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the international 27 july 2019 £3.

60

tablet
catholic weekly www.thetablet.co.uk Est. 1840

Staging the Bible


Mark Lawson welcomes the revival of two great musicals
Peter Hennessy and Andrew Pierce consider Boris Johnson • Peter Stanford interviews Bear Grylls
Stephen Bullivant wonders where all the Christians have gone • Adrian Pabst excoriates both liberals and populists
Shelagh Fogarty laments the loss of common ground • Kirsty Jane Falconer learns from Philo of Alexandria

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THE TABLET
THE INTERNATIONAL
CATHOLIC WEEKLY
FOUNDED IN 1840

B
PRIME MINISTER oris Johnson, the new Prime Minister of the nationalism and his “do or die” approach to Brexit is
BORIS JOHNSON United Kingdom, has begun well and more a threat to the unity of the nation than an
deserves a fair wind as he constructs his team opportunity to heal divisions. A no-deal Brexit is
A SHORT and his policy platform. He has said he is a
One Nation Conservative. He described his
precisely what the Scottish National Party has been
quietly praying for, as it is likely to so alienate Scottish
PERIOD OF philosophy, in his acceptance speech on Tuesday, as
striving to reconcile looking after oneself and one’s
voters that they may well vote for independence next
time they are asked. Some polls suggest a majority of
GRACE FOR family with “the equally noble intention to share, and
look after the poorest and neediest, and to build a
UK voters now oppose Britain leaving the EU, and
that has emerged as Labour’s position. How long can
NEW P.M. great society”. His immediate aim as Prime Minister,
he reminded us, was to “deliver Brexit, unite the
Mr Johnson defy current public opinion in defence of
a referendum result more than three years old?
nation and defeat Jeremy Corbyn”. Even more to the point, how can he reconcile that
He has made rash promises about delivering Brexit part of the nation which believes his “Brexit or bust”
by the end of October “come what may” including, if approach is misconceived? And to what extent does he
necessary, leaving the EU without any agreement in recognise the groundswell of discontent with
place. There is no majority in Parliament for that, so establishment and elitist figures like himself that lay
he has to find some way to outmanoeuvre it. Instead behind the 2016 result, especially in poorer working
he is inclined to rely on stimulating an optimistic, class constituencies in the Midlands and the North?
“can-do” spirit by confident rhetoric and exciting One Nation Conservatism has a lot of work to do.
imagery. Yet Mr Johnson has already window-dressed As for defeating Jeremy Corbyn, however, there are
his pro-Brexit credentials by saying that every many Labour MPs and party members who would be
minister in his Government will have to sign up to delighted to see the end of the current leadership and
leaving on 31 October, with or without a deal. That a Johnson win in a general election might deliver that.
means an exclusively pro-Brexit government, and He is likely the only Tory leader who could confidently
most leading Brexiteers are wedded to tax cutting, face such a contest. Whether it would cement him in
shrinking the state and the liberation of market forces power is another matter. So Mr Johnson deserves a
from regulation. Such a resurgence of Thatcherite good launch, even though there are storm clouds
neo-liberalism will be difficult to reconcile with One waiting on the horizon which may well sink him. Only
Nation Conservatism. one thing can be guaranteed: it will be colourful.
Mr Johnson’s rise to power on the back of English Britain’s new Prime Minister is no ordinary politician.

