prevented by con-
flict from reaching those in greatest need.
But food was almost never the main focus,
either domestically or internationally. The
food price spike of 2008 changed that.
Today, any government that does not have
food policy high on its agenda is not doing
its job. In 2010, the then Labour Government
published the first food strategy for 60 years,
setting out steps to ensure we grow more,
waste less, and ensure that all in the UK have
a healthy, affordable and sustainable diet.
Throughout human history, food shortage
or price spikes have driven social unrest.
Today, not least because of the impact of
climate change and speculative activity on
the markets, the shortages and price spikes
are becoming worryingly frequent and wide-
spread. Since 2008, spikes in the price of
maize, rice and other staples have had a direct
impact on the growing tension in North Africa
and the Middle East, where the Arab Spring
took hold. Indeed, the man who prompted
that wave of revolt was a young Tunisian
vegetable seller, Mohamed Bouazizi, who set
fire to himself after struggling to supporting
a large family on less than 100 a month.
Food riots also hit several other countries,
from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Food supply
and food security is on the agenda like never
In the UK, real-terms food prices rose by
more than 12 per cent in the four years to
June 2011, a period during which we have
seen a sustained decline in earnings. The
website Netmums has found that one in five
mothers regularly misses meals as they pri-
oritise their children. Low-income families
are now eating 30 per cent less fresh fruit
and vegetables than they were in 2006. These
are early warning signs of food poverty.
Last year, FareShare, the food waste charity
that distributes surplus food from super -
markets and manufacturers, contributed
towards more than 8.6 million meals, feeding
36,500 people a day. Food banks are not the
solution to food poverty an adequate income
is but they can play a vital emergency role.
The Trussell Trust expects to feed more than
a quarter of a million people in the UK this
year, double the number it fed last year.
Drought in the United States and Russia,
and the wettest summer on record here in
the UK, will ensure that there are severe
shortages again next year. We could see short-
ages spread to Asia, where the economic and
geopolitical consequences of instability in
China or India would be incalculable. The
Governments chief scientific adviser, Sir John
Beddington, has set out the long-term chal-
lenges of feeding a global population of eight
billion people by 2025. Yet at the same time
we are seeing the increasing diversion of
agricultural land to tourism, or biofuels, and
other uses, without adequate regard to a
sustainable food supply.
It is both understandable and welcome
that developing countries want to attract
international investment. But the idea of
countries experiencing mass hunger while
simultaneously registering as net exporters
of food was grotesque in the nineteenth cen-
tury, let alone today, so we must ensure that
the benefits of investment are fairly shared.
It should mean good local jobs with decent
wages and working conditions. Small farmers,
most of whom are women, need access to
fair land rights with adequate water, transport
infrastructure and the lines of credit that are
often put at the disposal of the multinational
The Western economies have a vital role
to play as well. It is little wonder that food
prices are high when governments are still
heavily subsidising biofuel production using
agricultural land, despite the dubious carbon
benefits of replacing road fuels with biofuels.
In Europe, we need real change to the EUs
Common Agricultural Policy, whose produc-
tion subsidies distort the market. Companies
based in Britain, while operating in devel-
oping countries, must pay their fair share of
tax on the profits they make there. That is
why Labour called on the Government to
make a full assessment of the impact of its
proposed changes to the tax rules for multi-
nationals headquartered in Britain and we
were disappointed that it pressed ahead
without doing so.
Worldwide, we need a transparent market
for food. Funds invested in commodities from
those not engaged in producing or using them
have risen a thousand-fold in a decade. The
price volatility of commodities has increased
dramatically. This makes planning for price
fluctuations by food producers and suppliers
more expensive a cost passed on to the con-
sumer. The UK Government failed to support
French moves for greater transparency during
the French presidency of the G20, while the
US has subsequently acted unilaterally.
The current trends risk holding back the
development of whole countries and regions.
The time to act is now, on greater trans-
parency in the market, on land ownership
and tax, and on the environmental impact
of agri-business in the developing world.
It is heartening to see Britains leading
charities coming together next year to cam-
paign on the issue of hunger in their biggest
mass mobilisation since Make Poverty History
in 2005, and to see the leadership Britain is
now showing on this issue. We must maintain
the momentum in the run-up to next
summers G8 summit here in the UK.
This should be a priority for the Prime
Minister, not only because it is the right thing
to do for the poorest people in the world, but
also because it is in Britains interests to fix
the global food system. If we do not, it puts
at risk the powerhouses of the global economy,
and will drive up shopping bills even further
here at home. When it comes to the worlds
shared interest in a fair, sustainable and stable
food system, we really are all in this together.
Ed Balls is Labour MP for Morley and
Outwood and Shadow Chancellor of the
Exchequer. Mary Creagh is Labour MP for
Wakefeld and Shadow Secretary for
Environment, Food and Rural Afairs.
1 December 2012
Low-income families are now
eating 30 per cent less fresh
fruit and vegetables than
they were in 2006. These are
early signs of food poverty
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In some parts of the world today the joy surrounding the birth of a baby can soon turn to
anguish for many mothers. They worry that, with food in short supply, their children will go
hungry. Thankfully though, theres a very simple solution.
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1 December 2012
The Tablet Interview
ngelo Scola is apologetic. He can
only stay a day in London. I have
such a large diocese, says the car-
dinal, and indeed he has: Milan,
the largest in Europe. But that has not deterred
him from continuing a major challenge he
has set himself: encouraging dialogue between
Christians and Muslims. The work of his cul-
tural foundation, Oasis, begun 10 years ago,
is to foster mutual understanding between
the two faiths.
This is the work that has brought him to
London, to speak at a meeting in the House
of Lords and, later, to give a lecture at
Heythrop College. The lecture theatre is
crowded with around 300 people, from sem-
inarians to theologians, Cardinal Cormac
Murphy-OConnor and Prince Michael of
Kent. Quite a few people with a message to
impart are prepared to lecture in a language
other than their native tongue, but not many
will take questions or be interviewed, even
with a skilful interpreter at their side. That
Cardinal Scola is willing to do both says much
about how passionate he is concerning dia-
logue and how urgent he believes it is for
more people to be involved.
The starting point for Scolas interest in
engagement with followers of Islam was, as
he told the House of Lords meeting, his con-
viction that the Muslim presence in Europe
has encouraged a renewed reflection on reli-
gions in the West and their contribution to
society, as well as challenging that society,
given its increasingly secular status quo.
As far as encounters between different reli-
gions is concerned, Cardinal Scola believes
strongly that communication involves
exchanging not only ideas but different
narratives about God, the human condition
and our purpose. The difficulty with this is
the barriers that are put up that thwart
such dialogue. But even when it does suc-
ceed and becomes an enriching experience,
there are further risks. Mutual recognition
is the goal, he argues, but not creation of a
global sort of melting pot
where different faiths are
lost and in their place
is a fuzzy, vague, com-
mon ethic. Only if people
bear witness to their own faith, he argues,
will mutual understanding develop.
In Britain, interfaith dialogue has a long
track record, developed partly through the
nations links with Commonwealth countries
in the Indian sub-continent. One might argue
it is one of the most positive outcomes of the
colonial past. But for many other countries
in Europe, not least Italy, migration from
Muslim countries has been a relatively recent
development and has caused tensions with
the host countries, for whom an encounter
with another faith, even one with Abrahamic
roots, has proved difficult. Add to that the
fallout from 9/11, and you have a recipe for
potential disaster.
These are the circumstances in which Oasis
has operated since Cardinal Scola founded
it in 2004. Its a clever name, with its Middle
Eastern meaning of a place of peace and calm
in the desert. The title also references a speech
made by John Paul II in Damascus in 2001,
when he spoke of Muslims and Christians
cherishing their places of prayer as oases
where they meet the All Merciful God on the
journey to eternal life, and where they meet
their brothers and sisters in the bond of reli-
For a short time before his busy day started,
Cardinal Scola had a moment in an oasis of
calm at the nunciature in Wimbledon, south
London; it was an opportunity to talk to him
about his work with his foundation. So I asked
him, given the work done in interfaith dia-
logue by organisations like his own, whether
the situation since 9/11 had improved. In
response, he warned of major problems.
In countries which define themselves as
Islamic, Christians are exposed, he said.
There are persecutions, and they are pushed
to have to leave their own country. In the
countries of the Arab Spring, there are some
things which make us hope they are put-
ting certain things at the centre, such as the
dignity of the human person, freedom, but,
at the same time, we can see some risks.
The cardinal stressed that Muslims and
Christians are obliged to live together in
the pluralist societies of the West but that
such a world risks being full of conflict.
Dialogue, he opined, is both an obligation
and something chosen as a political good.
We need to talk about substantial commu-
nication which starts from the fact that we
all share a common human experience; we
need humility to start from there to get to
dealing with complex problems. Without
that, we will not achieve a new political cul-
ture, and difficulties and conflicts will grow.
Europe and the Church itself will be in greater
With Oasis, Cardinal Scola has tried to find
a way to meet Muslims as equals and to chal-
lenge the tendency for Europeans to think
of Islam as something they need to defend
themselves from. We have seen how multi-
culturalist policies are proving their
inadequacy but it is not enough, he said.
It is becoming ever more clear that the most
acute problems in Muslim society are ever
more similar to those in our own societies.
Yet the cardinal sees dialogue and under-
standing as no excuse for relativism. Friends
cannot turn a blind eye to restrictions on,
say, converts to other religions or on women.
For all his reservations, it is clear that
Cardinal Scola has a certain admiration for
Muslims. He recalls a moment some years
ago when a large number of Muslims gath-
ered in front of Milans spectacular Gothic
cathedral and prayed. Photos of the event
show dozens upon dozens of upturned backs
Caretaker of
the oasis
He has led two of the great dioceses of the
Church in Italy and founded an organisation to
promote Christian-Muslim dialogue. On a flying
visit to London, Cardinal Angelo Scola talked to
Catherine Pepinster about the importance of
listening, while holding fast to difference
1 December 2012
in front of the duomo. It was personal and
public at the same time, and still requires
our reflection. He characterises Christians
in Europe as old and tired. We Catholics are
weak, he says. We have to find our roots
once more and the beauty of life lived accord-
ing to Christ. The human person can only
communicate what he thinks is true and
beautiful and good.
As he travels around his Milan diocese,
Scola sees children at Mass in the parishes
and lots of grey hair, and how you say
it dyed hair. There is a hint of a smile as
he says this. He is an attractive combina-
tion of pastor and theologian, truck drivers
son and philosopher.
Born in Lombardy in 1941, Scola first stud-
ied philosophy at the Catholic University of
Milan, where he was heavily involved with
the lay campaigning group, Catholic Action,
before entering the seminary. After ordina-
tion he received his doctorate in theology
from the University of Fribourg, by which
time he was already a collaborator with the
Communion and Liberation movement, and
the Italian editor of its journal, Communio.
Pastoral work and academic posts followed,
before he became Bishop of Grosseto in 1991,
rector of the Lateran University in 1995
and then Patriarch of Venice in 2002. He
used to set aside Wednesday mornings to be
available to anyone who wished to see him.
In 2011 he was moved to Milan, a see long
considered one of the most important in the
worldwide Church, thereby assuring him of
a place on any list of those deemed papa-
After the removal of Archbishop Michael
Fitzgerald from the presidency of the Pontifical
Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Pope
Benedicts controversial speech in Regensburg
in 2006, some observers have suggested that
sympathy for Muslims and commitment to
dialogue is no longer top of the Vaticans
agenda. But the Popes appointment of
Cardinal Scola to Milan, given his interests
and his continued work with Oasis, suggests
Scola first became interested in dialogue
after a 2000 trip to Damascus, when he met
local bishops of different rites who asked him
how he could help Christians in the Muslim
world. As Patriarch of Venice, he was able to
begin his work and the Oasis Foundation
was created, focusing on research, bringing
scholars together and publishing books, a
magazine and a newsletter.
Time after time in Christian history, faith
has flourished in the face of difficult situa-
tions, such as those experienced by many
Christians in the Middle East today. But in
parts of Europe decline is evident, including
in the Catholic Church. So does Cardinal
Scola think Europe is still a Christian con-
tinent? It is pluralist, sure, he responds.
But secularisation in somewhere like Milan
is different from that in London. I think that
in certain places such as Spain, Bavaria and
among Catholics in the UK Christian val-
ues are still strong, but practice, no. When
I visit parishes, I see that people have a strong
desire for God. And I have a simple view of
life: God asks something of us.
Simple ideas, of course, can often be the
ones that work best, and the parish system
can provide an ideal opportunity for dialogue
and encounter at the grassroots level. In
Milan, there is a structure for sport, etc,
through the parish centres, Scola explains.
Now many of them attract Muslim children
so parishes can extend peoples horizons.
That, of course, means that Muslims and
Christians can come together at the level of
civic society. But can they pray together? In
Assisi, Cardinal Scola recalls, John Paul II
and Cardinal Ratzinger said we are not here
to pray together but we are here together for
praying. We have to make a necessary dis-
tinction. God is the one God, but how we
look at God is different.
The Oasis Foundation has been built on
that distinction that it is possible for us to
come together, in mutuality, but not blended
together, as if there were no difference. Or,
as Scola put it to his audience at Heythrop
College: The important thing for human
beings is to listen in order to learn. In Europe,
we are not always so open, but we must lis-
ten deeply to the other one. Speaking to
members of the audience afterwards, it was
clear they felt that not only had they heard
from Cardinal Scola, but that he had listened
deeply, too. A theologian and philosopher
had visited London that day, but so had a
Advent is a time of watchfulness and
preparation. But, says Teresa Morgan in the
frst of her meditations, we are preparing
for a mystery and for the unknown.
The arrival of another Advent Sunday reminds
me of a comedian I heard on television a
few years ago, making fun of the way people
are always surprised by the time of year. Can
you believe its nearly Christmas already?
Amazing, isnt it? No, he said, it isnt! If wed
just had Easter or the August bank holiday,
it would be amazing, but weve just had
November, and before that, October, so what
did we expect?
He was right: it is absurd the way were per-
petually surprised by the most predicable
aspects of our lives. I think the trouble is
that although we know when events such as
Christmas are coming, and plan for them in
practical ways, we overlook the difference
between knowing and preparing experien-
tially. Children are never surprised by
Christmas, because they do prepare: they
remember and recreate past excitements, look
forward and wait impatiently.
For the rest of us, who need to be reminded,
the theme of Advent is: be prepared. Watch
and pray. Dont be caught napping, without
oil in your lamp.
Watch and pray. But another thread runs
through our Advent readings: a more ques-
tioning theme, less certain of itself, fearfully
aware of how little it knows about what its
preparing for.
The days are surely coming, says the Lord,
when I wil fulfil the promise I made to the
house of Israel (Jeremiah 33:14-15). But what
will the one who comes be like? Will the moun-
tains quake at his presence? Will he burn like
a refiners fire? Will he speak tenderly to
Jerusalem, and feed his flock like a shepherd?
Will he cast down the mighty from their seats,
or reign himself from the throne of his ances-
tor David? Will he be a man, or a woman, or
a child?
In the weeks ahead, we shall
hear many prophecies of the one
to come, past and future. We shall
ponder different visions of the
Messiah in the gospels, from the
Son of Man who arrives in power
and glory, to the baby in the
manger. And when we have heard
the prophecies, put oil in our lamps
and settled down to watch; as
the nights draw in, and the winter grows darker
and colder, we will wait, and in our waiting
come face to face with our own unknowing.
And out of unknowing, question after ques-
tion rises, like bubbles in a glass. Will the
longed-for God, the One who was and is to
come, come to us, to our hearts, in our mor-
tal lives? Will he come soon?
How will he come? As a king, or a shep-
herd? A healer, or a friend?
What kind of Messiah are we looking for?
And what do our hopes say about us? Are
we looking for a Messiah to solve our prob-
lems, to share our struggles, to lift us out of
our mortality? What if the one who comes
isnt the one were looking for? Will we recog-
nise him? Will we welcome her?
Our Advent readings are dense with mys-
teries from the past and visions of the future.
As we listen, they also tell us something about
ourselves: our needs and assumptions, hopes
and fears. Above all, they show us the depth
of our unknowing.
They ask, are we prepared? Not
in the way we prepare for the prac-
ticalities of Christmas, by shopping
and cooking and wondering where
the year went. Not even in the way
children prepare, reliving last year,
looking forward and ticking off
the days. Are we prepared to recog-
nise the gulf between knowing
and experiencing God, and step
into it? Are we prepared to suspend planning
and expectation; to forget everything we think
we know and wait in darkness for an unimag-
inable encounter?
Having no idea how the Messiah will come,
are we ready to welcome God with us?
The Revd Dr Teresa Morgan is Nancy
Bissell Turpin fellow and tutor in ancient
history at Oriel College, Oxford.
Advent meditation: Are we ready to welcome God with us?
When the Church
came in from the cold
If the Second Vatican Council marked a new era, nothing symbolised the new age and what it
meant for relations with the rest of the world as did Nostra Aetate, the groundbreaking
exposition of relations with other faiths, particularly Judaism
ne of the final documents of the
Second Vatican Council, Nostra
Aetate turned out to be one of its
most significant, transforming
Jewish-Christian relations. Pope John XXIII
(Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, born in 1881) had
already received wide attention a year earlier
for publicly greeting Jewish visitors with the
words: I am Joseph, your brother.
According to Catholic scholar Fr Edward
Flannery, Nostra Aetate terminated in a stroke
a millennial teaching of contempt of Jews
and Judaism, and unequivocally asserted the
Churchs debt to its Jewish heritage. It marked
the beginnings of a fresh approach to Judaism
when the Roman Catholic Church came in
out of the cold.
Although it omitted mention of the
Holocaust or the existence of the State of
Israel, Nostra Aetate was forceful in its con-
demnation of anti-Semitism. Most
importantly of all, it ushered in a new era,
fresh attitudes, and a new language of dis-
course never previously heard in the Catholic
Church concerning Jews. The concept of a
dialogue now entered the relationship.
One consequence was a reawakening
among Catholics to the Jewish origins of
Christianity. They were reminded that Jesus
was a faithful Jew and that from the Jewish
people sprang the Apostles, the foundation
stones and pillars of the Church who draw
sustenance from the root of that good olive
tree on to which have been grafted the wild
olive branches of the Gentiles.