I
SEA OF FAITH t seems Britain has taken a sharp turn away relies on the authority of the Church for its credibility:
WITHDRAWS from religious faith over the past three decades, if that authority is weakened, faith loses one of its
according to the latest report from the British fundamental pillars. It is significant that churches
WILL ARMIES Social Attitudes Survey. While some of its
analysis is useful, it still leaves many more questions
that rely more heavily on the other fundamental pillar,
Scripture, are doing rather better. The Evangelical
CLASH BY than answers. Without at least some of those answers,
it is difficult for religious organisations to know
churches and independent churches are, to a degree,
bucking the trend.
NIGHT IN A whether these trends towards a totally secular society
are irreversible.
The Catholic Church, even more than Anglicanism,
has itself to blame for much of its collapse of authority.
SECULAR UK? Some of the most frequently cited explanations are
only partly sustainable, according to Stephen
Not only has its reputation and credibility been
gravely damaged by the scandal of child abuse, but its
Bullivant of St Mary’s University, writing in The Tablet teaching that all same-sex relationships are sinful and
today. The Church of England’s demographic crisis is its opposition to women in the priesthood look
more severe than that of the Catholic Church, whose reactionary rather than counter-cultural. That is not
membership is also falling, but less steeply. to say its teachings are wrong, but it has not been able
Anglicanism has to make a major adjustment into to make its case convincingly. The Catholic Church’s
being a minority faith, something the Catholic Church lamentable treatment of women is one aspect of this.
is already familiar with. The issue of church Yet the Church of England’s efforts to keep pace
establishment in England is bound to be raised, with secular trends have not attracted an increased
though to relinquish it would represent a serious following, though it’s impossible to know if its decline
administrative upheaval. But it certainly will be asked: would have been even more severe if it had resisted
why should the incoming Prime Minister of the change. It is possible that the historical credentials of
United Kingdom, for instance, have any say in the the Church of England as the traditional “religion of
appointment of Anglican bishops, and why should the English” have just worn thin in the modern age.
some of those bishops have an automatic right to sit in These are hard questions. Looking at them from the
the House of Lords? perspective of the interests of society rather than just
The decline of religious faith is not by and large a of organised religion, the really troubling question is
move to anti-religion, but to indifference. In both the this: does the decline in faith inevitably lead also to a
Catholic and Anglican cases, many young people, even decline in hope and charity? Without those moral
those brought up by religiously practising parents, are pillars derived from faith, could it be the fate of British
unwilling to accept the right of the Church to be a society to end up, somewhere in the future as, in
teacher of eternal truth. Christian doctrine partly Thomas Hobbes’ phrase, “a war of all against all”?

2 | THE TABLET | 27 JULY 2019


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PHOTO: SYRIAN PRESIDENCY’S FACEBOOK PAGE

President Assad of Syria


25 takes delivery of a letter
from Pope Francis

COLUMN A R T S / PA G E 1 9
CONTENTS Musicals
27 JULY 2019 // VOL 273 NO. 9312
Joseph and
the Amazing
F E AT U R E S Technicolor
Dreamcoat; Jesus
4 / Where have all the Christians gone? Christ Superstar
Church leaders often say that the decline in those identifying as Christian belies an MARK LAWSON
resilience of belief. That is a myth, says a Catholic sociologist / BY STEPHEN BULLIVANT
Christopher
Howse’s Exhibition
6 / The Tablet interview: Bear Grylls Olafur Eliasson
Notebook
The adventurer and chief scout believes bravery comes not through fearlessness JOANNA MOORHEAD
‘Providence
but by finding a streak of steel from beyond ourselves / BY PETER STANFORD
ordains the Television
progress of 8 / Let the bishops take on Boris Bauhaus Spirit
the universal Since Boris Johnson began his campaign to lead the Conservative Party, there has LUCY LETHBRIDGE
chess game’ / 5 been little scrutiny by the Church of his fitness for office / BY ANDREW PIERCE
Radio
Peter Hennessy’s 10 / A further warning from history The Angels
The Lion and When Caligula succeeded Augustus, a Jewish leader faced a timeless challenge: of the Bayou
the Unicorn how does a community deal with a powerful tyrant? / BY KIRSTY JANE FALCONER D.J. TAYLOR
‘As never before
Civil Servants must 12 / The ugly sisters of modern politics
fulfil their duty Insurgent populists on both the Left and the Right and a new generation of
of speaking truth intolerant liberals are all converging in a dangerous direction / BY ADRIAN PABST
unto power’ / 9
B O O K S / PA G E 2 2
Shelagh Fogarty Anthony Gardner
‘In almost every The Making of
discussion, I come Poetry: Coleridge,
up against total NEWS the Wordsworths
resistance to and their Year
seeking common 24 / The Church in the World / News briefing of Marvels
ADAM NICOLSON
ground’ / 11 25 / Cardinals take letter from Francis to Assad
27 / View from Rome Rose Gamble
REGULARS 28 / News from Britain and Ireland / News briefing Two Weeks in
Word from November
the Cloisters 15
29 / Irish don’t want hard border, says new bishop DOUGLAS ROGERS
Puzzles 15
Morag MacInnes
Letters 17
Jailbirds
The Living Spirit 18 COVER: SAMUEL BUTTERY AS HEROD IN JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR AT THE BARBICAN THEATRE; PHOTO BY JOHAN PERSSON MIM SKINNER

27 JULY 2019 | THE TABLET | 3


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FEATURES / Britain’s loss of belief

Faced with statistics showing the decline in those identifying as Christian, church leaders often say that
they belie an underlying resilience of religious belief. That is a myth, argues a leading Catholic sociologist
of religion, adding that it is time to face up to the parlous state of a nation’s faith / By STEPHEN BULLIVANT

Where have all the


Church of England or Anglican fell from 40
per cent in 1983 to 22 per cent in 2008 to 12
per cent in 2018. Catholicism fared less badly,
the numbers falling from 10 per cent in 1983

Christians gone?
to 9 per cent in 2008 and then down to 7 per
cent last year. One increase over the period
was among non-denominational Christians,
up from 3 per cent in 1983 to 13 per cent last
year. Meanwhile, the non-Christian religious
proportion of the population – two-thirds of
whom are Muslim – are approaching double

“I
PHOTO: PA figures: 9 per cent, up from 2 per cent in 1983.
N THIS WORLD nothing can be
said to be certain, except death THE SURVEY report finds the decline
and taxes,” wrote Benjamin “generational”. Two non-religious parents
Franklin in an oft-quoted letter of successfully transmit their lack of religion.
1789. It is a good line, but he missed one thing Two religious parents have roughly a 50 per
out. “Death, taxes, and dispiriting religion cent chance of passing on the faith. One
statistics from the British Social Attitudes religious parent does only half as well as two
survey” may not quite have the same ring to together. None of this will come as any surprise
it. But as any sociologist of religion or church to Tablet readers. The figures don’t change
professional of the past 35 years could tell much from year to year. Christians (slightly)
you, they come around as regularly as a decrease; Nones and non-Christians (slightly)
lacklustre sermon on Trinity Sunday. increase. ’Twas ever thus, at least during my
This year, in fact, we have been given a lifetime. Business as usual.
special treat. Every 10 years, the BSA survey Over these decades, we Christians have
includes an especially detailed battery of come up with some comforting myths. These
religion questions. Last year was just such a may well be anchored, as all good myths are,
jubilee, and the headline findings were made Christianity in Britain is in a parlous state on some truths. But they are myths all the
available last week. same, as the BSA statistics (plus plenty of
Where to begin? At the most basic level of other kinds of evidence, for those with eyes
analysis, it is a familiar story. The number of as the default setting for most people: 52 per to see) brutally show.
people identifying as Christians has declined cent now (the third year it has been over 50 Myth number one: the decline in the num-
again: 38 per cent this time, from 66 per cent per cent), from 31 per cent in 1983. ber of people picking Christian labels, and
in 1983. “No religion” is cementing its status The number of Britons identifying as the rise of the Nones, is simply due to those
who are Christian-in-name-only no longer
identifying as such.

THIS IS CERTAINLY true, to a degree: nominal


a tabl et even t belonging has certainly fallen. Few feel under
any pressure to say they are Methodists when

An evening with they aren’t, really. But so too have the numbers
of practising (church-attending and/or