The ramifications were manifold. Christians
were taught that Jesus, his family and his fol-
lowers were Jewish and the Jewish back-
ground to Christianity was stressed. Christians
were taught that Jesus had very close rela-
tions with the Pharisees. They learnt that
the final text of the Gospels was edited long
after the events described, which meant that
the authors were sometimes concerned with
denigrating those Jews who did not follow
Jesus and equally concerned with vindicating
the Romans, whose goodwill they were seek-
All this was courageously admitted by the
Vaticans 1985 document on the teaching of
Judaism, which stated forthrightly: It cannot
be ruled out that some references hostile or
less than favourable to the Jews have their
historical context in conflicts between the
nascent Church and the Jewish community.
Certain controversies reflect Christian-Jewish
relations long after the time of Jesus. To estab-
lish this is of capital importance if we wish
to bring out the meaning of certain Gospel
texts for the Christians of today.
As a result of a soul change epitomised by
Nostra Aetate, Christianity shifted from what
was, for the most part, an inherent need to
condemn Judaism to one of a condemnation
of Christian anti-Judaism. This led not to a
separation from all things Jewish but, in fact,
to a closer relationship with the elder brother.
In the words of German theologian Johannes
Metz: Christian theology after Auschwitz
must stress anew the Jewish dimension of
Christian beliefs and must overcome the
forced blocking-out of the Jewish heritage
within Christianity.
Yet, while condemning anti-Semitism, and
being published just 20 years after the Second
World War, which had devastated Europe
and particularly its Jewish population, Nostra
Aetate avoided the topic of the Holocaust.
This omission may possibly have been because
few leaders of the Christian Churches did
much to help Jews.
Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII from 1939
to 1958, was (and remains) a controversial
figure, with some claiming that he knew much
and did nothing of importance to help Jews,
whereas others retort that he did what he
could and encouraged others to do more. The
impression of Vatican policy of the 1930s and
1940s, indeed of the two popes of that time,
Pius XI and Pius XII, is hardly a positive one.
Yet, it is essential to remember that in Nazi-
occupied countries other than Germany, the
Churches were often targeted themselves,
and were thus preoccupied with protecting
their own flocks rather than with the fate of
However, individual Christian leaders did
extend their support to Jews, with one of the
most honourable examples being Angelo
Giuseppe Roncalli who, as papal nuncio for
Turkey and Greece, made available baptismal
certificates to thousands of Hungarian Jews
in a bid to persuade Germans to leave them
unmolested. This was the very same Joseph
who was to open his arms to the Jews and
the world through Vatican II.
In 1987, in the wake of the controversy over
Pope John Paul IIs reception of Austrian
President Kurt Waldheim, who had been an
active Nazi, the Vatican promised to reflect
on the Holocaust and We Remember: a
reflection on the Shoah was published by the
Vatican in 1998. It stresses the evils of anti-
Semitism, concluding with the desire to turn
awareness of past sins into a firm resolve to
build a new future in which there will be no
more anti-Judaism among Christians or anti-
Christian sentiment among Jews but rather
a shared mutual respect.
There remains a special European and a
special Christian angle to dealing with the
Shoah. It happened in a supposedly liberal,
democratic and well-developed civilisation.
The vast majority of Europeans looked on
while their Jewish neighbours were being
taken away and murdered.
As far as Christianity is concerned, and
most Europeans were of course, at least nom-
inally, Christians, the problem is even more
serious: some 1,900 years after the life of Jesus
the Jew, his people were murdered by baptised
pagans who, by their action and inaction,
denied their Baptism, while most other
Christians, from the highest to the lowest,
looked aside. In my view, the Holocaust
remains a threat to Christian self-understand-
ing today, as it did at the end of the Second
World War. It is perhaps no coincidence that
John Paul II, whose pontificate witnessed
The Second Vatican Council and the Jews
1 December 2012
more progress between Catholics and Jews
than any other pope, was the first pope to
visit a concentration camp (Auschwitz) and
to pray there (in 1979); the first to visit Yad
Vashem in his pilgrimage to Israel (in 2000)
and the first to place words of apology for
anti-Semitism in the Church in the cracks of
the Wailing Wall.
One key feature of Nostra Aetate was its
assertion that Jews remain most dear to God
who does not repent of the gifts he makes
nor of the calls he issues. In other words, it
stated that Gods covenant with the Jewish
people had never been broken and retained
eternal validity; God did not renege on his
promises. If Jews were not rejected, then
Judaism was not a fossilised faith, as had been
taught previously, but a living, authentic reli-
Few biblical concepts have been as troubling
to Christian-Jewish relations than the
Christian claim to be the successor covenant
people, elected by God to replace Israel
because of the latters faithlessness. Known
as substitution theory or replacement theology,
it argues that, since the time of Jesus, Jews
have been replaced by Christians in Gods
favour, and that all Gods promises to the
Jewish people have been inherited by
This raises a crucial question in todays rela-
tionship can Christians view Judaism as a
valid religion in its own terms (and vice versa)?
Directly related to this is the need, from a
Christian perspective, for reflection on the
survival of the Jewish people and of the vitality
of Judaism over nearly 2,000 years this is
the mystery of Israel upon which Paul
reflected in his Epistle to the Romans. For
Christians, the question is whether
Christianity can differentiate itself from
Judaism without asserting itself as either
opposed to Judaism or simply as the fulfilment
of Judaism.
Questions also need to be considered from
the Jewish perspective. What was the divine
purpose behind the creation of Christianity?
What are the implications for Jews that, as a
result of the Jew Jesus, two billion Christians
now read the Jewish Bible? Martin Buber
suggested that Jesus was my elder brother.
Nostra Aetate (and many Christian state-
ments) turn for help from St Paul, in whose
view both Israel and the Church are elect and
both participate in the covenant of God. For
Paul, it was impossible to view the Jewish
people as a whole as first elected by God and
then later displaced. God would not simply
elect and then reject. The Churchs election
derives from that of Israel but this does not
imply that Gods covenant with Israel is bro-
ken. Rather, it remains unbroken irrevocably
(Romans 11:29). For Paul, the mystery of
Israelites is that their rejection and their stum-
bling do not mean that they cease to be
accepted by God. Rather, they allow the
Gentiles to participate in the peoplehood of
Indeed, so strongly does Paul make this
point that he offers a severe warning that gen-
tile Christians should not be haughty or
boastful toward unbelieving Jews much less
1 December 2012
cultivate evil intent and engage in persecution
against them. Christians have remembered
the Jews as enemies but not as beloved of
God (Romans 11:28) and have taken to heart
Pauls criticisms and used them against the
Jews while forgetting Pauls love for the Jews
and their traditions (Romans 9:1-5).
Romans 9-11 therefore provided Nostra
Aetate and the Church with the means to re-
assess attitudes towards Jews and maintain
the continuing validity of Gods covenant with
his Jewish people.
One might argue against Paul by saying
that if Jews have not kept faith with God, then
God has a perfect right to cast them off. It is
interesting that Christians who argue this
way have not often drawn the same deduction
about Christian faithfulness. Actually, God
seems to have had a remarkable ability to
keep faith with both Christians and Jews when
they have not kept faith with him, a point of
which Paul is profoundly aware in Romans
9-11. He goes out of his way to deny claims
that God has rejected the chosen people, and
asserts that their stumbling does not lead to
their fall.
One topic not mentioned in Nostra Aetate
that causes more controversy than any other
is the subject of peace and understanding
between Israelis and Palestinians, or perhaps
more realistically, conflict and misunder-
Political factors alone do not fully explain
why Israel the nation state created after the
Second World War is such a controversial
topic. For Jews, of course, the centrality of
the land of the Bible, as well as the survival
of more than a third of world Jewry, is at stake.
Christians, for their part, not only disagree
as to the place of the people of scriptural Israel
in Christian theology, but feel particular con-
cern for Christians who live in the nation state
as well as other Palestinians.
Although there have been great changes in
Christian teaching on Judaism, attitudes
towards Israel continue to be difficult. Simply
put, it has been easier for the Church to con-
demn anti-Semitism as a misunderstanding
of Christian teaching than to come to terms
with the re-establishment of the Jewish state.
Once again, it was John Paul II who was not
only the first Pope to visit a synagogue and
pray there with its congregation (1986) but
the first to exchange ambassadors with the
State of Israel (1994) and make a pilgrimage
to the Holy Land in the Millennium.
Some Christians are extremely critical of
Israel, such as the authors of Kairos Palestine,
a document issued by a number of leading
Christians from the Holy Land in late 2009,
which depicts Israel as responsible for a com-
plex conflict. When Churches adopt
divestment initiatives directed against Israel,
a country whose policies they sometimes liken
to the former apartheid regime in South
Africa, many see these as attempts to dele-
gitimise Israels very existence, although that
may not be the intention. The fact that the
Churches do not act similarly regarding
human-rights abuses and state violence in
many other places, especially in the wider
Middle East, adds to the strain.
There is another complicating factor. For
Christians in the Holy Land, the relationship
with Jews exists within a framework of a larger
dialogue with Muslims. Christian Palestinians
are concerned at the prospect of the gradual
Islamisation of the nascent state and of a time
when Hamas and other Islamist parties might
take over completely.
Nablus, a city that once had a sizeable
Christian population, now has almost none.
The significant reduction in the Christian
population elsewhere in the Middle East adds
to feelings of insecurity, but there is one con-
tribution Jews and Christians can bring from
thousands of miles away: hope.
Nostra Aetate was a milestone in Christian-
Jewish relations and began an immensely
difficult but rewarding exercise namely, to
take the Other as seriously as one demands
to be taken oneself. In the words of the
Vaticans 1975 Guidelines on Nostra Aetate,
Judaism and Christianity must be understood
on their own terms: Christians must strive
to learn by what essential traits the Jews define
themselves in the light of their own religious
It is clear today that many of the main divi-
sive issues have been either eliminated or
taken to the furthest point at which agreement
is possible. The efforts of Catholics towards
respect of Judaism project attitudes that would
have been unthinkable half a century ago.
For 50 years Jews and Christians have wit-
nessed a massive change and giant strides
have been made, but we are talking of a
dynamic and relentless process. We will never
be able to sit back and say, The work is done.
The agenda is completed. On many major
issues, Jews and Christians find themselves
on the same side of the fence, faced with the
same challenges. The agenda is changing and
new issues are no less vital and pressing.
Edward Kessler is co-founder and current
executive director of the Woolf Institute in
(Next week: Michael Fitzgerald on
Nostra Aetate and Islam.)
Comment on women
bishops kept on
coming, driving far
inland like a tidal bore
To be gored by a bull is generally a
surprise. The rejection of women
bishops by the General Synod of the
Church of England surprised the
press in a deeper manner, as if the
bull had turned and shouted Ol!
as the horn went in. It was against
The Church of England was
plunged into turmoil last night, said
the Daily Mirror, and most reports
said something similar. The vote by
the Church of England, said The
Times, had thrust it into its biggest
crisis for decades. The report, by
Ruth Gledhill, its religion
correspondent, who could never be
accused of lacking interest in her
subject, went on to say that the
Church will now be open to
accusations of bigotry, undermining
its right to a voice in public life.
As for poor Justin Welby, who
next year becomes Archbishop of
Canterbury, the Church that chose
him as their new leader brought his
brief honeymoon to an abrupt and
humiliating end. I dont know about
honeymoon, it seemed more like
crashing the car on the way to the
The Times seemed to be taking it
all personally. The Daily Telegraph,
in a leading article on the eve of the
vote, had self-denyingly conceded
that it would be wrong for us to
pronounce on the merits of the
proposals on the table, or their
theological validity.
But The Times felt no such
reticence. The theological
justification offered by opponents of
women bishops is weak, it
pronounced. After the cataclysm, a
Telegraph leader said: The Church
of England has certainly landed
itself in a mess but it is for the
Church itself, not high-minded
outsiders, to fix it. That was not how
The Times saw things. The Church
of England has acted like a sect and
perpetrated a disservice to the
nation and other faiths, it declared
in the manner of the headmaster of
Rugby exposing the delinquencies of
But help was at hand, Miss
Gledhill discovered a few days later,
in the shape of William Fittall,
whose advice to the Church is rarely
if ever ignored a rare attribute
indeed. He is the synods general
secretary and had suggested, in a
secret memo (now a formerly secret
memo), a clause to consecrate
women bishops with no provision
for opponents, being put to synod
in July. Sounds a breeze.
All week, while tension over the
EU budget crisis rose and fell, along
with the real flood waters that swept
the nation in a rainy spell, comment
on women bishops kept on coming,
driving far inland like a tidal bore. I
have no particular interest in the
debate, John Cooper of Glasgow
wrote to The Sun, in an opening
gambit that would normally do little
to secure publication for his letter.
But it did seem strange that they
should vote against it yet the Queen
is the head of the Church and they
are happy enough with that.
It was a thought that had not
escaped Allison Pearson, who in her
Telegraph column asked: If bishops
swear an oath of allegiance to a
woman, how can a woman not be
permitted to be a bishop? Melissa
Thompson in the Mirror posed a
parallel question in asking why
nearly a third of all jobs in the
Royal Navy and Army are closed to
women. The Ministry of Defence
replied: Jobs where the primary
duty is to close with and kill the
enemy are strictly men only.
Seeking other shops closed to
women, she found the 330,000
Freemasons in England and Wales,
who refuse admittance to women,
oh, and the Garrick Club.
This took on a new significance
when MPs grew truculent after the
vote. Simon Hoggart in his
parliamentary sketch in The
Guardian was not alone in noting
that when Sir Tony Baldry, the Tory
MP for Banbury, who rejoices in the
title of second church estates
commissioner was haranguing the
wicked churchmen, he was doing so
while wearing a Garrick Club tie.
The Evening Standard had
lassoed one of the front-runners for
female episcopacy, should such a
thing come to exist in this realm.
The Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin is
chaplain to the Speaker of the House
of Commons. She has a way with
words that does not quite obscure
her meaning.
I feel a huge sense of
disappointment on behalf of the
Church, she said. Were going to
end up navel-gazing at ourselves.
That cannot be helpful.
Christopher Howse is an assistant
editor of The Daily Telegraph.
1 December 2012
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Retreats 2013
Reecting with Paintings 1
Borrowing the eyes of others
8 - 10 February Fr Denis McBride CSsR
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What must you let go of this Easter for
your heart to be free?
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Pastoral Centre
Year of Faith
Dont blame the laity
Most observers inside and outside the Church of England have concluded that last weeks failure
by the General Synod to vote through legislation allowing women bishops has left it in turmoil.
Here, a member of the synod claims that the problem is a lack of trust by the bishops
eldom do the decisions of the General
Synod of the Church of England make
much of an impact outside the some-
what closeted world of ecclesiastical
enthusiasts. But last week the Churchs gov-
erning body voted to reject the legislation to
allow women to become bishops and the
media is still reeling. Although there was an
overwhelming majority in favour, the neces-
sary two-thirds majority was not achieved in
the House of Laity, and the motion fell. I felt
a sense of bewilderment and anger, and shared
tears with my women colleagues. After all,
the Church of England has ordained women
as priests for 20 years, and it seemed a logical
progression to move to women bishops.
Church people have quickly criticised the
House of Laity as unrepresentative of opinion,
calling for a reform of the electoral system on
the grounds that electors frequently know
virtually nothing about the candidates.
But I am not sure that the House of Laity
was really to blame. What was being voted
on was not simply the principle of women
bishops, but the safeguards offered to those
opposed to womens ministry. When women
were ordained priests, a mechanism was cre-
ated so that parishes could refuse their
ministrations, and could also ask for extended
episcopal oversight from bishops who did
not ordain women. With this precedent,
virtually everybody in the Church thought
something similar would be needed if women
were to be ordained as bishops.
Consequently after the principle of women
bishops was accepted, a series of drafting
groups took soundings over a number of years
to produce proposals that were carefully
crafted. The basic idea was that women
bishops should have the same legal jurisdiction
as all other bishops, but that pastoral care
and celebration of the sacraments would be
delegated to male bishops for those parishes
unwilling to accept episcopal oversight from
a woman or even from a man who had
ordained a woman. This measure was
presented for consideration to the General
Synod in July 2010.
What happened then was unprecedented:
no doubt with good intentions, the
Archbishops of both Canterbury and York
in an act which rode roughshod over the hard
work of the drafting committees introduced
an amendment that would have created par-
allel legal jurisdictions, and which had the
support of the majority of bishops. This would
have meant that the diocesan bishop would
not have been legally responsible for the dio-
cese, which could have resulted in incoherence
or even conflict between bishops in matters
of clergy discipline. The rejection of this
amendment by the synod spelt the end of the
credibility of the House of Bishops. The arch-
bishops did not seem to realise that a blatant
refusal to listen to the formal mechanisms of
synod would be disastrous for efforts at build-
ing the sort of trust needed to move the
measure through the legislative process.
In the new General Synod, to which I was
elected and which met in November 2010, it
was clear that there was a poisonous relation-
ship between the House of Bishops and the
Houses of Clergy and Laity. In what was sup-
posed to be a straightforward piece of
rubber-stamping, the synod rejected a bishop,
who was a suffragan to the Archbishop of
Canterbury, as chairman of the business com-
mittee. The other two houses simply did not
trust the impartiality of a member of the
House of Bishops being in charge of synod
In the subsequent months, the Anglican
Communion Covenant, which was supposed
to offer a mechanism for conflict resolution
among the worldwide Churches, was rejected
in the dioceses, despite or perhaps because
of the support of most of the bishops for
the covenant. The dioceses were also asked
to vote on the women-bishops legislation
and 42 out of 44 voted decisively in favour.
The matter returned in February 2012 for
discussion amendments were discussed,
and firmly rejected. Instead, synod asked the
bishops not to change anything substantial
at the final stage of scrutiny. But having failed
to learn from July 2010, the bishops intro-
duced a last-minute and ill-drafted
amendment which seemed to allow parishes
to choose their own bishops on the basis of
theological convictions which would have
gone against one of the cardinal principles of
church government since the time of
Augustines conflicts with the Donatists.