Chris Patten praying) Christians. Furthermore, a large


proportion of recent religious change is due
to demographic turnover: every year, a few
MONDAY 23 SEPTEMBER 2019 per cent of older, more-Christian-than-average
17.45 – 20.50 Britons die off, and a few per cent more non-
religious teenagers hit adulthood. This effect
Join us at the historic Farm Street Church
in Mayfair for an evening of discussion and
is most striking in the Church of England:
insights into key global political events 33 per cent of Britons aged 75 and over
identify as Anglicans, compared to just 1 per
  
   cent of the 18-24s – a breathtaking decline.
Book sales and signings But the general trend is evident elsewhere too.
Call 020 8748 8484 or visit The Tablet website
Myth number two: OK, then, but all these
www.thetablet.co.uk/events for more increasingly non-practising, non-affiliating
information. Britons aren’t really as secular as the statistics
imply. To adapt the sociologist Grace Davie’s
famous phrase: they “believe” but they do not
“belong”.
Once again, there is some truth here:
though far less of it than there was near-30
years ago, when Davie first coined the term.
The majority of even avowedly non-religious
Britons are probably not thorough-going

4 | THE TABLET | 27 JULY 2019 For more features, news, analysis and comment, visit www.thetablet.co.uk
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CHRISTOPHER HOWSE’S NOTEBOOK

materialists or secularists, and there is plenty


of at least intermittent evidence for what one
might call vestigial religiosity – some of it
Providence ordains
with a Christian flavour. But this does not
necessarily add up to very much. The survey
the progress of the
showed that only 23 per cent of British adults
believe that “there is a God who concerns
himself with every being personally”. More
universal chess game
worryingly for the Churches, only 40 per cent
of self-identified Christians affirm even so
minimal a simulacrum of orthodox theology. AS I WAS taking the and Pseudodoxia Epidemica – must
These two comforting stories church leaders washing out of the have meant little to readers who had
sometimes tell themselves are not the only machine, Tom Conti was never seen copies and could never
myths about religious belief in Britian today. on the wireless in the afford to buy them. Yet I was glad to see
Catholics have several additional myths of person of Giorgio Vasari Ian Patterson earlier this month
their own. telling the story of Giotto making his referring to her article when he wrote
Myth number three: once a Catholic, always flawless “O” by way of an audition for in the London Review of Books about
a Catholic. It stays in your very bones, so that decorating St Peter’s. having to get rid of thousands of books.
even those who no longer believe are not just I hope I am not spoiling next week’s A bookseller turned Cambridge
atheists but Catholic atheists. Well, that was episode by mentioning that Giotto got academic, he had much to lose.
indeed true for many once-Catholics brought the gig, and finished a huge mosaic of Feelings of misery and fear that welled
up a generation or two ago. But you need a the barque of Peter (the Navicella) in up in the process “may have been tied
serious dose of left-footedness in childhood time for the Holy Year of 1300. up with thoughts of death”, he
to make you a “lifer”, and the kinds of Disappointingly, two centuries later, it conjectured.
subcultural worlds that used to ingrain tribal was decided to rebuild St Peter’s. Today I must get rid of lots of my own
Catholicism by osmosis had mostly we look for Giotto’s work elsewhere. books, though nothing like his
disappeared a good half-century ago. I was thinking about this because I’ve collection or Rose Macaulay’s. It is
Myth number four: it is natural for young just been to Somerset to visit Annie definitely an analogue of dying, as
people to lose interest in their teens and Fewlass. In the 1970s and 1980s she though these objects, which our culture
twenties, but they all come back to the Church made astonishing garments of intricate licenses us to hoard, were an extension
when they get married and settle down. knitted panels enriched with beading of our bodies.
and embroidery. It’s not my world, but I
QUITE APART FROM the declining popularity can see that they are works of art. IN 1969, I discover, Pope Paul VI put a
of doing either – marrying and settling down, Several are in the V&A. different slant on the loss of that
I mean – at least in any permanent sense, it We talked a bit about Soho, because mosaic by Giotto. St Catherine of
is simply not true that cradle Catholics do she is archiving the photographic work Siena during her visits to Rome (when
typically return. Sure, some do – every church of David Cripps, to whom she was very the Church was in a terrible mess, as it
has a few. But they are the exception – and close until his death in 2013. Among was in a way in 1300, and certainly
an ever more exceptional one. his pictures are some atmospheric was in Vasari’s day) often
If all this sounds bleak, well, good. It should studies of mostly forgotten figures contemplated his image of St Peter
do. The statistics make clear that Christianity drinking in the French pub or the sinking in the waves.
in Britain is in a parlous state. The fact that Coach and Horses in the 1980s, and I On the afternoon of 28 January 1380,
this shift – already well under way when the was able to supply a few of their names. as she prayed, it seemed to Catherine
BSA began, I might add – has come about Though several of his photographs are “that Jesus stepped out of the mosaic
gradually, by a mere percentage point or two in the National Portrait Gallery, it is for and came up to her, placing the barque
each year, has insulated us from the full force photographs of objects, most famously on her weak shoulders; the heavy,
of this fact. No one year has been catastrophic. flowers, that Cripps is admired. If you storm-tossed barque of the Church;
But 35 “meh” years, each only a tiny bit worse think photographing still objects is and Catherine, collapsing under the
than the last, sure as hell add up. easy, I suspect you haven’t tried weight, fell to the ground unconscious”.
So where do we go from here? In all honesty, properly. Cripps “showed a much more She died a few weeks later, aged 33.
nowhere fast. Slow, long-term trends are, like particular appreciation of each Her life’s ambition of mending the
oil tankers, notoriously hard to turn around. individual object than I had ever seen schism between rival claimants to the
It also takes a lot of time and effort before before”, said a champion of his from the papacy had come to nothing.
one starts to see any results, and even then – 1970s, Bruce Bernard. “Historically, Catherine’s sacrifice
at first – only small ones. So, although clothes are notoriously seemed to fail,” Pope Paul remarked.
There are, as it happens, some (really) ephemeral and photographs are easily “But who can say that burning love of
realistic reasons for hope, at least for British lost, something of the work of Annie hers disappeared in vain?” One can’t
Catholicism (I make no promises about Fewlass and David Cripps is, I’m glad to possibly tell from the evidence, only by
Christianity in toto). Exploring and explaining say, preserved by museums by way of confidence that God knows what he’s
them is, in fact, one of my and several public remembrance. doing. It seems to me that “legacy” is far
colleagues’ jobs over the next couple of years. less likely to be a work of art or a pile of
We will keep you posted. ROSE MACAULAY lost all her books books than untraceable consequences
when her house was destroyed in the of an individual vocation. Providence
Stephen Bullivant is professor of theology Blitz. She wrote about it in The ordains the progress of
and the sociology of religion at St Mary’s Spectator in 1941, and her piece was the universal chess
University, London, and director of the republished in 1989 as the first in a game; we are
Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society. series of the best writing from the irreplaceable for a spell
His latest book, Mass Exodus: Catholic magazine. I was working for The as the pieces.
Disaffiliation in Britain and America since Spectator at the time and I thought it
Vatican II, is published by Oxford University an odd choice. The long list of lost Christopher Howse is an assistant editor
Press at £25 (Tablet price £22.50). volumes – Purchas and Poly-Olbion of The Daily Telegraph.