Some bishops most notably the Bishop
of Liverpool broke ranks and recognised
their own folly. Not surprisingly, most of those
in favour of women bishops firmly rejected
the amendment and since it couldnt be
changed at this stage, the measure was
returned to the bishops for further amend-
ment. It was obvious to most of us that circles
cannot be squared, and there has to be a limit
to compromise for the sake of coherence.
Synod was consequently forced to meet again
in November. Finally, it discussed a measure
that was substantially unchanged from that
first proposed in July 2010.
What was clear in the run-up to the synod
and in the debate itself was that the significant
minority who did not support women bishops
and their sympathisers did not have sufficient
trust that those responsible for the provisions
the bishops would make them work unless
they were forced to by law. The bishops had
failed to trust the mechanisms of synod. For
those who are likely to be suspicious of bishops
anyway, and who certainly feel beleaguered
by the dominant liberalism of the Church, it
meant little that the bishops rallied behind
the measure on Tuesday. The damage had
already been done in July 2010.
The measure will no doubt return soon
and perhaps next time the bishops will work
with synod rather than against it and realise
that it is synod that provides the mechanism
for listening to the mind of the Church, and
not the loud-mouthed lobbyists who can easily
bend bishops ears. Synods can work, but they
have to be trusted. And in an Established
Church it is to the House of Laity that the
Royal Supremacy which had previously
been exercised by Parliament has been
delegated. Chastened bishops might do well
to remember that and then the Church of
England might have the leaders it so richly
deserves, men and women.
Mark Chapman is vice principal of Ripon
College Cuddesdon, Oxford, and reader in
modern theology in the University of Oxford.
His books include Anglicanism: a very short
introduction (OUP, 2006), and Anglican
Theology (T&T Clark, 2012). He is a member
of the General Synods House of Clergy.
of York and
at Church
1 December 2012
Women bishops
Sex discrimination in the Church
A womans place
The Church of England is supposedly more hospitable to women than the Catholic Church. After
all, the Anglicans ordain women priests and there are laywomen on the General Synod.
Here, an Anglican authority on the sociology of religion turns conventional wisdom on its head
istening to the General Synod debate
on women bishops last week, I chor-
tled with recognition when I hear the
line: Of course women arent just
there to make the tea Though that is an
important aspect of diaconal ministry. I
remember being surprised when I was being
inducted as tutor in doctrine and ethics at an
Anglican clergy-training college to be asked
if I could sew tablecloths. I was equally sur-
prised to find that when I addressed certain
gatherings of clergy I seemed to have donned
a Harry Potter invisibility cloak.
What shocked me more was the way that
insults and downright cruelty went unchecked
and unchallenged. I remember a woman
ordinand in an Anglo-Catholic college having
her pray for me on the day of my ordination
cards torn up and returned to her pigeonhole
by fellow ordinands opposed to the ordination
of women. And I remember how, at the
ordination services I attended for some of the
first women to be made priests, the presiding
bishops told them not to celebrate out of
compassion for their opponents.
That was 20 years ago. Surely things have
changed? Its true that half of all Anglican
ordinands are now female, and a third of all
clergy. Moreover, the gender equality scores
(where 100 per cent would be perfect equality)
have risen from 19 per cent in 2000 to 35 per
cent in 2010. But progress has been spotty
in 2010 Blackburn and Chichester Dioceses
could still only manage a score of 11 per cent.
With the exception of a few high-flyers,
women priests are often marginalised in
the least popular parishes, outside the
positions of greatest power, and as unpaid or
non-stipendiary. According to the Churchs
own statistics, in 2011 fewer than a quarter
of stipendiary clergy were female, compared
with more than half non-stipendiary.
Anglican theology also remains a male bas-
tion. In the university departments in which
it is largely housed, women make up only 28-
30 per cent of the staff, according to a recent
study from Durham University (this compares
with 57 per cent in languages, 48 per cent in
law, and 27 per cent in maths). In fact its even
worse, because not all of the 28 per cent are
theologians, fewer still systematic theologians.
Women trained in theology often move into
areas which are more open to their talents,
including practical theology, Christian ethics
and sociology of religion.
Moving beyond the Churches, its easier to
name prominent Catholic women in British
society than prominent Anglicans. In planning
a series of debates on religion in public life,
my colleagues and I kept thinking of women
with interesting things to say on the subject
and realising that they were nearly all
Catholic. Its not that Anglican women dont
make a vital contribution to society, but
Catholics seem more willing to own their faith
and speak openly about it.
Ironically, it may be that the ordination of
women in the Church of England has actually
served as a brake on progress. By limiting the
priesthood to celibate men, the Catholic
Church has inadvertently liberated a large
and well-educated laity to get on with living
out their faith, independent of clerical con-
straints. By contrast, ordained Anglican
women may find that wearing a dog collar
means you can be put on a leash.
Its not that the Church of England is as
overtly authoritarian as the Catholic Church;
it exercises control in more subtle ways. A
prime one is the cult of niceness. You mustnt
be ambitious, and you can never, ever get
angry. This applies to women more than to
men: they must be patient and caring at all
times. Any form of protest or demand is inter-
preted as pushy, unfeminine and unchristian.
The problem is compounded by a pervasive
Anglican commitment to the importance of
unity and inclusion. Its this pursuit of the
common good that has led the bishops to
go to extraordinary lengths to make sure that
those who oppose womens equal treatment
don t feel excluded. They have, in effect,
allowed the establishment of a Church within
a Church and this is what opponents of
women bishops want to strengthen, contrary
to all traditional understandings of the bishops
role as guarantor of unity.
By virtue of being lay, women in the Catholic
Church escape a lot of these pressures. Their
Churchs teachings give more weight to issues
of truth and justice than the Church of
Englands, and theres a humour and honest
earthiness about the Catholic Church and a
willingness to criticise and challenge, which
I often miss in my own.
Catholic women in Britain are also helped
by the fact that they belong to a minority with
a history of struggle against poverty and
prejudice. Members of religious minorities
tend to support one another. They encourage
girls to be educated, get good jobs and gain
the advantages that their parents above all
their mothers could only dream of. In prac-
tice this means that Britain has many good
Catholic schools with inspiring women
teachers. Until recently, some of those teachers
used to be nuns, sent with a mission to uplift
and educate the Catholics in Britain. I
attended one myself for a few years, and very
empowering it was too. State-assisted Catholic
schools often do similar work.
Anglican schools seem not to offer their
pupils such clear identity, nor to help working-
class girls in the same way. The Church of
England remains class-ridden. Public school-
boys are prominent among its leaders, and
the model of the pastor with supportive wife
and large family lives on.
All this may offer a crumb of comfort to
Catholics, but its not really good news for
either Church. The Catholic Church has proved
more hospitable to women in spite of its official
teachings and practices, not because of them,
and the Anglican Church has managed to turn
its ordination of women into a problem rather
than a solution. This is serious for both
Churches, as they contemplate declining
numbers. When they began to lose power and
prestige after the 1970s, increasingly well-
educated but still-faithful women were the
natural group to step in and inject new energy.
By excluding them from senior leadership
positions and influence, both Anglicans and
Catholics have squandered a vital resource.
Some women have done their very best to save
the situation. But their difficult experiences
and repeated disappointments make it ever
less likely that their daughters will do the same.
Linda Woodhead is professor of the
sociology of religion in the department of
politics, philosophy and religion at
Lancaster University.
A newly
priest, one of
the first in the
UK, shares a
joke with the
Bishop of
London outside
St Pauls
Photo: PA
1 December 2012
It is more difficult to persuade people that
there is a value and a purpose in adding
their efforts to less tangible forms of
campaigning, such as putting pressure on
governments or demanding changes to the
law. During Cafods Thirst for Change
campaign last Lent, 400 cards in the shape
of water drops were given out in our parish
and everyone attending Mass was asked to
write a message to the Prime Minister urging
him to take action for the millions living
without access to clean water and sanitation.
Standing at the back of church, I collected
cash donations for Cafods work but received
only two cards for David Cameron, one of
them with just the parishioners name on it.
And yet, together with all the other cards
and petitions which were signed all over the
UK, Thirst for Change was the biggest single
campaign the Department for
International Development
faced in 2012, and it helped
secure a major increase in gov-
ernment funding for water and
sanitation projects worldwide
proof that campaigning
It is, however, all too easy
for organisations, parishes and
individuals to be satisfied with
being purely fund-raisers and
donors and putting to one side
the energy, enthusiasm and
effort required to create fun-
damental change, tackling the
root causes of that need. When
I visit schools in the parish, I
find a different attitude. The fund-raising
aspect is still there, but what really motivates
young people is the desire to demand change
and to challenge an unfair system.
Through Facebook and Twitter, our young
people watch events unfolding in real time;
they feel part of a global village and they
identify with the struggles they see. Through
national or global movements, they can find
out what like-minded people are planning
to do to make their voices heard. For example,
they might hear that a group is going to
occupy their local library to try to save it
from spending cuts, and they decide to go
along to join them. They see that they no
longer need to join a political party to make
hen I tell people that I belong
to a campaigning parish, it
provokes different reactions.
Some think it means taking
action together as a group: standing outside
embassies waving placards and shouting
slogans in defence of persecuted Catholic
communities somewhere in the world; or
ringing bells outside government buildings
demanding the cancellation of developing
countries debt.
Others think it means something quieter
and more personal: learning and praying
about the problems in the world which our
Catholic values compel us to care about
the needs of the hungry, the thirsty, or those
denied justice and adding our names to a
petition that upholds those values or putting
our coins in a collection bucket in the hope
that, together, we can make a
For a long time, my parish
had a strong Justice and Peace
Group that emphasised both
types of campaigning. As its
members grew older, the group
could not sustain itself.
However, like the grain of
wheat Archbishop Oscar
Romero described in his last
homily, the spirit they created
did not die. Many of the things
that make us continue to be a
campaigning parish today are
due to the commitment to
social justice which took root
in that Justice and Peace Group.
Our parish supports a local food bank that
helps those who are struggling in these tough
economic times. Failed asylum seekers and
refugees are helped through rice collections
used to make up food parcels. In addition,
the parish raises funds for a home for the
elderly and sick in India. The way to succeed
with these projects is to start small. My
involvement with the Catholic aid agency
Cafod started with my running the Great
North Run to raise money. In addition to
Cafod, there are a number of Catholic agencies
parishes can contact, such as Sciaf (Scottish
Catholic International Aid Fund) and Caritas
Social Action. They all provide practical help
to those in need.
Fight the good fight
We are called to prayer but also called to action. So what kind of action do we engage
in, if we are to make the world a better place? Fund-raising for charities? Lobbying
Parliament? Collective protest? And what will really make a difference?
their voice heard. Cynics might say this is
simply the blind optimism of youth; I believe
it is something deeper than that. It is a
question not of age, but of attitude.
Earlier this year, I visited the Korogocho
slum on the outskirts of Nairobi in Kenya,
with a population the size of Sunderland
(c. 200,000) crowded into one square mile. I
visited some of the campaign groups there,
and saw the same urgency and enthusiasm
that I see in my local schools here, the same
passion for justice and peace that inspired
those first volunteers in my parish. The men
and women I met in Korogocho and their
parish priest, Fr John Weebotsa were not
content to wait for others to set up a youth
sports society or a community peace-building
project or a local radio station or a womens
empowerment project. They needed a hand
to set things up, but then invited politicians to
hear their views. They raised the voices of the
people who were concerned about jobs,
womens rights, security and a lack of oppor-
tunities for young people.
Gandhi said: Be the change you want to
see. He was right; if you wait for someone
else to do something, you might wait a long
time. If you see the injustice in the fact that
one in eight people on this planet do not
have enough to eat, if you want to demand
that Mr Cameron makes that the top item
on the agenda at next years summit of G8
world leaders, then get your parish to join
Cafods Hungry for Change campaign. By
doing so, yours will not only be a campaigning
parish, but one that reaches out in solidarity
to our needy brothers and sisters.
Find out what local charities are doing to
help the disadvantaged and vulnerable
and advertise their work in the newsletter so
that parishioners can support them. If you
feel strongly about an issue or a campaign,
find ways to tell people and ask for their sup-
port. By publicising your efforts in your local
media, you will show the wider community
that your parish is living out its faith; it is a
place where the Gospel is lived and Christians
are known by their good deeds.
John McBride is a Cafod supporter and
campaigner who was nominated to run with
the Olympic torch in Kenya for his work in the
community promoting development issues.
Be willing to speak up for
what you believe in
Start small and watch things
grow. Get on the emailing list
for news of campaigns by
Cafod, Sciaf, Caritas Social
Action and other Catholic
Find out what local charities
are doing to help the
vulnerable and advertise
their work in the newsletter
1 December 2012
21 Tablet 1 Dec 12 PP_P27 parish practice 28/11/2012 14:10 Page 14
Game changer
LAST SEASON it emerged that the
Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini,
was given a relic of St Thrse of Lisieux in
the weeks leading up to his clubs clinching
of the Premier League title. Now we can
report that Mr Mancini, a Catholic, regularly
attends Mass at the Church of the Holy
Name, Manchester.
It is understood that he attended Mass at
the church on the morning last May when
City dramatically beat Queens Park Rangers
3-2 on the last day of the season at the
Etihad stadium an event promptly dubbed
the miracle of Etihad.
It is appropriate that Mr Mancini chose
that church: at the back of the building is a
large picture of St Luigi Scrosoppi, the patron
saint of footballers. St Luigi, an Oratorian
who came from Udine, in north-east Italy,
worked with the poor, established schools
and encouraged youngsters to take play sport
he is often depicted holding a football.
A generous life
AMONG THOSE who suffered the effects
of Hurricane Katrina when it hit New
Orleans in 2005 was Sr Helen Prejean, the
well-known campaigner against capital
punishment. Sr Helen, whose book Dead
Man Walking was turned into a movie
starring Susan Sarandon, saw her convent
badly damaged as Katrina swept through
Louisiana. A few weeks later, Sr Helen was
in London to give The Tablet lecture. A
packed house donated around 1,000 to
the rebuilding of her home thanks to the
generosity of lawyer John McInespie, who
insisted on paying all the costs of Sr Helens
visit to Britain to give our lecture.
It was not the first time that McInespie,
who has died at the age of 64 from brain
cancer, helped Helen Prejean, nor the first
time he helped Catholic charities and the
Church. After studying law at Glasgow
University and at the Jesuits Georgetown
University, Washington DC, McInespie carved
a successful career as both a lawyer and a
lobbyist. From late 2002 he advised on a
pro bono basis the nunciature of the Holy
See to the United States on dealing with
sexual-abuse cases coming to light within
the Catholic Church of the United States.
This led to a series of meetings with John
Paul II in Rome in 2003. John McInespie
retained strong links with the Jesuits at
Georgetown, endowing a full professorial
chair in the name of the Supreme Court
judge Mr Justice William J. Brennan Jr,
with whom he had a lifelong association.
John McInespies Requiem was due to be
held on Friday at the Church of the
Immaculate Conception in Farm Street,
central London.
Eliots patrimony
WHEN POPE Benedict XVI announced
the creation of personal ordinariates for
Anglicans to become Catholics while retaining
elements of their patrimony, many queried
what the latter might mean. The recently
published Customary of Our Lady of
Walsingham effectively the breviary for
the group may provide an insight.
Among the post-biblical readings in the
book (used as the second reading at Matins
and Evensong, or within the Roman Office
of Readings) are a number of Anglican
writers. They include Lancelot Andrewes,
John Keble, Michael Ramsey and T.S. Eliot.
The customary says they were chosen for
their thorough congruence with a Roman
(Catholic) doctrinal understanding. Fr Aidan
Nichols, one of the editors, explained that it
is hard to think of any other parallel where
non-Catholic writers have been included in
a prayer book sanctioned by the Church
(although he pointed out there is a Byzantine
writer who appears in the office of readings).
Fr Aidan, a cat lover, explained that the
T.S. Eliot text is not one of his feline poems
but has been taken from Murder in the
Cathedral. Unfortunately, St Gertrude of
Nivelles, the patron of cats, is not in the
ordinariates calendar, he told us.
Getting Satisfaction
MYSTERY SURROUNDS the identity of a
young Irish priest who was filmed in the
middle of a heaving mass of screaming fans
at a Rolling Stones concert in 1965.
He appeared in Charlie is My Darling, a
film about a Stones tour of Ireland shown
on BBC2 last Sunday. He was clearly visible
in the front row seemingly enjoying a
rendering of the hit song Satisfaction,
despite chaotic scenes of fighting and destruc-
tion going on in the Dublin cinema where
the concert took place. Asked afterwards by
the Stones manager, Andrew Loog Oldham,
whether he enjoyed the show, the unnamed
priest replied: No, I think the screaming
was a little bit much. Questioned further, he
said the Rolling Stones were very good
artists and that it was fans not the band
who were responsible for the immoral effect
he had witnessed.
So who was the priest and does he still like
the Rolling Stones? Wed love to know.
Wobbly start
THE DAY after the vote for women bishops
was lost in the Church of Englands ruling
General Synod, the incoming Archbishop of
Canterbury, Justin Welby, was putting a
brave face on things. The archbishop-elect,
who had passionately urged the synod to
vote for the legislation, reflected that he had
achieved the rare distinction of losing a vote
of confidence without having assumed office.
He made the remark on Wednesday last
week as he accepted his Spectator award for
Peer of the Year in recognition of his work
on the Parliamentary Commission on
Banking Standards. Soon afterwards, he
was on a plane to Nigeria to take part in an
event organised by the Tony Blair Faith
Foundation. Together with the former prime
minister, he took part in a video conference
aimed at bringing peace between warring
Christians and Muslims.
On his return to Britain last Friday, Welby
told The Times: As they work together,
they begin to deal more effectively with
their conflicts. Could he have been thinking
about the situation nearer home?
Dance of faith
HE HAS been dubbed the the real-life
Billy Elliot. Now a 22-year-old dancer from
Newcastle upon Tyne has called on the
help of fellow Catholics to raise the 20,000
he needs to take the next step towards ful-
filling his talent.
Eliot Smith needs the money to take up
a place at the prestigious Martha Graham
Dance School in New York, which has
trained some of the worlds finest dancers.
Smith, who began attending Mass at
Westminster Cathedral after moving to
London to begin a dance degree in 2008,
has already raised a third of the 30,000
cost of the two-year-long course. He has
now appealed for help in generating the
rest in an article about his life, faith and
burgeoning career for the Westminster
Cathedral magazine, Oremus.
The young dancer is no stranger to
fundraising. In 2010 he used his talents to
raise money for the cathedral by organising
a special dance performance called MISSA.
1 December 2012
22 Tablet 1 Dec 12 Notebook_P28 notebook 28/11/2012 14:40 Page 14
1 December 2012
Anglican attitudes
Is it really true that the very basis of the
Anglican Settlement is a tacit agreement that
no one part of it should ever push its case so
far as to drive another part out into the cold
(Measure of compromise, leader, 24
November)? Since when? 2012 is the 350th
anniversary of the 1662 Act of Uniformity,
which precisely and deliberately drove over
1,500 ministers into the cold. That hardly
seems like a tacit agreement. The same was
true in the sixteenth century. Twentieth-cen-
tury attempts at wider comprehension were
consistently blocked by the same alliance that
blocked the proposed legislation on women
bishops. By all means let us protect minori-
ties, but let us also broaden the list of those
to be protected. Where, for example, would
you put the Society of St Pius X in such a list?
David M. Thompson
(Emeritus Professor of modern church history)
Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
With all the recriminations and frantic
efforts to salvage something from the chaos
of the vote against women bishops in the
Church of England, I never once heard a sin-
gle voice suggest that this might just be the
choice of God expressing an opinion on the
subject. Perhaps, just perhaps, the Good Lord
used the weak and powerless, the voiceless
laity to speak to the leaders and tell them that
this is not the way forward.
Too much of the debate was about equal-
ity, about not being out of step with society.
What about being salt of the earth and the
light of the world? In other words, what about
having the courage to be different? Christians
are not called to be the same, we are called
to be different, in order to witness to the world
that Gods ways are not our ways. Let the Lord
lead the way, and if it is his will it will
happen in its own good time.
(Fr) Anthony Doyle
London E9
Setting aside the awesome chutzpah it must
take for a Catholic journal to counsel another
denomination on its shortcomings in the
realm of gender equality and democracy, your
leaders criticism of the Church of England
for its failure to compromise sufficiently over
the appointment of women bishops showed
bias and inconsistency.
You clearly implied, for example, that the
large majority who supported the measure
were motivated principally by the desire to
ingratiate themselves with the wider society
and its shifting sands of public opinion
whereas your seemingly more principled dis-
senters would have somehow been perfectly
justified to do the same for the rest of the
Church, if only their own protection from
sector agencies like Cafod and local charities
on the ground, who best understand how to
get aid to those who need it? We all know that
there are millions of people in the world in
Uganda, India and elsewhere who are in des-
perate need, but greater steps must be taken
to ensure that British aid actually reaches
Erik Pearse
Wolverhampton, West Midlands
Aquinas never more relevant
Tracey Rowlands article (A symphony of theo -
logical renewal, 17 November) and the
female bishops had been better guaranteed.
You further implied that, since the
Archbishop of Canterburys earlier attempt
at compromise had been rejected, he should
not be numbered among the advocates of
women bishops whose intransigence you
blamed mostly for the failure. Nothing could
be more misleading: he was, as we all know,
a passionate advocate of the measure exactly
as it was presented to the synod.
There are times surely this is one of them
when compromise as a first priority, however
well meant, simply demands from both sides
too many moral and intellectual conces-
sions. That is why people vote. The problem
for the Church of England was not a failure
to compromise enough but a complex voting
system which failed to represent the evolved
values of the whole faith community as it
responds to the Spirit working through the
wider world. Nevertheless, their brave com-
mitment to voting on major issues, with its
roots in the historical Church and implicit
respect for the laity, remains wholly enviable.
John McLaughlin
Birkenhead, Merseyside
While the Church of England failed to
endorse the ordination of women to become
bishops by a mere six votes, we in the Catholic
Church face Herculean efforts to even allow
the open discussion of the possibility of
womens ordination to the priesthood. Within
the past week an American priest, Fr Roy
Bourgeois, internationally known for his
work on human rights in Latin America, has
been excommunicated, dismissed from the
priesthood and laicised by the Vatican
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (The
Church in the World, 24 November).
This punishment for Fr Roy because of his
public support for womens ordination is a grave
injustice in the eyes of God and all decent
human society. As a gesture of solidarity on
Friday last, I handed in a letter of protest to
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
on behalf of We Are Church Ireland, calling
for open dialogue in the Catholic Church on
the issue of womens ordination and to end
the scandalous sanctions against priests and
theologians who, led by the Spirit of God, advo-
cate open dialogue on this issue.
Brendan Butler
Malahide, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Trust the people on the ground
Following David Blairs column (Aid for India
must be spent elsewhere, 17 November) and
the Department for International
Developments announcement that it is sus-
pending aid to Uganda due to concerns over
corruption, is it not time for the Government
to channel a far greater proportion of its
expanding aid programme through third-
The Editor of The Tablet 1 King Street Cloisters, Clifton Walk, London W6 0GY
Fax 020 8748 1550 Email thetablet@thetablet.co.uk
All correspondence, including email, must give a full postal address and contact telephone number. The Editor reserves the right to shorten letters.
About the Book
Follow Grace on a spiritual adventure through lifes little
obstacles. While everything she needs is provided for her,
there is always someone trying to lure us down the wrong
path. Our Spirit will always guide us, if we listen carefully.
About the Author
Michele Drella was born in Brooklyn, New York. Before
becoming a writer, she worked for over twenty ve years
in the nance industry in both trading and marketing. The
story of A Mazing Grace came to Michele one morning
by way of divine inspiration, as is reected in the storys
underlying message. Michele lives in Westchester, New
York with her daughter, Nicole and her two dogs, Bella
and Kayla. A Mazing Grace is her rst childrens book.
A Mazing Grace
Michele Drella
You can order A Mazing Grace directly from the
publisher at www.westbowpress.com. Tis book
is also available at your local resellers. ISBN: 978-
1-4497-4781-7 2012 Author Solutions, Inc.
1 December 2012
We call these weeks of preparation for the
Feast of the Nativity the time of Advent
because the spirit of this season is await-
ing that which will come, the one who will
come Advent gathers up all the pas-
sages of the Old Testament and speaks
directly to peoples hunger for God
Advent is a celebration of the coming of
salvation that Jesus accomplished 20 cen-
turies ago but this salvation is not history
but is the future. Advent also signifies the
Second Coming of Christ when he will
come to judge, when he will begin his work.
Here in the Church we are working to
make the Kingdom of God a reality.
Everyone who struggles for justice, every-
one who makes just claims in unjust
surroundings is working for Gods
Kingdom, even though not a Christian.
The Church does not comprise Gods entire
Kingdom; Gods Kingdom goes beyond
the Churchs boundaries. The Church val-
ues everything that is in harmony with her
struggle to set up Gods Kingdom. A
Church that tries to keep itself pure and
uncontaminated would not be a Church
of Gods service to people. The authentic
Church is one that does not mind con-
versing with prostitutes and publicans and
sinners, as Christ did and with Marxists
and members of the bloc and those of var-
ious political movements in order to
bring them salvations true message.
Jesus came to save people in whatever
situation he found them.
Archbishop Oscar Romero
Homily, 3 December 1978
So Advent is, for me, not only a time
to celebrate Christs birth, but also to cele -
brate the person he became, the example
which he set, the truth which he embod-
ied that we are also called to follow. At a
time when society is pleading with us to
have more, buy more, consume more, we
are asked to empty ourselves and this, I
think, is for two reasons. The first is that
we need to create room inside us to receive
the Word of God. Secondly, we are asked
to enter into solidarity with others, par-
ticularly, perhaps, those who live in
Susy Brouard
Cafod Advent reflection
Tomorrow is the First
Sunday of Advent
The living Spirit
subsequent letters (24 November) highlight
the loss of clarity of vision and suffocating
semantics that has occurred within the
Church. For over 20 years I have run work-
shops and seminars on St Thomas Aquinas,
focused on linking his thoughts to everyday
problems of the individual and society. These
events were not for the clergy, but for man-
agement and the general public. They saw
immediately the relevance of Aquinas, with
his amazing balance of reason and emotions
as he explores subject areas. It is a disgrace
to attempt to lock him away with comments
like Baroque. We keep talking about evan-
gelisation, but within our grasp we have
Aquinas. All we need to do is get the laity
enthused over the potential of Aquinas,
then get them to use their individual imag-
inations to create workshops for the public.
Finally, it was Carl Jung who said, To find
the solution to most of modern mans prob-
lems, we have to turn to the medieval.
Tom Baxter
Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire
Tracey Rowlands Vatican II symphony was
long and detailed. All the more amazing that
there was no mention of a major instrumen-
talist, more likely a conductor. Bernard
Lonergan SJ was the greatest interpreter of
Aquinas in the twentieth century. His sway,
as Bishop B.C. Butler called it, has moved
many and has had a lasting foundational effect.
Butler called Lonergans thought hard-
currency philosophy and hard-currency
theology. That is what we need.
Patrick Kirkwood
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Lost cause
Why does the Vatican want to raise Latins
global profile (The Church in the World, 17
November)? Latin is a European dead lan-
guage. True, at the division of the Roman
Empire 17 centuries ago, re-standardising on
Latin, the living vernacular and administra-
tive lingua franca, made sense. Even after it
ceased to be the common medium of scholar -
ship (never just the hieratic language of a
priestly caste), indeed up to 50 years ago, most
Western grammar schools afforded intensive
training in Latin. But not now. Indeed, wide
cultivation had obscured the fact that Latin
is a hard language, only mastered with long,
expert grounding. Top classicists at Eton or
Westminster who have had the grounding can
still turn a neat Latin epigram. Most other clas-
sicists have only a reading knowledge of Latin.
The resulting blunders of traditionalist enthu-
siasts may be amusing, but the struggles of
African seminarians learning a smattering of
Latin through newly acquired English or
French under inexpert teachers are not.
To translate the works on canon law and to
free theology and philosophy from their Latin
straitjacket seems a more reasonable objective.
Latin, for all its lovely sonority, was never the
ideal vehicle of thought; nor as St Hilary of
Poitiers complained, endeavouring in that
fourth century to paraphrase Greeks rich ver-
satility in the Latin vernacular of prayer.
Tom McIntyre
Frome, Somerset
United witness against violence
Sarah Mac Donalds article (When the talk-
ing must go on, 3 November) is informative
about the tragic situation in much of Northern
Nigeria. It would have been helpful, though,
to have mentioned that, along with the mis-
sionary sisters whose work she describes, other
Christian groups and denominations are also
doing their best to lessen the effects of
militant groups. Not least among them are
Ben Kwashi, the local Anglican bishop, and
also his colleague the Archbishop of Nigeria.
It is a good example of a united Christian wit-
ness not always in evidence elsewhere.
B.M. Glover
Longlevens, Gloucester
Christmas in due time
Simon Bryden-Brook (Letters, 24 November)
may be seen to imply that the institutional
Church is depriving its members of a true cele -
bration of Advent. He may be interested to
learn of my experience of the liturgy here in
Rio de Janeiro. As the days get lighter, longer
and hotter as Advent moves towards
Christmas, there is no hint of liturgical antici -
pation of the feast of the birth of Jesus until
24 December. The celebration of the
Incarnation could be said to be enriched there-
fore, since Catholic practice appears untouched
by the commercial Saturnalia of which Mr
Bryden-Brook speaks. There is little of the rich
Northern European cultural tradition of
carol singing here among Catholics in this part
of Brazil, for better or for worse.
Martin Heal
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Etonian lapse
On the subject of Etons Catholic expansion
(Notebook, 17 November), William F. Buckley
has written in his literary biography Miles
Gone By: In 1855, five years after the found-
ing of Beaumont, the headmaster had issued
a challenge to the headmaster of Eton to a
soccer match, and got back a note: What is
Beaumont? to which the fabled answer had
been, Beaumont is what Eton used to be, a
school for Catholic gentlemen.
(Fr) E. Corbett Walsh SJ
Weston, Massachusetts, USA
For more of your correspondence,
go to the new Letters Extra section of
The Tablets expanded website:
In last weeks leading article (Expressly
frowned upon, 24 November), it was stated
incorrectly that the University of California,
San Diego had withdrawn an invitation
to Professor Tina Beattie. It was, in fact,
the University of San Diego. The error,
which we regret, was the result of a late
sub-editing change.
The answers to this weeks puzzles and
the crossword winners name will appear in
the 22 December issue.
Crossword competition
Please send your answers to:
Crossword Competition 1 December,
The Tablet, 1 King Street Cloisters,
Clifton Walk, London W6 0GY.
Please include your full name, telephone number
and email address, and a mailing address.
A bottle of wine courtesy of J. Chandler & Co. Ltd
will go to the sender of the first correct entry
drawn at randomon Friday 14 December.
1 See 11 Across
2 Last form of defence concerning problem
for Didymus (7)
3 Little dog at home is name in revivalist
church architecture (5)
4 Avoiding medieval punishment
stool? (7)
5 Irish county for poor nuns? (5)
6 Quiet job description for working-class
Orwellian (5)
9 & 18 Across: Arbiters moan about me
being in a traditional form of the Mass (9,4)
14 About the time Nativity beast embraced
by stigmatic Capuchin artist (7)
15 Chip element mostly a religious
image (7)
16 More untidy Frenchman initially giving
name to star groups (7)
19 Live following broken leg in parish
church land (5)
20 Yoricks gravediggers saying therefore
Shakespearean! (5)
21 Informal tale of island visited by
St Paul (5)
A long-established Catholic family firm
of wine merchants specialising in the
supply of Altar Wines to the
Clergy and Convents
New Abbey House
Fyfield Road, Weyhill
Andover, Hants, SP11 8DN
Tel: 01264 774700
Fax: 01264 774747
Across: 1 Bedlam; 5 Samos; 8 Caius; 9 Thunder; 10 Pyre; 11 Cephalic; 13 Papal; 14 Cross; 19 Acanthus; 21 Well;
23 Tartini; 24 Index; 25 Noses; 26 Nomine. Down: 2 Eritrea; 3 Luso; 4 Mother; 5 Southern; 6 Medal; 7 Saruch; 8 Cope;
12 Matthias; 15 Sheldon; 16 Martin; 17 Julian; 18 Flax; 20 Arras; 22 Siam.
Solution to the 10 November crossword No. 335
Compiled by Alanus
Level: Challenging
Each 3 x 3 box, each
row and each column
must contain all the
numbers 1 to 9.
Congratulations to Alan Geary, of Carrington, Nottingham, winner of the
10 November crossword competition. His was the first correct entry drawn at
random. He will be receiving a copy of Begat: the King James Bible and the English
Language, by David Crystal, OUP.
1 December 2012
Solution to the
10 November puzzle
7 Let us pray more about where Obama
presides (6)
8 Manservant with copy of Lives of the
Saints? (6)
10 Moths upset Im back in the great
doctors philosophy (7)
11 & 1 Down: Future pope arranged a
tow with jolly ark (5,7)
12 See 17 Across
13 Endorse Legion of Mary founder
informally (5)
17 & 12 Across: Latin Mass from the
Congo as bus with mail turns up (5,4)
18 See 9 Down
22 Spanish poet rewrites carol (5)
23 Granny returns with me as this High
Priest interrogates Paul in the Acts of the
Apostles (7)
24 Saint for throat problems in the
sound of fire (6)
25 Saint with ceremonial garb spinning
light (6)
7 6
25 Tablet 1 Dec 12 Puzzles_34 Puzzles 28/11/2012 14:16 Page 22
1 December 2012
he era of the Church of Englands
ascendancy ended very slowly. In
the middle of the nineteenth
century, its political privileges
began to be lost: the full logic of Establishment
was already in the past. But its cultural cen-
trality lasted into the mid twentieth century,
when Roger Scruton was in short trousers,
attending school assemblies that used the
Prayer Book and the King James Bible, and
watching the Queens Coronation on the tel-
evision. He misses those days. There are two
layers of nostalgia here: Scruton is nostalgic
for the era in which Anglican sentiment was
central and that sentiment was itself looking
back to a more politically substantial national
All such nostalgia is wholly benign in
Scrutons eyes; we ought to look back in rev-
erence at the glory days of Establishment, and
affirm what remains of it. For Englands reli-
gious settlement, after the tumult of the Civil
Wars, cannot be over-praised. The national
Church fused a wise, gentle form of Christianity
with the key principles of political modernity,
enabling a uniquely orderly polity, in which
other religious opinions were allowed a limited
freedom that gradually increased. This settle-
ment was the making of modern England;
the proper response to it is gratitude.
Scrutons skill as a prose poet of Tory
Anglican sentiment is not in doubt. There are
plenty of passages in Our Church that conjure
warm feelings towards little rural churches,
with their reassuring scent of musty local
piety, and towards the understated wisdom
of traditional Anglican worship. Such poetry
dominates Scrutons reflections on religion.
He will not, cannot, admit that there might
be some degree of tension between nostalgic
religious nationalism (however lovably gentle)
and understanding and communicating the
message of Christianity in todays world. May -
be the contradiction is not too acute: maybe
there is life in a ruin, as Burke said. Maybe
this tradition can still be fertile ground for
authentic Christian witness. On the other
hand, maybe such a Church is guilty of mixing
up the Gospel with something else, something
that muddies and muddles it guilty, in other
words, of serving two masters. A serious book
on the Church of England would at least admit
that this is an issue.
Scrutons account of how Christianity is
meant to be related to political order is
strangely contradictory. We are told (on the
strength of render unto Caesar ) that Jesus
accepted Romes secular rule of law, which
tolerated religions of all kinds, provided they
accepted the supremacy of the secular author-
ities in matters of civil government He clearly
assumed that, properly formulated, the two
jurisdictions need not conflict. This ideal sep-
arates Christianity from Islam, he asserts.
But the expression of this ideal is gradual
and complex: Constantine and the medieval
Catholic Church were struggling to express
it, in their ways. Then came the Reformation:
The separate allegiance to Caesar and to God
that Christ made fundamental to his Church
is easier to describe than to maintain, and
one way of understanding the Reformation
is as a temporary coalescence of the two juris-
dictions, under the growing pressure of
national sentiment and territorial claims.
But in Englands case this coalescence was
not so temporary, of course. So he claims,
with a straight face, that Christianity is defined
by its separation of religion and politics, and
that the supreme expression of this is the
coalescence of the two. Central to this claim
is the idea that the English coalescence was
special; it produced an open, tolerant religious
settlement. The reality is more complex. In
the seventeenth century, the strongest calls
for liberty came from opponents of the
Established Church, who were certainly not
all Puritan fanatics, as Scruton asserts. And
then the restored Church partially accommo-
dated such calls. The complexity of this crucial
era is just ignored, in Scrutons characteris-
tically cavalier way.
He claims to praise the calm, practical
broadness of the Church, its desire to accom-
modate all the English, however shaky their
faith. Ours is a settled Church, in which doc-
trinal differences have been marginalised,
and custom, ceremony and unthreatening
mysteries placed in the foreground. But he
is not willing to face the profound difficulty
that is nowadays involved in religious open-
mindedness. He wants openness to mean
kindly tolerating someone who has doubts
about the Trinity, or maybe tolerating the fact
that the local squire keeps a mistress. But as
soon as he feels more uncomfortable, most
obviously by the questioning of the Churchs
teaching on the ordination of women as bishops
or the blessing of same-sex relationships, he
becomes brave enough to assert traditional
Christian teaching.
Scruton is predictably voluble about the
sacred value of two seventeenth-century texts,
the King James Bible and the 1662 Prayer
Book. When the Church of England began
to sideline its traditional liturgy in the 1970s,
in the quest for relevance, it stabbed itself
in the back, as it were. To describe the new
services as alternatives to Cranmer is like
describing EastEnders as an alternative to
Shakespeare, or Lady Gaga as an alternative
to Bach. More soberly, he writes: The lan-
guage of the Book of Common Prayer and the
King James Bible forms, in my view the
real essence of [the English Churchs] religion.
In other words, these particular expressions
of Christianity are unsurpassable, unshed-
dable. The Church of England can have no
authentic life away from them. The wider
implication is that the Church of England
cannot move on from the era of its national-
cultural supremacy, can never find a new way
of being. Maybe he is right: the jury is out.
By remaining Established, perhaps the Church
of England shows that it is unable to imagine
a substantially new identity.
To Scruton, elegising a particular form of
national Christianity seems to be a more sacred
task than attempting to renew Christian culture.
A strange choice, from a Christian perspective.
But, alas, not a par ticularly unusual one.
Our Church: a personal history of
the Church of England
Roger Scruton
Tablet bookshop price 18 Tel 01420 592974
Roger Scruton:
He wants
openness to
mean kindly
someone who
has doubts
about the
Trinity, or
tolerating the
fact that the
local squire
keeps a mistress
Theo Hobson is a writer on religious affairs.
Kathy Watson is the author of The Devil Kissed
Her: the story of Mary Lamb.
Sarah Hayes is an award-winning childrens
David Andrew Platzer is a freelance writer
living between London and Paris.
Desmond Sewards most recent book is
The Last White Rose.
1 December 2012
At the icily grand Lancaster House,
Queen Victoria sniffily told the Duchess
of Sutherland, I come from my house to
your palace, PAGE 28
Mad, bad or just sad?
Inconvenient People: lunacy, liberty
and the mad-doctors in Victorian
Sarah Wise
Tablet bookshop price 18 Tel 01420 592974
fter taking a well-acclaimed walk
through a nineteenth-century London
slum in The Blackest Streets, historian
Sarah Wise has now turned her attention to
another Victorian phenomenon the
madhouse. Inconvenient People is a collection
of 12 stories, all true, all extraordinary, and
any one of which would make excellent raw
material for a Wilkie Collins novel.
Take, for example, the four Nottidge sisters.
They became enamoured of a charismatic
preacher and left their respectable home to
live with him in his Abode of Love, a high-
walled mansion guarded by bloodhounds.
There, they were each married to one of his
followers. The marriages were supposed to
be of the spirit only, but two of the sisters
became pregnant. The parents abducted
one daughter (Louisa) and took her to a
madhouse. She successfully challenged the
judgment of insanity. As her lawyer
summed it up, all she wanted was to
worship the Almighty in the way that
seemed sincere and correct to her. If that
involved handing herself and her money
over to a conman, so be it; it might be ill-
advised but it wasnt mad. On her release,
Louisa returned to the Abode of Love,
where she remained for the rest of her life.
Another story, the case of Rosina Bulwer
Lytton, was newsworthy for years. Edward
Bulwer-Lytton was a politician and novelist
(the line It was a dark and stormy night is
his) and Rosina was the wife he had had
enough of. She took up writing, parodying
Edwards books. A seemingly unending line
of vindictive put-downs followed. She
called her husband Sir Liar and her son a
white-livered little reptile. She told
Edwards friend Charles Dickens that he
was making an ass of himself, and dubbed
Her Majesty the little sensual, selfish
Pigheaded Queen. Rosina was waspish and
outspoken, certainly but she did not
deserve the humiliation of being ambushed
in the street and kept imprisoned for
several months while doctors and lawyers
wrangled over her mental state.
Some of the unfortunate and
incarcerated were clearly experiencing
some sort of breakdown, others were
distressed, some had what we would now
term learning difficulties, others had merely
made unconventional choices. What they
all seem to have had in common was money
and unscrupulous relatives. Its no wonder
that the English felt that nobody was safe
from a medical profession that could and
did imprison you on the say-so of a
rapacious family member. Wise makes clear
that, for the Victorians, psychiatry was a
human-rights as well as a health issue.
Although Wise is keen to stress that men
were incarcerated under the lunacy laws as
frequently as women, women lunatics exert
a particular fascination. Richard Brinsley
Sheridan had lampooned this
preoccupation in The Rivals (When a
heroine goes mad, one of his characters
points out, she always goes into white
satin) and the Victorians were just as
haunted by thoughts of women without
their white satin. Wise writes, What
seemed to be under attack in episodes of
rough handling was not just a ladys liberty,
but her right to avoid indecent and
improper circumstances.
This is a well-researched, substantial
book, not always easy to read because the
laws were
complex and Wise
has a tendency to
render all the
various elements
lawyers, cross-
campaigners against the law, psychiatrists,
gossip from the servants, newspaper
reports in great detail. Yet although the
laws have been changed and the stories
read like episodes of Victorian Gothic, these
experiences still feel relevant. We are
shocked by the organised cruelty of the
Victorian madhouse, but can we be so sure
that we are always able accurately to
identify the line between the eccentric and
the mentally ill, or between the temporarily
unhappy and the clinically depressed?
Kathy Watson
Butterfly effect
Flight Behaviour
Barbara Kingsolver
Tablet bookshop price 17.10 Tel 01420 592974
o describe this novel as a diatribe about
global warming would not be quite
right, because what its really about is a
marriage. Or is it the other way round?
Barbara Kingsolver is one of a very few
contemporary authors who succeeds in
using nature as a metaphor for human
relationships. Even her most urban novel,
The Lacuna, about the McCarthy era, has a
geological anomaly at its heart.
Flight Behaviour is set in the insular,
uneducated, dirt-poor community living in
the Appalachian Mountains, where
Kingsolver herself now lives and farms.
The marriage at the centre of her story was
made in haste: Dellarobia was only 17
when she had become pregnant, and
handsome, slow-thinking Cub Turnbow
had done the right thing, although their
child was to be born dead. Now, 10 years
later, with a small son and daughter and
still living on her husbands family farm,
Dellarobias existence is almost as lifeless
as her stillborn baby. But there is love here,
subtly conveyed against a series of
stunning backdrops, natural and
man-made: an evangelical church service,
a second-hand goods warehouse, a
treacherous stretch of fencing, a flood, the
resurrection of a lamb.
Kingsolver keeps the reader in doubt
about the fate of the marriage until the very
last pages. There is, however, a magical
reveal in the first chapter. Bored with
marriage, with motherhood, and with her
critical mother-in-law, Dellarobia hikes up
the mountain intent on an adulterous
adventure. Before she reaches the meeting
place, she has well a revelation: the
forest is on fire, burning but not
consuming. Dellarobia is a lacklustre
churchgoer, preferring to smoke in the
church cafe rather than listen to Pastor
Ogle, but she knows the fire in the forest is
a sign telling her to stop messing about
with adultery. A day later, the fire is
discovered to have been the arrival of eight
million monarch butterflies, which have
forsaken their Mexican over-wintering site
for a mountain in the Appalachians.
The arrival of the butterflies is a
life-changing event for the whole community.
The media brilliantly characterised
arrive to misinform the public. Pastor Ogle
declares Dellarobia a beacon of the church.
The Turnbow family is split apart by a
logging contract, signed by Bear, Cubs
father, to clear the mountain of the
butterfly forest. Dellarobias life is changed
by the presence of a scientific team, in
particular by its charismatic leader. This
warm, funny, complex novel is a powerful
appeal to all of us to think carefully about
how we treat both the world we live in and
the people we live with. Sarah Hayes
Sarah Wise
1 December 2012
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Travellers tale
Patrick Leigh Fermor: an adventure
Artemis Cooper
Tablet bookshop price 22.50 Tel 01420 592974
t the beginning of this splendid
biography, Artemis Cooper tells us that
one of the very first books Patrick Leigh
Fermor Paddy to his friends ever read
was Kiplings Puck of Pooks Hill, a favourite
to which Leigh Fermor yearly returned,
along with another Kipling gem, Kim, until
the end of his long life. There was a bit of
Puck in Leigh Fermor. To this was added a
spice of Byron in good looks, in a shared
reputation as a hero in Greece and in both
being published by John Murray. Byron and
Leigh Fermor also possessed a sympathy for
Catholicism, without ever converting, even
if Leigh Fermor identified himself as RC.
during the Second World War.
The war made Leigh Fermor famous
when, while fighting with the Greek
Resistance, he led the kidnap of General
Heinrich Kreipe, the German commander
in Crete. Any other writer would have
wasted little time in turning his wartime
adventures into a book, as Fitzroy Maclean
did with his experiences in Yugoslavia. But
Leigh Fermor was happy to let his comrade-
in-arms, William Stanley Moss, tell their
story; as it happened, Moss account Ill Met
by Moonlight, later filmed by Michael Powell
and with Dirk Bogarde playing Leigh Fermor,
only enhanced Leigh Fermors legend.
Cooper discusses Leigh Fermors war in
detail. This included two darker moments:
Leigh Fermors accidental shooting dead of
a Cretan partisan and the killing, to Leigh
Fermors horror, of General Kreipes driver
by the two Greeks guarding him.
Leigh Fermors dilatoriness was the cross
of the long-suffering John Murray, who died
waiting for the third volume of the trilogy of
Leigh Fermors masterpiece portraying his
walk in his late teens from Holland to
Constantinople in the Thirties. The always
hard-up Leigh Fermor approached his
work as if he were a leisured gentleman
writer, blessed with unlimited time in which
to write and rewrite, his Penelope-ising, as
his friend, the poet George Seferis, put it.
He was fortunate indeed in his wife, Joan,
Wendy to his Peter Pan, who possessed the
Urban palaces
Great Houses of London
James Stourton
Tablet bookshop price 36 Tel 01420 592974
gr Gilbey once called London a place of
secret gardens. Here is confirmation,
and also reassurance for those who mourn
the loss of so much else that was worth
keeping. A large volume more beautiful
than any coffee-table book, it has 300 fine
photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg,
the greatest of architectural photographers.
A former chairman of Sothebys, James
Stourton is a well-known art historian (and
an authority on Cisalpine Catholicism in
England). His book is about three things:
houses, architects and owners. Most of the
houses are big, terraced town houses rather
than the stately homes in the countryside
that usually receive all the attention.
Stourtons selection ranges from Lambeth
Palace (with Archbishop Stephen Langtons
numinous undercroft) to the house in
Holland Park created by Charles Jencks,
one of the leaders of postmodernism. They
include 20 St Jamess Square with its
almost intact Robert Adam interiors, the
triumphantly restored Spencer House, the
private income he lacked. Cooper, who
knew her subject as a family friend, doesnt
shirk mentioning that Joan not only looked
the other way to her companions sexual
infidelities but even encouraged them.
Though Joan gave up sleeping with Leigh
Fermor fairly early in their relationship and
long before their marriage, she didnt
expect him to be celibate. One is reminded
of the biographers own grandparents, Duff
and Diana Cooper, also bound together by a
deeper link than the merely physical.
Other than his army pay in wartime and
a brief stint at the British Council in
Athens, Leigh Fermor never earned a salary
and Cooper quotes Somerset Maughams
description of him as a middle-class gigolo
for upper-class women. Always touchy
about his speech impediment, Maugham
was miffed by Leigh Fermors bibulous
jokes about stammerers over his dinner
table. Maughams fiction often celebrates
cheeky adventurers triumphing at the
expense of rectitude; perhaps his remark
was as much compliment as barb. Friends
and lovers found Leigh Fermor earned his
keep through his kindly thoughtfulness.
Most men are just take, take, take, Ricki
Huston, one of Leigh Fermors lovers, said.
With Paddy, its give, give, give. A few of
Leigh Fermors acquaintances found his
boisterousness, the frequent singing in nine
different languages, often for his supper,
and the dazzling flow of erudition a little
too much of a good thing. For the majority,
however, whether aristocrats or peasants,
he was always welcome. This enthralling
biography may well convert even those
sceptical to the charm of this endearing
sprite, luckier than any Jim, who succeeded
in his early ambition of making his life into
a novel. David Andrew Platzer
delightful villas of Regents Park, William
Burges Tower House in Melbury Road in
Kensington the most singular of London
houses and Debenham House in
Addison Road, with its extraordinary
mosaics and glazed tiles. It is surprising to
learn that so many mansions have escaped
demolition, and that more are back in
private occupation than at any time since
the Second World War, although usually
adapted to other purposes.
Writing in a deceptively simple style,
Stourton concentrates on architects and
artists, on owners and occupants.
Idiosyncratic and amusing, he makes you
see everything in a new light Bridgewater
House is an enlarged version of Barrys
Reform Club with knobs on. He relates
how, at the icily grand Lancaster House,
Queen Victoria sniffily told the Duchess of
Sutherland, I come from my house to your
palace. He turns his mansions into living
things. Buildings of which I never knew are
described in fascinating detail, such as the
Park Lane survivor, Dudley House,
currently being restored to domestic
splendour; the Tudor revival Astor House
on the Embankment; and Sohos
eighteenth-century House of St Barnabas
now the headquarters of a trust for the
homeless. All are reminders that, however
frustrating you may at times find it, London
is still a glorious city. Desmond Seward
Astor House, on the Embankment.
Photo Fritz von der Schulenburg
1 December 2012
t the launch of the Hermitages
exhibition of Moscow
Conceptualist Dmitri Prigov in St
Petersburg last month, the
museums director Mikhail Piotrovsky was
asked about future plans for the collections.
Who knows? he replied. Maybe in the future
well just pray in front of them without doing
anything. You wouldnt catch a museum direc-
tor in Britain talking about praying in front
of works of art, even in jest, but in Russia it
seems to be a common expression because
the next day our guide to the Ludwig Museum
stopped at a Cy Twombly painting and con-
fessed: I pray in front of it.
The fall of the Iron Curtain may have
removed a layer from the riddle, wrapped in
a mystery, inside an enigma that confronted
Churchill in the USSR in 1939, but Russian
culture remains different from ours, and the
roots of the difference when it comes to art
lie in religion. An artistic tradition whose
prototype is the icon an image regarded not
just as a depiction of divinity but as a doorway
to Heaven comes with a sacred strand in
its DNA. And that extends even to the sort
of formal abstraction that to Western eyes
seems the embodiment of rationalism, the
sort developed by the revolutionary Kazimir
Malevich, whose Black Square assumed such
iconic status that it preceded his funeral
cortge in 1935, lashed to the radiator of the
pickup truck carrying his coffin.
In his book on Moscow Conceptualism, the
Russian critic Boris Groys draws this distinc-
tion: In one way or another, Western art says
something about the world. Even when con-
cerned with faith it speaks of faith as incarnate
in the world Russian art, from the age of
the icons to our time, seeks to speak of another
world. After 1932, when the Communist
regime imposed incarnate secularism on
Russian art in the form of Socialist Realism,
the avant-garde kept harking back to Malevich,
whose black square became for them what
the ichthys symbol was for early Christians.
Going round the two new exhibitions of
Russian art at the Saatchi Gallery on Londons
Kings Road, you can follow a trail of references
to the black square from the 1960s to the pres-
ent day. But since Malevich it has acquired a
darker meaning. Rather than an image of
infinity, in two installations by Dmitri Prigov
of a square window opening on to a black
wall and a square trapdoor leading up to a
black hole it expresses a fear of extinction.
Its certainly not something to pray in front
of. The only praying being done in here is by
Prigovs janitor kneeling before a blackboard
with a drawing of a giant eye weeping tears
of blood. As a worker who spends her life on
her knees, she may just be praying for
permission to get off them.
Prigovs is the only reference to prayer
upstairs in Breaking the Ice: Moscow Art
1960s-80s (until 24 February 2013), although
there are religious allusions in Vladimir
Veisbergs metaphysical still lifes, Dmitri
Plavinskys archaising images of altar furnish-
ings and Oscar Rabins 1964 painting Russian
Pop Art No. 3, of a fish and bottle on a cross.
In post-Stalinist art, faith in Christianity
and in Communism gives way to disbelief.
Is it ironic? asked one visitor. Eighty per
cent of Russian art is ironic, his guide replied,
and her calculation seems about right. The
show is full of the sort of gallows humour and
visual puns that would appeal to an advertiser
like Saatchi, like Leonid Sokovs giant wooden
Glasses for Every Soviet Person with red star-
shaped holes carved in the lenses, Ilya
Kabakovs installation of Socialist Realist
paintings apparently smashed by their
despairing author with an axe, and Alexander
Kosolapovs illuminated McLenins sign
crowning Lenins iconic head with McDonalds
now more iconic golden arches.
But the mood downstairs in Gaiety is the
Most Outstanding Feature of the Soviet
Union (until 5 May 2013) is rather different.
Here its the shows title, taken from a 1935
speech by Stalin, thats ironic. The art of today
seems more directly confrontational, partly
because of the predominance of large-format
photographs. Two large galleries are given
over to the Ukrainian patriarch of social doc-
umentary photography, Boris Mikhailov, and
his Case History of unsparingly graphic
portraits of derelicts in his home town,
Kharkov, who have fallen through the holes
in the post-Soviet system. Gaiety is in short
supply, though its memory lives on in a
poignant photo of an ageing dancer doing
the splits against a wall on a street corner.
Theres not much to smile at, either, in Sergei
Vasilievs Encyclopedia of Russian Criminal
Tattoos, a rogues gallery of DIY body art ille-
gally self-administered by prisoners, says the
gallery guide, using melted boot heels, urine
and blood. But the most compelling photo-
graphs are the least gruesome: Vikenti Nilins
Neighbours series of black and white portraits
of ordinary occupants of Soviet tower blocks
casually seated on their window sills above
the abyss. After Nilins cliffhangers, much of
the painting and sculpture seemed rather flat,
though there was poignancy in Dasha Furseys
tower of pickle jars, a totem for a low-wage
economy where making preserves is a form
of self-preservation.
But for me the most eloquent images were
the most universal: Daria Krotovas water-
colour drawings titled Heart, Organ of Love
(Sometimes My Heart Turns into a Chicken).
Overlaid with a thin veil of tissue that absorbs
paint like surgical gauze or a sudarium
absorbs blood, Krotovas drawings evoke the
transformation of the organ of feeling into
flesh. Her incarnational method speaks of
this world in a way that Groys might regard
as more Western than Russian, and when
asked for her own distinction between the
two cultures she reaches for a thoroughly
Western reference. In England you have the
Monty Python song Always Look on the
Bright Side of Life. In Russia you look on the
dark side of life, and when the sun comes out
you look on it as something mystical.
Mysticism in Russian art may not be dead;
it may simply have gone behind a cloud.
The mystic impulse is woven through the history of
Russian art. Even in todays more secular and gloomier
expressions, it is rarely utterly absent
Oskar Rabins Russian Pop Art No. 3. Oil
on canvas, 1964. Tsukanov Family
Foundation, London
earlier work, Festen, which culminates in the
revelation of abuse within a family.
The Hunt arrives in Britain at a particularly
sensitised moment following allegations of
predatory sexual behaviour by Jimmy Savile
and others, including those in the Church,
placed in positions of trust with young people.
The testimonies of many of these victims were
ignored for decades.
By contrast, the suggestion from the little
girl that something inappropriate may have
happened resounds through the small rural
town where she lives. Lucas, a friend of her
parents, is a quiet, modest man dealing with
a marital separation that has taken his wife
and son some miles away. Played by Mads
Mikkelsen, in a performance that carried off
the award for best actor at Cannes this year,
Lucas is a sympathetic man humorous, gen-
erous, a frequent visitor to the kind of
open-plan casual homes so familiar to viewers
of series like Borgen or The Killing. But this
camaraderie evaporates rapidly. The same
community that joins together in hunting
1 December 2012
Led down a
hazardous maze:
Susse Wold as Grethe
questions Klara,
played by Annika
Rush to judgement
The Hunt
n the Danish film The Hunt there is a scene
that, while apparently simple, is excruci-
ating to watch. Nobody gets hurt and there
are no tricksy camera moves or complicated
speeches. A child sits behind a desk in a school
office while two adults gently ask her ques-
tions. Their manner is intended to put the
child at her ease, to help her articulate a
painful truth. Instead, with well-meaning
intentions, they are leading her into a
hazardous maze.
There is indeed a concealed truth in this
room but it is not the one that the head teacher
and social worker suspect. And therein lies
the drama of The Hunt: an innocent man,
Lucas, a teacher at the
kindergarten, will be
wrongly accused of sex-
ual abuse. In that sense,
this film is the opposite
of director Thomas
Vinterbergs best-known
trips or dinners or at church coalesces against
the suspected paedophile.
He, gentle reasonable type that he is,
responds at first barely at all. He does not
dignify the allegations with angry denial; he
abides by the investigation. He acts as he
might to a tantrum from one of his young
charges. Surely, reason will prevail. Vinterberg
has made a film guaranteed to provoke at
least debate in the audience about the way
Lucas should react. He remains courteous
and forbearing while the hysteria grows
around him to the point where some viewers
may become exasperated. Are men who play
by the rules of advanced society simply fall
guys? His lack of protestation may even drive
others to question his innocence.
And harder still for a contemporary audi-
ence to contemplate is the possibility that
children do not always tell the truth, or at
least that their assembly of impressions, events
and feelings may turn out something fantas-
tical. Vinterbergs most troubling suggestion
is precisely that of the interrogation scene
that adults rush to conclusions in order to
spare the child distress and in so doing make
a victim of her; that fear of allowing of some
evil to pass unchecked makes us see it every-
where and innocence in terms of adult/child
relationships can never be assumed.
On screen, that scene actually feels a little
didactic, as though Vinterberg is underscoring
his point turning this Danish kindergarten
into a Salem crucible. In fact, much of the
dialogue in the scene is taken from transcripts
of the questioning of a child in an actual case
that led to wrongful accusations. In making
us question the right way to deal with such
serious matters, The Hunt is a sad and shock-
ing film but well worth the pursuit.
Francine Stock
Convertible currency
Why Poverty?: Give Us the Money
hen the time comes to write the history
of our times, space will have to be found
for two Irish rock stars who somehow trans-
formed themselves into major players on the
world stage, negotiating with presidents and
prime ministers.
Give Us the Money (25 November) told us,
step by step, how Bob Geldof and Bono built
their campaign against African poverty.
Directed by Bosse Lindquist, a Swedish
documentary-maker, it was a straightforward,
slightly didactic account of the pairs efforts.
It benefited from interviews with the subjects,
fellow campaigners, politicians, experts,
observers some hostile and, most
poignantly, with a man and his daughter who
had been saved from starvation.
The story of the Band Aid record and the
Live Aid concerts is impressive, but the pair
were on familiar ground when they were mak-
ing music and making money. Their more
extraordinary achievements came later, after
a man called Jamie Drummond approached
them, looking for help with a campaign to
slash Third World debt. That would mean
dealing directly with world leaders.
Geldof had an insight. The cult of celebrity,
he reasoned, was now a currency. You could
spend that currency. And spend it they did,
effectively buying the attention of politicians
and statesmen who, just like the fans, wanted
their pictures taken with the stars. In all this,
Bono, always smoother and more diplomatic,
took the lead. He gave a pair of sunglasses to
the Pope, who gamely donned them for the
cameras; he sat down with Bill Clinton and
suggested a theme for his State of the Union
address; he sweet-talked fiery Republican
congressmen; he gave George W. Bush an
Irish Bible and talked to him about faith.
It was, noted Bono, who clearly relishes his
position on the world stage, very hard to go
back to civilian life. From debt, they moved
on to disease control, aid spending and fair
trade, setting up a Washington lobbying
organisation, with the help of a clutch of
friendly billionaires led by Bill Gates. Then,
in 2005, they threw themselves behind Make
Poverty History, putting pressure on the lead-
ers of the G8, then meeting in Gleneagles.
Another success: the biggest breakthrough
in one summit ever, said the boss of Save the
Children. And on that triumph, the narrative
rather fizzled out.
No good deed goes unpunished, and the
programme found plenty of space for Dambisa
Moyo, the economist and critic of foreign aid,
to rubbish Bono and Bob. She complained
that their campaigns were damaging psy-
chologically to Africa, that they undermined
African leadership, and that they displayed
hubris. These celebrities, if economic growth
and poverty reduction are their motivation,
they have failed miserably.
But things are looking better for Africa,
and for individual Africans. Geldof and Bono
may not have made it happen, but they did
what they could, and more than anyone could
have expected. Now they seem happy for
younger, African campaigners to make them
redundant. I hope, soon, a rocknroller in
his fifties will just be told to f *** off, said
Bono, and his equally foul-mouthed friend
would probably concur.
John Morrish
1 December 2012
Lithgow as
Posket and
Carroll as
Posket in
Satiric outriders
Mockery with Monocles
he Western Brothers in fact their rela-
tionship went only as far as second
cousinhood were about the closest pre-1960s
entertainment got to political satire. Evening-
suited and eye-glassed, George (1895-1969)
sat at the piano while Kenneth (1899-1963)
lounged nonchalantly at his side. Languid
projections of the classic inter-war stereotype
of the silly ass, they specialised in comedy
songs with an edge, often extending to outright
Establishment lampoons.
Geoffrey Palmer, an inspired choice to front
this engaging tribute (22 November), was
clearly enjoying himself top-hole, as the boys
might have said. You gathered that their con-
stant low-level ridiculing of the BBC appealed
to his sense of humour, and he had particular
fun with a controversy from October 1948 in
which the pair broadcast a skit about Hugh
Gaitskell, then Minister for Fuel and Power,
getting his nephew appointed to a job at the
National Coal Board. The corporation had to
issue a public apology a rare event at the
time, Palmer deadpanned, whereas now, of
Like many another variety-hall act, the
Westerns began their careers in the 1920s,
when the going was good, and ended it in the
1950s when the old light-entertainment bat-
talions were in sharp retreat before the
Return fare
The Magistrate
The Mousetrap
The Seagull
ll the productions discussed this week
are revivals of very familiar plays pre-
miered 127, 116 and 60 years ago respectively
but each comes with a novel twist. The
Magistrate, for example, is a work by Arthur
Wing Pinero, a sort of Victorian Ayckbourn,
who wrote a number of crowd-pleasers that
have remained in the repertoire: including
Trelawney of the Wells, The Second Mrs
Tanqueray and this 1895 farce, which is fre-
quently seen but never before in the form that
it takes at the NT.
Here The Magistrate has been relocated to
the seasonal period, staged on a set that opens
out from a giant Christmas cracker, hanging
like a nuclear missile in the middle of the
Olivier stage, and with new between-scenes
songs (by Richard Stilgoe and Richard Sisson)
that comment comically on the action.
The plot would have pleased any farceur
from Feydeau to Frayn. Agatha Farringdon,
a widow, has married Aeneas Posket, the
magistrate of the title, but, in a flash of vanity,
has knocked five years off her age, a strategy
that requires passing off her son, Cis, as a 14-
year-old, although he is in truth on the verge
of 20 and experiencing urgent appetites for
drink and women. News that the judge is din-
ing at his club with an old friend of Agathas
who will likely ask after the 19-year-old and
so blow the charade leads to her attempting
to intercept the truth-teller at the club, causing
a calamitous evening of deceit and disguise
which leads to a final scene in which the
magistrate must try a case in which he and
his loved ones were involved.
The three central performances are mag-
nificently enjoyable. The American actor John
Lithgow, in the title role, performs some superb
physical shtick when the bloodied and hung -
over judge seeks to readopt his dignity in the
final act, while Joshua McGuire brilliantly
depicts the incongruity of a hormonally
engorged yob dressed up as Little Lord
Fauntleroy. But the absolute justification for
buying a ticket is Nancy Carroll as the fibbing
widow. The way in which her social hauteur
is ambushed by desperate facial and vocal
spasms suggests a major comic performer
(surely a future Lady Bracknell). But, though
the acting keeps the evening always pleasur-
able, the piece finally feels too flimsy for the
huge weight of casting, staging and musical
elaboration that has been thrown at it.
Uniquely among plays premiered in 1952,
The Mousetrap is still running in its original
London production and marks this months
Diamond Jubilee with celebrations at the St
Martins Theatre and the first ever UK tour
(this week, Bradford). Dropping in to the
London show on a Tuesday matinee 40
years after I was taken by my parents, in what
was then and is now the theatrical initiation
of many children I was impressed by the
slickness of the production and the careful
judgement from the cast of the line between
parody and dramatic tension. The traditional
strengths of Agatha Christie clever puzzle,
smart twists and weaknesses sexual and
racial stereotyping are both present but the
play exerts the deeply reassuring hold of an
old movie beside the fire on a cold day. The
biggest mystery for me was that although
the play takes place in a snow-bound hotel
none of the characters is white-flecked when
they come inside, but a cast member explained
to me afterwards that the snow machine is
currently broken. The overall contraption,
though, looks good for a long time yet.
Russell Bolams Southwark Playhouse pro-
duction of The Seagull radically reanimates
Chekhovs play in a modern-day version
written by 20-year-old dramatist Anya Reiss,
whose Spur of the Moment and The Acid Test
at the Royal Court marked her as a star.
Certain elements of The Seagull such as the
elaborate arrangements that the characters
have to make for travel militate against
modernisation but Reiss has solved these by
placing Madame Arkadinas estate on a remote
part of the Isle of Man. Mobiles and laptops
are used sparingly but Reiss strongest con-
tribution is to turn the nineteenth-century
conventions of Chekhov dialogue exposition,
formality, soliloquies into the jagged,
anxious, fragmentary speech forms of today.
As Nina, a young woman torn caught between
an aspiring young writer and a successful old
one, who may be equally dangerous Lily
James confirms the stage presence and emo-
tional openness she suggested in the Sheffield
Crucible Othello last year. Mark Lawson
onslaught of television. Early progress was
slow, but by 1935 they were appearing at Royal
Variety performances, performing such items
as Keeping up the Old Traditions, The Old
School Tie and their signature tune Play
the Game you Cads, Play the Game. There
was even a Cads Club, convened to raise
money for childrens hospitals, with a mem-
bership book, crest and spoof Latin motto.
Several of Palmers guests stressed the
absolute up-to-the-minute topicality that the
Westerns brand of comedy required. Touring
northern England, they were carefully to inter-
sperse gags about Cabinet ministers with
carefully gleaned local references. The Second
World War found them on Entertainments
National Service Association tours, appearing
in North Africa in heat so intense that the
monocles fell off, and mocking Berlin Radios
chief propagandist, William Joyce (Lord
Haw-Haw the Humbug of Hamburg). The
Nazis reciprocated by filing their names in
the celebrated little black book of subversives
ripe for punishment when the invasion came.
Television did for them in the end. But if
distance had turned some of the satire horribly
innocuous, then their influence on such later
comedic titans as Barry Humphries (who lis-
tened to them on Australian radio) and Peter
Cook and Dudley Moore was everywhere
attested to. It was perhaps beyond Geoffrey
Palmers remit to enquire whether guying of
this nature doesnt actually bolster the subjects
it seeks to embarrass rather than hastening
their demise: certainly it came as no surprise
to learn that the royal family booked them
for private parties. The modern equivalent
would be Stephen Frys fine impersonation
of the Prince of Wales. D.J. Taylor
1 December 2012
Church backs Saudi interfaith centre
Christa Pongratz-Lippitt
In Vienna
A MAJOR Saudi-financed centre for interfaith
dialogue was opened in Vienna this week,
receiving the enthusiastic endorsement of the
Catholic Church, the United Nations and
Jewish groups.
Mondays opening ceremony at the Hofburg
Palace in Vienna of the King Abdullah
International Centre for Interfaith and
Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) was
attended by prominent religious leaders and
diplomats from across the world including
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,
Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of
Constantinople, the President of the Pontifical
Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Cardinal
Jean-Louis Tauran, and the Chief Rabbi of
Moscow, Pinchas Goldschmidt.
Tonight we join forces to celebrate a new
effort for cultural exchange and global har-
mony, Ban Ki-moon said in his opening
address. We need to look no further than
todays headlines to understand why this mis-
sion is so vital. He referred to the ongoing
conflict in Syria, the situation in Gaza, where
a ceasefire between Israelis and Palestinians
is holding after eight days of exchanges of
missile fire, and that in Mali, where Islamic
fundamentalists have swept through much
of the country.
Religious leaders had often bred division,
Ban Ki-moon recalled. He said he was deeply
grateful to King Abdullah for the centre, and
recalled that the King had once said, It is
high time that we learn from the harsh lessons
of the past and concur on the ethics and ideals
in which we all believe. That is why I believe
so deeply in this centres vision to generate
cooperation for justice, reconciliation and
peace, Ban Ki-moon said.
Cardinal Tauran said the eyes of world were
on the centre. We are under observation, he
said. The whole world expects honesty, vision
and credibility of this initiative launched by
His Majesty King Abdullah and supported
by the governments of Austria and Spain with
the help of the Holy See, a founding observer.
Saudi Arabia has a population of 28 million,
and all its nationals are Muslim, but there
are an estimated 1.5 million Catholics in the
country, who are expatriate workers from var-
ious parts of the world, notably the Philippines
and India. The country enforces a strict
Islamic code and bans non-Muslim religious
practice. The cardinal did not dodge the issue
of religious freedom in his address. The centre
presented an opportunity for open dialogue
in particular on religious freedom in all its
aspects, for everyone, for every community
everywhere, he insisted. You will understand
that the Holy See is particularly vigilant
regarding the fate of Christian communities
in countries where such freedom is not ade-
quately guaranteed It will be the task of
the centre when possible with the cooper-
ation of other organisations to act so that
our contemporaries are not deprived of the
light and the resources that religion offers for
every human beings happiness.
The only Jewish member of KAICIIDs
board of directors, Rabbi David Rosen, told
the Austrian daily Der Standard that King
Abdullahs plan to change the way Saudi
Arabia treated other religions within its own
borders had impressed him from the begin-
ning. Our society is very conservative and
traditional and things can t be changed
overnight. But when people see that we here
are cooperating, that can change their views,
the King told us, Rabbi Rosen said. I think
the King and the ministers close to him are
absolutely serious when they say that they
want to see Saudi Arabia change and this cen-
tre can contribute to such a change. Asked
if he wasnt sceptical about the initiative,
Rabbi Rosen replied, It is healthy to be scep-
tical, but when scepticism prevents one from
seizing opportunities it becomes a handicap.
The Austrian Government has been accused
of promoting the centre for purely commercial
reasons. The Austrian Green Party, liberal
Muslim and homosexual organisations held
protests before the inauguration.
(See interview with Cardinal Angelo
Scola, page 14.)
King Abdullahs backing prompts both hope and suspicion
THE NEWSaudi-backed international interfaith
centre in Vienna, named after King Abdullah
and initially bankrolled by Riyadh, is an ambi-
tious but ambiguous project, writes Tom
Heneghan. Hopes for it are high among its over-
sight board of three Muslims, three Christians,
a Jew, a Buddhist and a Hindu. The challenge
will be to keep a clear focus amid the varied
visions invested in it.
The centre aims to involve religious leaders
in contributing to solving major world prob-
lems. It has identified three major fields of
action: to improve the presentation of world
religions in media and textbooks, to use faith
networks to promote childrens health in
developing countries and to have religious
leaders meet and mix at interfaith fellowships
at the Vienna centre. Support for these proj-
ects is strong. What is less clear are the further
aims each party has.
The project is part of King Abdullahs cau-
tious drive to promote religious harmony after
the 9/11 attacks on the US and Islamist bomb-
ings in Saudi Arabia in 2003. His officials
claim success in slowly opening up Saudi
Arabias deeply conservative society. Critics
dismiss it as window dressing to ease criticism
of Riyadhs dismal record on religious rights.
Non-Muslims on the board of directors
hope the centre can foster further reform in
Saudi Arabia. How far and fast this can go is
unclear, given hostility to change in the strict
Wahhabi religious establishment. Directors
will be looking for improvements in rights
for women and believers of non-Muslim faiths.
The Vatican, a founding observer at the
centre, has long pressed Riyadh to allow
churches to be built there. The Jewish director,
Israeli Rabbi David Rosen, said the centre
will bring religious authority, especially from
the Muslim world, to bear not only on religious
conflicts but also political ones. That includes
in particular the Holy Land, he said.
Meanwhile, Abdullah al-Turki, whose
World Muslim League has promoted strict
Saudi Wahhabi Islam abroad for decades,
said at the opening ceremony that the centre
should revive a failed Muslim diplomatic drive
to have the United Nations issue a worldwide
ban on blasphemy. This is unlikely to find
support among other members.
Austrias Cardinal Christoph Schnborn
at the opening ceremony for the new
centre, a Baroque former palace.
Photo: CNS/Reuters, Leonhard Foeger
Jonathan Luxmoore
THE EUROPEANParliament has approved
the candidacy of a leading Maltese Catholic
for a top post in the European Unions gov-
erning Commission, despite hostility to his
position on homosexuality and abortion.
This is a great victory for the Christian
Democrats and a slap in the face for leftists
and liberals, said Peter Liese, a German mem-
ber of the Parliaments Committee on
Environment and Public Health. Its a victory
for free speech and defeat for all those seeking
to play the role of conscience policemen.
The MEP was reacting to last weeks vote
by 386 to 281 to accept Tonio Borg, Maltas
deputy prime minister and foreign minister,
as EU Commissioner for Health and
Consumer Policy. The politicians nomination
faced strong resistance because of his oppo-
sition to abortion and same-sex marriage.
However, during a mid-November hearing,
Mr Borg said he would fulfil his functions in
an independent, objective and above all
European way, adding that he would back
severe penalties against sexual discrimination
and accept that abortion lay within the com-
petence of the EUs 27 member states.
Mr Liese said the vote confirmed that
Christian conservative values had their place
in the spectrum of European opinion and
could not be cited legally as a reason for reject-
ing professional and qualified people.
In Strasbourg last week, the chairman of
the Vaticans Iustitia et Pax Council, Cardinal
Peter Turkson, urged greater involvement in
defending religious freedom by the European
Parliament, which in 2004 rejected Rocco
Buttiglione as European Commissioner for
Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship
because of his Catholic convictions.
Have your say on the weeks
big issues onThe Tablet blog at
Health brief
for Catholic
POPE BENEDICT XVI has urged the
Churchs cardinals, including six men
newly elevated to the post, to shun
worldly power and focus solely on building
Christs kingdom of truth, writes Robert
Mickens. Jesus clearly had no political
ambitions, the Pope said last Sunday as the
Church around the world celebrated
the Solemnity of Christ the King. To be
disciples of Jesus, then, means not letting
ourselves be alluredby the worldly logic of
power, but bringing into the world the light
of truth and Gods love.
Concelebrating in St Peters Basilica were
the new cardinals who received their red
hats there a day earlier. All but US Cardinal
James Harvey were from the global south.
The Pope toldthe new cardinals on
Saturday they were now even more closely
and intimately linkedto the See of Peter by
an oath of fidelity of profound spiritual
andecclesial significance. Referring to the
geographic mix of the newcardinals, Pope
Benedict stressed the Churchs catholic
or universal mission.
1 December 2012
THE COMMISSION representing Catholic
bishops from the European Union, Comece,
has warned European governments they must
manage their austerity programmes more
fairly, and do more to promote long-term
non-consumerist priorities, writes Jonathan
The Comece bishops are aware the reforms
undertaken in many Eurozone states should
be considered a way for Europe to maintain
its role in the twenty-first century, the
Commission communique said. [But] sac-
rifices imposed by governments on their
populations must not go against social justice.
So we call on all citizens to stay united and
in solidarity as they face the current crisis.
The communique, issued after Comeces
Brussels autumn plenary, said a new start
had to be made to ensure European citizens
were won over to the European Unions role
in fostering peace, happiness and prosperity
worldwide. It added that the commissions
bishops wished to send a strong signal of
European solidarity by stepping up the
Churchs aid for poorer regions in partnership
with its Caritas organisation.
In its communique, Comece said it would
promote a special Prayer for Europe initiative
for Christians in all countries, and do more
to encourage the consciousness of belonging
to one Church in Europe.
It added that it planned to improve its own
working methods under its newly appointed
British General Secretary, Fr Patrick Daly, a
61-year-old priest from Birmingham, who
replaces the Polish Mgr Piotr Mazurkiewicz.
SLOVAKIA: Slovakias
Catholic Church has
condemned a disgraceful
order by the European Unions
governing commission that the
country must remove a
Christian cross from euro coins
commemorating its national
patrons, Sts Cyril and
Methodius, writes Jonathan
Are we really living in a state
of law, or in a totalitarian system
where they dictate which
symbols are acceptable?said
Mgr Jozef Kovacik, spokesman
for the Bratislava-based bishops
conference. In 1988 [the year
before Communist rule ended],
faithful Slovaks risked their lives
by proclaiming the good works
and teachings of these two
saints. This ruling shows a lack of
respect for Europes Christian
The priest was reacting to the
EU commissions statement that
the 2 coins, minted for the
1,150th anniversary of the
saints mission to Greater
Moravia, violated Europes
religious neutralityand could
not carry a cross because they
were legal tender in other
countries too.
The ruling was condemned
by the leading German MEP,
Martin Kastler, as a new
example of anti-Christian
obstructiveness from Brussels.
The Vaticans euro coins carry
a variety of religious symbols.
Pope tells new
cardinals to shun
worldly power
THE CHURCHs new liturgical year will be
ushered in this evening at the Vatican with
Pope Benedict XVI presiding at the
First Vespers of Advent with some 3,000
students from Romes pontifical, state
and private universities, writes
Robert Mickens.
The evening prayer in St Peters
Basilica will be only the first of several
public ceremonies and liturgies for the
Pope in the little more than three weeks
leading up to Christmas.
During this evenings liturgy, students
fromthe University of Rome will consign
an icon of Mary, Sedes Sapientiae, to their
peers from Brazil in preparation for next
summers World Youth Day in Rio de
Pope Benedict will make his annual visit
to Piazza di Spagna next Saturday for the
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a
public holiday in Italy. He is expected to
give anaddress focusing on the needs of the
City of Rome and then place a floral tribute
at a towering statue of the Virgin Mary.
Vespers with students
begins Advent
Bishops urge fairer austerity priorities
1 December 2012
Michael Gunn
EGYPTIAN CHRISTIANS have joined mass
protests against the Islamist Presidents
assumption of sweeping new powers, amid
fears it could be a step towards imposing strict
religious rule. Last Thursdays decree by the
Muslim Brotherhoods Mohamed Mursi
placed him above judicial oversight, allowing
him to issue any decision or measure to pro-
tect the revolution.
Mr Mursi said the move was needed to
break a constitutional deadlock. But critics
contend that his powers now exceed those
held by deposed president Hosni Mubarak
and, already fearful of creeping Islamisation,
are sceptical of his pledge to surrender the
powers when a constitution is ready.
Presidential adviser Samir Marcos, a Coptic
Christian, resigned his post shortly after the
announcement, saying Mr Mursis move was
crippling to [Egypts] democratic transition.
Imad Gad, a Christian former MP and polit-
ical analyst, went further in claiming that
Miri Rubin, Professor of Medieval History and Head of
the School of History, Queen Mary University of London
to New York City on 27 November 2012 for her
St. Robert Southwell, S.J. Lecture
For more information,
visit www.fordham.edu/southwell
or e-mail wabuda@fordham.edu.
Mursis dictatorial powers
alarm Coptic Christians
acceptance of Mr Mursis initiative would
mean Egypt will resemble Iran.
Tens of thousands took to the streets of
Egypts major cities in protest, mainly on
Friday and Tuesday. Prominent Coptic activist
groups were among them but so, too, were
previously quiescent Christians prompted to
demonstrate for the first time.
Mr Mursis move came just days after he
was congratulated by the US for brokering a
Gaza ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. The
timing reignited claims made in the summer
by some prominent Christians of an alleged
long-standing deal with Washington wherein
the Brotherhood would restrain Hamas in
the Gaza Strip but be given a free hand to
pursue its own domestic agenda.
SUDAN: A Sudanese Catholic Church in
the Nuba Mountains is the latest Christian
centre to be hit in the intensifying bombing
campaign of the Sudan Air Force in South
Kordofan state, writes Fredrick Nzwili.
Soviet-era Antonov planes are dropping
bombs in towns across the state, hitting vil-
lages, farms, markets, schools and church
centres. On 21 November, a bomb landed in
the Heiban Catholic Church compound
destroying part of the church building.
(See Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, page 6.)
Royal Commission
tops agenda
AUSTRALIAS BISHOPS approached their
biannual meeting in Sydney this week, ready
to discuss the challenges represented by the
recently announced Royal Commission into
child sexual abuse in religious and other insti-
tutions, writes Mark Brolly.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane
wrote to his clergy: In my nearly 40 years as
a priest, nothing approaches the sexual abuse
crisis as a blow to clergy morale. All of us have
been left shamed, bewildered, angry and dis-
couraged. Every time there is a lull in the
storm, when we seem to be finding a way for-
ward, something blows up to make the storm
rage more fiercely than before. That is what
is happening now with the announcement of
the Royal Commission.
Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, the
President of the bishops conference, con-
firmed that Towards Healing and the
Melbourne Response, the Churchs two sexual
abuse protocols, would be on the agenda.
Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide wrote
that the reality of child abuse is by far the
greatest crisis we have faced as a Church.
Top appointment at
pontifical university
challenged by staff
STUDENTS ANDstaf at the Pontifcal Catholic
University of So Paulo (PUC-SP) have been on
strike since 13 November, in a dispute with the
Grand Chancellor of the University, Cardinal
Odilo Scherer, over the appointment of a new
rector, writes Francis McDonagh.
Cardinal Scherer, the Archbishop of So Paulo,
departed from precedent and appointed as
rector a post roughly equivalent to
vice chancellor - the third-placed candidate on
the list of three presented after an election by
staf and students. The universitys frst choice
was a previous rector, law professor Dirceu de
Mello, but the archbishop chose Professor
Ana-Maria Cintra, from the department of
Portuguese. By custom, the archbishop selects
the frst name on the list. The archbishop is being
accused of violating university autonomy.
Cardinal Scherer has given no reason for his
decision, but it is being suggested that he wishes
to bring the PUC more closely into line with the
Vaticans guidelines for Catholic universities: the
cardinal has previously removed former priests
from posts in the university.
1 December 2012
ost news reports on last weekends
consistory put forth the fanciful
idea that Pope Benedict XVI, by
creating six non-European cardinals, has
significantly reset the geographical balance
of the college that will elect his successor.
That is simply not true. Only the Asians
made a net gain of electors (up two) and are
now even with Africans with 11 each. Europe
with 62 electors (28 from Italy alone)
continues its lopsided domination over the
college, while Latin America will remain
even with 20 electors after next week when
one of its current members reaches 80.
North Americas 14 voting cardinals (11
from the US) and Oceanias lone voter
(Australias Cardinal George Pell) round out
the 119 electors. So geographically, nothing
has really changed. And there were few signs
at last Saturdays consistory ceremony and
the following days Mass both held in St
Peters Basilica that the non-European
cultures represented by the new cardinals
have a place in Rome. Gregorian chant and
prayers exclusively in Latin were the order
and Pope Benedict gave both his homilies
in Italian. This was despite the fact that
English is the major language used by four
of the cardinals, while French and Spanish
are the languages of the other two.
But even more curious about last
weekends red-hat festivities was that the
Pope did not convene the entire College of
Cardinals for a pre-consistory summit. He
has done this the other four times hes
created new cardinals in order to sound out
his senate about urgent pastoral matters
facing the Universal Church. Its not as if
there is any lack of issues that need
discussing at present. Perhaps hell resume
the practice at the next consistory, which
could come at the end of the Year of Faith.
ifty years ago at the Venerable English
College (VEC) here in Rome, the
bishops of England and Wales took the
decision to establish the Catholic Agency
for Oversees Development, better known
simply as Cafod. So it was fitting that the
agencys current staff and some of its major
benefactors should come back to the VEC
to celebrate Cafods fiftieth anniversary.
The event took place on 21 November,
beginning with a Mass in the colleges
chapel. Bishop John Arnold, auxiliary in
Westminster and Cafods chairman,
presided at the liturgy. Afterwards the
British Ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel
Baker, and VEC rector, Mgr Nicholas
Hudson, hosted a pre-dinner reception.
Seminarians in jackets and ties served
wine and prosecco, while other servers
carried around trays of nibbles. Several
Vatican officials were on hand, as were
representatives of Caritas Internationalis (the
confederation to which Cafod belongs) and
a number of British priests and Religious
who are living and working in Rome.
Ambassador Baker told the gathering he
was proud that the British Government
continues to work closely with Cafod and
other Catholic agencies. He said
Government and charities could together
help find the solutions to poverty, hunger
and injustice. Cafods director, Chris Bain,
offered words of thanks to the benefactors
and supporters and showed a presentation
to mark the fiftieth anniversary.
In an article published on the same day in
LOsservatore Romano, he noted that
during its existence Cafod had often taken
take the lead in coordinating major
emergency responses of behalf of the
Caritas network.
Earlier that day he was able to present
Pope Benedict with a book on Cafods work
just after the Wednesday general audience.
erninis world-famous colonnades,
which surround St Peters Square,
have been undergoing a scrubbing
over the past few years. Its been a huge task,
given the 284 columns and 92 pillars that
support porches displaying some 140 statues
and six large papal coats of arms. Although the
colonnades on the left side of the square
have already been completed, the overall
refurbishment work is behind schedule. Begun
in 2009, it was supposed to be finished in mid
2013. And that includes cleaning up the
squares two monumental fountains, its huge
obelisk and a series of nineteenth-century
lamp posts. The Vatican now says the work
will not be completed until 2015. It also
says it needs more money to complete the job.
A number of public and private donors
have chipped in towards the estimated 14
million (11m) cleaning costs so far, but
theyve been inhibited by the economic
crisis. So officials at the Governorate of
Vatican City State have come up with an
idea for making up the shortfall. Just like
their predecessors did while trying to finance
the construction of St Peters Basilica, theyre
looking for money fromthe Catholic faithful
or even the unfaithful, for that matter.
This time theyre offering individuals the
chance to donate by buying a special set of
postage stamps. For 20 (16) one can buy
two 10 (8) Vatican stamps affixed to
an ornate certificate written in Latin.
Buyers have the option of having their name
inscribed on the parchment, too. The
Vaticans numismatic office has designated
some 150,000 for sale and if they are all
bought, some 3m (2.4m) will be raised
for the colonnades cleaning project.
You must admit, its a much better idea
than trying to sell indulgences.
Letter from Rome
Nigerian terrorist attack deplored
Speaking from Rome, Nigerias new car-
dinal deplored the failure to deal with
countrys security situation following last
Sundays attack on St Andrew Military
Protestant church in northern Kaduna
state that left 11 people dead. Cardinal
John Onaiyekan of Abuja said it was par-
ticularly alarming that the attack took
place within one of the highest military
establishments in Nigeria. The Islamic
fundamentalist Boko Haram terrorist
organisation is waging an ongoing cam-
paign of murdering Christians.
API spreads its wings
The Austrian Priests Initiative (API) is
planning an international meeting of
reform movements for 2013 as more ini-
tiatives come to share API concerns, its
head, Mgr Helmut Schller, told the
Austrian daily Der Standard. 2013 will
be the year we go international, he said,
adding that the API had not taken back
its calls for disobedience and for the
ordin ation of women and married men.
Outrage over Congo violence
African Catholic church leaders meeting
in Kinshasa have called on the interna-
tional community to help end conflict in
eastern DR Congo. Presidents of bishops
conferences and national Caritas organ-
isations from 34 countries in Africa signed
a statement expressing outrage at violence
which saw the city of Goma fall to
Rwandan-backed rebels on 20 November.
Polish priest jailed
A Catholic priest from Polands Salesian
order has been jailed for eight years for
embezzling 100 million in unsecured
bank loans using fake documents. The
court said Fr Ryszard Matkowski, director
of the orders youth foundation, had
belonged to an organised criminal group
engaged in high-value extortion.
14 die in Caritas workshop
Fourteen people were killed and eight
injured last weekend in a fire at a workshop
for disabled people in Germany run by the
Catholic Caritas charity. The cause of the
fire in the Black Forest town of Titisee-
Neustadt was initially unclear.
Catholics campaign for abortion
The Catholics for the Right to Decide
(CDD) pro-choice campaigning group
spent US$13m (8m) in Latin America
between 2002 and 2010. CDD has an
annual budget of US$3m (1.8m) from
donations by organisations such as the
Ford, Hewlett and Playboy Foundations,
according to ACI Prensa news agency.
For daily news updates visit
1 December 2012
Go-ahead for first Catholic
universities since Reformation
Christopher Lamb
announced that two Catholic
colleges are to be awarded full
university status. Leeds Trinity
University College and Newman
University College, Birmingham
will become the first Catholic
universities since the Reformation.
In June, the Government
reduced the number of students
needed for an institution to
become a university from 4,000
to 1,000. The Department for
Business, Innovation and Skills
has now recommended to the
Privy Council that 10 colleges be
granted the new status the
biggest batch since 1992.
But St Marys University College
which applied to become a uni-
versity along with Leeds Trinity
and Newman - was not among the
list of new universities.
St Marys, in Twickenham,
south-west London, is the largest
and oldest of the Catholic higher
education institutes and had
expected to be awarded university
status. But it has experienced dif-
ficulties in recent months. This
week, 82 per cent of the local
execu tive of the University College
Union (UCU) passed a motion of
no confidence in the principal,
Professor Philip Esler.
Both Newman and Leeds
Trinity (previously Leeds Trinity
and All Saints) started as teacher
training colleges in the 1960s and
both have degree-awarding powers.
A joint statement issued by the
two colleges said that being
awarded full university status was
particularly important in light of
the recent marketisation of higher
education in the UK and will be a
valuable asset as both institutions
look to develop international links.
Catholic higher-education
institutions, like many other uni-
versities, have struggled to attract
students due to the recent increase
in fees. The difficulties at St Marys
began in August when the Quality
Assurance Agency (QAA), the body
responsible for ensuring standards
in higher education, reported con-
cerns about the way the college ran
a course in clinical hypnosis. In a
statement, the college said the
Government had postponed con-
sideration of its application to
become a university until the new
year as a result of the QAA inves-
tigation. This was done so that an
action plan dealing with the
concerns of the QAA investigation
could be implemented.
St Marys has been proud to
award its own degrees since 2006
and we look forward to 2013, when
we anticipate being granted full
university status, it added.
A number of students and senior
staff at St Marys have expressed
concern about the planned move
to merge the school of theology,
philosophy and history and the
school of culture, communication
and creative arts. Dr Anthony
Towey, the head of the school of
theology, philosophy and history,
who opposed the move, was sus-
pended and later made redundant.
Professor Esler and two col-
leagues also pursued a legal action
against Josephine Siedlecka, the
editor of Independent Catholic
News, to try to force her to reveal
the source of an anonymous letter
published on her website which
they alleged defamed them.
The motion of no confidence in
Professor Esler was passed by the
UCU which claimed that the
reputation of St Marys is being
Bishop Malcolm McMahon, the
chairman of the Catholic
Education Service (CES), said: We
are very concerned that the great
work which St Marys has done in
the past continues to be done.
Cable criticises Goves backing of church school
Cable has attacked the Education
Secretary, Michael Gove, for sup-
porting plans to allow two new
Catholic schools to reserve almost
all its places for those baptised in
the faith, writes Liz Dodd.
Mr Cable complained that Mr
Goves intervention in a judicial
review concerning the establish-
ment of Catholic primary and
secondary schools in Richmond,
south-west London, is in violation
of the 2010 coalition agreement
between the Liberal Democrats
and the Conservatives.
Local campaigners, backed by
the British Humanist Association,
asked for a judicial review into the
decision to allow the schools to be
voluntary-aided, giving them the
right to offer 90 per cent of places
to Catholics if oversubscribed. They
argued that under the Education
Act 2011, councils wanting to
launch a new school must first seek
to set up an academy. New acad-
emies affiliated to a particular faith
must offer half of all places to
pupils of another or no faith if they
are oversubscribed.
Mr Gove intervened on behalf
of the Catholic Church and
Richmond Council to insist that
it is within the law for the new
schools to be voluntary-aided. Mr
Justice Sales agreed and rejected
the campaigners application.
The planned schools are in Mr
Cables Twickenham constituency
and, in a letter to Liberal Democrat
Education Minister David Laws,
he complained that Mr Gove, a
Conservative, had violated the
coalition agreement and asked Mr
Laws to intervene.
Mr Cable told The Guardianon
Wednesday that, as a local MP, he
supported the campaigners efforts
to make the new schools more
In a statement, the Archdiocese
of Westminster said it had proposed
MORE PEOPLEborn after
1970 believe in life after death
than in God, according to new
research, writes Sam Adams.
Nearly half of respondents to
a survey carried out earlier this
year by the University of
Londons Institute of Education
said they believe there is
definitely or probably life
after death, compared to just 31
per cent who said they believe
in God. Researchers obtained
the results by questioning
members of the British Cohort
Study, which monitors the lives
of 9,000 people born in
England, Scotland and Wales in
one particular week in April 1970.
The findings also showed that
12 per cent found themselves
believing in God some of the
time and another 14 per cent
said they believe in a higher
power. The latest survey is the
first to make a distinction
between religious upbringing,
affiliation, practice and belief.
Analysis of the initial 2,200
responses showed that 32 per
cent of interviewees were not
brought up in any religion, while
the same proportion said they
were raised in the Church of
England and 10 per cent were
brought up as Catholics.
However, when asked if they
still belong to a particular
religion, only 21 per cent said
they were members of the
Church of England and 7 per
cent said they were Catholic.
Meanwhile, new research by
academics at Oxford University
has found that Christianity is
not being taught with sufficient
academic rigour in schools.
Religious education classes
on Christianity can be too
stereotypical and lacking in
intellectual development, said
Dr Nigel Fancourt.
The researchers also found
that some teachers are nervous
about tackling Christianity in
case it is considered evangelising.
Belief in the
afterlife more
common than
faith in God
(Continued on page 38.)
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big issues onThe Tablet blog at
Christopher Lamb
MONEY SAVED from cutting aid to India will
be redirected to poorer countries, the
International Development Secretary has
In an interview with The Tablet Justine
Greening explained: We will complete the
short-term projects which are already under
way in India but we will make no new financial
aid grants. This means spending 200 million
less before 2015, which will give more
flexibility to add to our programmes in
lower-income countries.
There has been criticism of the Government
giving aid to India, given the rapid growth in
the latters economy. Ms Greening, who was
appointed Secretary of State for International
Development (DFID) in September, defended
the planned cut by saying that the Indian
Government had spent 50 billion on health
and education programmes last year.
Since taking over DFID, Ms Greening has
carried out an audit of the department and
has introduced new financial controls. She
said that Cafods funding from DFID, which
is 15 per cent of the charitys income, could
not be guaranteed. But she stressed that the
Catholic aid agency is a valuable partner
and expected to work with it in the long-term
Ms Greening played tribute to Cafod and
the Church for their work with the worlds
poorest, and described the sum of 9.4m
raised by Cafods Lent Appeal as incredible
(the Government matched the figure, bringing
the total to more than 18m).
The Catholic Church not only gives
humanitarian help in times of disaster but
also provides services such as health and
education in some of the most troubled parts
of the world, Ms Greening said.
(See full interview on pages 4-5.)
1 December 2012
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The Bishop of Shrewsbury has
warned that the Christian
foundations of British society
are facing unprecedented
challenge, writes Sam Adams.
Bishop Mark Davies also
lamented the fact that, despite a
majority of people calling
themselves Christian, few
attend church or share a living
In a pastoral letter to be read
out in churches across the
diocese tomorrow, the First
Sunday of Advent, he said: We
see the Christian foundations of
our society being challenged as
never before, whether on
questions concerning the
sanctity of human life or the
very identity of marriage.
Aid cut from
India to help
poorer states
Concern about anti-Catholic crimes
A majority of religious hate crimes
recorded in Scotland were against
Catholics, according to new government
figures. Of the 876 cases in 2011-12 an
increase of 26 per cent 60 per cent
related to Catholics. The Archbishop of
Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, said he was sad-
dened by the findings.
New bishop announced
Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Canon
William Crean as the new Bishop of
Cloyne. The bishop-elect pledged to work
for healing and new hope for victims of
abuse and their families. A judicial inquiry
published last July found that the diocese
had mishandled allegations of clerical
abuse and criticised the former bishop,
John Magee, a private secretary to three
Midnight Mass schedule
BBC1 will televise Midnight Mass from
St Annes Cathedral, Leeds. As Leeds is
without a bishop, Mgr Philip Moger, the
dean, will celebrate. On Christmas Day,
Mass from the Metropolitan Cathedral
of Christ the King in Liverpool, celebrated
by Archbishop Patrick Kelly, will be on
BBC Radio 4.
In this country for the past three years we
have had the Family Fast Day, organised
by the National Board of Catholic Women
and held every year on the Ember Friday
in Lent. Now it has been decided to estab-
lish a fund on a wider basis, which will
operate the whole year round and which
is designed to help projects for the relief
of urgent material and social needs in
various parts of the world. It is to be called
the Catholic Fund for Overseas
Development, and its establishment has
now been given the formal approval of the
English and Welsh hierarchies. Bishop
Grant, auxiliary of Northampton, has been
appointed chairman of the fund, and the
vice chairman and administrator is to be
Sir Hugh Ellis-Rees, the former United
Kingdom Ambassador to OEEC [the
Organisation for European Economic Co-
operation]. Assisting them will be a
committee made up of representatives from
the seven Catholic organisations affiliated
to the UK Committee of the Freedom from
Hunger Campaign The last thing that
is desired in the establishment of this new
fund is any reduction in Catholic support
for local efforts associated with the Freedom
from Hunger campaign. The idea is to
enable Catholics to support special Catholic
initiatives in countries where such help is
needed, and thus to extend the scope of
the assistance they have been giving over
the last three years.
The Tablet, 1 December 1962
The National Commission on De -
population in France was opened on
Saturday by M. Klotz, Minister of Finance.
He called attention to the gravity of the
situation, and mentioned that in 1910 the
excess of births over deaths in France was
only 71,418, while in Germany it was
879,113, in Austria-Hungary 573,520, in
Great Britain 413,779, and in Italy 451,771.
Indeed, in the years 1906 and 1911, the
number of deaths in France, although
gradually diminishing, had exceeded the
number of births
M. Klotz evidently believes that money
is at the bottom of the evil, and that money
is the only remedy. He explained that the
commission would also examine the pos-
sibility of ameliorating the financial position
of the parents of large families. There were
difficulties in the way of a reduction of tax-
ation in the case of such parents but he
thought that the Government could
favour the parents of large families in
appointments to petty public offices, and
could help the children by giving them
preference in the allocation of school
The Tablet, 30 November 1912
1 December 2012
a voluntary-aided secondary school in response
to demand from the Catholic community.
Three hundred Catholic children leave our
primary schools in Richmond each year and
are finding it increasingly difficult to find a
place in a Catholic secondary school in neigh-
bouring boroughs. For that reason, the new
school will give priority to Catholics if the 150
places are oversubscribed.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Education
Services (CES) 2012 census of Catholic
schools showed a continuing increase in the
number of vacancies for Catholic head
teachers and a small decline in the
percentage of Catholic pupils and teachers.
The census also showed that Catholic
schools educate more children from ethnic
minorities than the national average and more
pupils from deprived areas. At the same time
they consistently outperform other schools,
particularly in the primary sector.
Bishop Malcolm McMahon, chairman of
the CES, said: I think we should be very proud
of the fact that we are drawing children from
very diverse backgrounds. It is the traditional
work of the Church to educate and to serve
the poor, and thats what weve always done.
(To see the statistics in full, visit
Nichols highlights plight
of elderly and disabled
CHURCH WORKERShave a vital role to play
in highlighting the shortcomings in how
Britain cares for older and disabled people,
the Archbishop of Westminster told a parlia-
mentary reception on Wednesday, writes
Elena Curti.
Speaking at the event organised by the
Catholic Social Action Network (CSAN),
Archbishop Vincent Nichols said that care
for the elderly and disabled was a fundamental
test of any civilised society.
I applaud the efforts under way from many
quarters to address shortcomings in the care
system, and encourage all those involved in
this urgent and vital process, he said.
Welcoming the archbishops remarks,
Simon Gillespie, chairman of the Care and
Support Alliance, said: As our society ages
and people live longer with long-term con-
ditions, more and more older and disabled
people, and carers supporting them, arent
getting the support they need. We need all
parts of society and all political parties to
come together and take urgent action to tackle
what is becoming one of the biggest public
policy challenges of our generation.
The chief executive of CSAN, Helen OBrien,
pledged to continue to campaign for the dis-
abled and older people.
As the Care and Support Bill proceeds
through Parliament, we are committed to
working with parliamentarians, NGOs [non-
governmental organisations] and other faith
groups to ensure that those who do not cur-
rently receive the support they require, are
not left to suffer in silence, she said.
The Archbishop of Westminster said the
legacy of the 85 Martyrs of England and Wales
beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1987 is still
with us today. He made his remarks on
Tuesday at a Mass at Westminster Cathedral
to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the
martyrs beatification. He said England is still
blessed with the example and fruit of the
loving cooperation between priests and
THE NEWBishop of Chichester has said that
the majority of traditional Anglo-Catholics
will fight to stay in the Church of England,
writes Christopher Lamb.
Bishop Martin Warner, an Anglo-Catholic
whose new diocese has a strong connection
with that tradition, said that he did not foresee
large departures to the Roman Catholic
Church on the horizon.
The bishop, who was enthroned last Sunday,
added that while individuals would become
Catholics he was unsure whether they would
join the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of
Walsingham, the structure set up by Pope
Benedict XVI for Anglicans wishing to
become Catholics while retaining aspects of
their identity.
I think the desire is to find a way to stay
and those [Anglo-Catholics] that were content
to move have generally done so, he told The
Tablet. More will [become Catholics],
whether they will move into the ordinariate
or not I dont know. But Anglo-Catholics at
the moment are desirous of finding a way to
A spokesman for the ordinariate said that
while it was never right to become a Catholic
on the basis of malcontent with the Church
of England, women bishops would practically
remove chances of full communion between
the Churches.
The bishop said that unless Anglo-Catholics
were expelled from the Church of England
they will continue to look for a way of living
within this Church.
Last week proposals to pass legislation
paving the way for the first women bishops
failed to acquire the necessary majority at the
Church of Englands General Synod.
(See Mark Chapman, page 19.)
Most Anglo-Catholics to remain Anglican
(Continued from page 36.)
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1 December 2012
Volume 266 No. 8975 ISSN: 0039 8837
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Sunday 2 December:
First Sunday of Advent (Year C)
Monday 3 December:
St Francis Xavier, Priest
Tuesday 4 December:
Advent feria or St John Damascene,
Priest & Doctor
Wednesday 5 December:
Advent feria
Thursday 6 December:
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Friday 7 December:
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Saturday 8 December:
Immaculate Conception of the
Blessed Virgin Mary
Sunday 9 December:
Second Sunday of Advent
9 770039 883196
For the Extraordinary Form calendar go to
www.lms.org.uk and look under Find a Mass
WITH EVERY trudging
step across the fields above
our village, I felt more
like Noah. To the right,
waters were rising where
the winter wheat had been; to the left, the
ploughed field, too sodden in September to be
sown, was a delta of brown rivulets. In the dis-
tance, the sea seemed to be creeping over the
Vale of York.
In fact, it was just the kind of weather that
the pair of willow saplings Id brought out to
plant were made for. How fitting that this years
National Tree Planting Week coincides with
the most widespread floods in memory because
it is trees that are our best flood defence. Before
modern land exiled our floodplain willows,
Glimpses of Eden
alders and the majestic black poplars, they were
the barriers soaking up excess water and slow-
ing the floods flow. Cutting them all down has
been like driving without a safety belt. The wider
challenges and opportunities of climate change
can, of course, no longer be avoided; but the
time has also come for the more specific chal-
lenge of localised flooding.
We could start by having fewer cars and more
carrs a carr being the now largely obsolete
term for marshy land where flood waters are
captured, stored and slowly turned into trees.
It began to rain again, as I prepared the ground
for my saplings. Red with life, the young wil-
lows slipped into the sodden earth like a pair
of ducklings.
Jonathan Tulloch
Nuts for nutrition
THE WORD super used to be a camp
expression of very good I say, thats a jolly
super idea. But used as a prefix today super
lends a much greater emphasis.
Attached to food, super activates the
cynic in me. Superfoods and there are many
promoted as such are the supposed elixirs
of life. Trade associations representing the
growers of blackcurrants and pomegranates;
makers of fish oil supplements or manufac-
turers of yoghurts containing good bacteria
have us believe the nutrients in these foods
can restore everything from hair loss to
libido, or may prevent cancer, acne and even
make your children intelligent.
Yet the foods that do the most good are none
of these. The real superfoods are humble
wholefoods complex carbohydrates like
beans, pulses, legumes, grains and nuts. They
serve a dual purpose if eaten in place of refined
carbohydrates of helping the overweight to shed
pounds and skinny people to gain them. Put
simply the body burns wholefoods slowly, keep-
ing energy levels high while reaping the
rewards of their many nutrients. They also tend
to be cheap.
Peanuts, a legume, are typical of real
superfoods. It is recommended that those try-
ing to lose weight benefit from eating peanuts
regularly, while they are also used in a gen-
uine, life-giving food for malnourished people
in the developing world. That is why
Plumpynut, a compound liquid food invented
by the French manufacturer Nutriset, features
in Cafods 2012 Advent Appeal. Not only has
it been proved to help dangerously underfed
children gain weight swiftly and safely, it comes
ready made and does not, like so many com-
pound foods, need to be mixed with clean water
something that is scarce in famine areas. As
a result, famine relief agencies have found that
considerably fewer staff are needed to treat
great numbers of people, allowing them to
spread their efforts wider and more effectively.
This does make one pause before reaching for
that expensively packaged superfood.
Gado gado is a satisfying way to enjoy the
unassuming peanut. The recipe for the dress-
ing, sambal kacang, is from Sri Owens
Indonesian Food (Pavilion Books).
Serves 4
Make a big heap of steamed vegetables:
spring greens, broccoli, green beans, carrots,
cauliflower; add lettuce, boiled potato in its
skin, hard-boiled egg, cucumber and chopped
shallots fried until crisp.
For the sauce:
115ml groundnut oil
225g unsalted peanuts
2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
4 shallots
tsp chilli powder
tsp brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
450ml water
Juice of half a lemon
Heat the oil in a pan and stir fry the peanuts.
Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon, cool
and grind to a rough powder. Fry the garlic
and shallots in 1 tablespoon of the leftover oil,
add the chilli, sugar, soy and then the ground
peanuts and the water. Simmer for 8-10 min-
utes then add the lemon juice. Serve cool, over
the vegetables.
To learn more about Cafods Advent 2012
appeal visit www.cafod.org.uk/Give/Advent-