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FEATURES / The Tablet interview


PHOTO COURTESY BEAR GRYLLS VENTURES
suggestion on a bench in London’s Hyde Park
BEAR GRYLLS next to a fountain topped by a statue of Diana,
the goddess of hunting – has “been a lifetime’s
journey that is still continuing”. Though as
affable and direct as his TV persona would
suggest, Grylls is also visibly anxious about
our chat. Talking about God publicly, he con-
fesses, is something he does very reluctantly
for fear of sounding “preachy”. “And no one
wants to be preached at. I don’t want to be
preached at. This is a really quiet book.”
His childhood experience of religion, in its
traditional and institutional form, was not a
happy one. He grew up on the Isle of Wight,
where his former Royal Marine commando-
turned-Tory MP father, Sir Michael, sparked
an early interest in the great outdoors by
taking his boy climbing sea cliffs. What formal
religion there was, however, came at Eton in
the school chapel, and he didn’t take to it.

“EVERYTHING WAS liturgical and cassocks


and Latin,” he remembers, “and ‘You’re in
trouble because you’re late’. It was distant and
cold and gave a false impression that God is
distant and cold. The heart of Christ’s message
was about freedom and fun and light and love
and forgiveness and risk-taking, always messy.
But my experience as a child was of it being
too neat.”
He started looking for a type of faith that
encompassed that messiness in his late teens,
the search gathering momentum after he
got married, in 2000, to Shara, mother of
his three sons: Marmaduke, Huckleberry
and Jesse (the taste for unusual names was
not inherited from his parents, who baptised
him Edward Michael, but from his older
sister who called him Bear from the outset,
and it stuck).
The newly-weds were living on a barge on
the Thames in London when Grylls got
involved with a group of friends who met
regularly to play squash. Where college chapel
had failed, squash succeeded in bringing him

Enduring faith to God.


“It was brilliant, not a parody but a reflec-
tion of how ‘church’ should be, because there
were 10 of us – me, a vicar, a second-hand
car dealer, a gay antiques dealer, a policeman,
The celebrated adventurer and chief scout tells Peter Stanford that a soldier, and a nightclub owner. We were
totally different, but we’d meet every day at
bravery comes not through fearlessness but, when the going gets three o’clock and we always had each other’s
tough, by finding a streak of steel that comes from beyond ourselves backs in our lives.”

THE CLERIC in question was Nicky Gumbel,

F
developer of the Alpha Course, and subse-
ALLING CHURCH attendance been a fully-fledged member of any church.” quently vicar of Holy Trinity, Brompton, in
figures are regularly trotted out as And yet he is absolutely a man of faith. London, which counts among its alumni
incontrovertible evidence of the Witness his new book, Soul Fuel: A Daily Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
decline and fall of faith in these Devotional, a collection of 365 prayerful Grylls and Gumbel (and Gumbel’s wife, Pippa)
islands, but the reality is more complex. meditations which, as he says in the remain close friends to this day.
As Bear Grylls, the adventurer and TV introduction, answer one question he is often “I go to HTB a few times during the year,”
presenter, ably demonstrates. asked by fans, namely: where do you find the he says, “mainly to have lunch with Nicky
This ex-SAS serviceman, who had climbed courage/strength/resilience to survive in before or after. Having said that, I have
Everest by the age of 23 before finding fame inhospitable deserts, mountains and castaway observed his church from the sidelines for 20
here and in the United States fronting extreme islands? “Any strength I do have,” he says, years, and I think he runs an outward-facing,
endurance shows such as Born Survivor and “comes when I am on my own, on my knees. lovely church, full of love, accepting.”
The Island is, he confesses, not a fixture in It comes from taking time to be still with God.” There have been plenty of criticisms of HTB
the pews. Unravelling religion from faith, explains – for being a church-within-a-church in
“I don’t feel,” he says, “that I have ever the 45-year-old, when we meet – at his Anglicanism, and for attracting mainly well-

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heeled young people. “All places have flaws,” then emailing thoughts and some feeling and lots of people. As I have got older, my fears
Grylls counters, “but Nicky’s leadership is some struggles. Just short, 10 minutes.” have increased a lot, and I’ve learnt two things
rooted in humility. You see some church He is making it sound like a small thing – – one, that that is OK, and two, that being
leaders and it becomes all about them, and and Grylls is not a man who takes himself or brave isn’t the absence of fear.”
their wealth, their buildings, if you’re this or his fame seriously (as we talk, he seems He feels braver, he says, when he utters a
that. Nicky has never been like that.” oblivious to the park users who wander past prayer, and he describes fear as like a muscle.
the fountain, and then stop and stare and “I have learnt always to move towards it. I do
GRYLLS’ OWN down-to-earth, no-frills, no- point at him) – but that daily conversation feel that self-confidence is one of the great
ties approach to faith, though, makes it about God is so important to him that he illusions of modern times because if you meet
impossible for him to confine himself to any keeps it up even when he is travelling and someone who says, ‘I have masses of self-
one church or denomination. “My mission working in remote parts of the world. “We do confidence’, invariably they are a cocky bore
for Soul Fuel is that I have to have the con- it absolutely every single day. If I know I am and it is not very real. The bravest people I
fidence to be able to stand up and read it out of communication for a few days, I’ll bank have known have often been the humblest,
whether I am in a prison, a hospital, a mosque them up and send them.” most nervous people who, when everything
or a church. It’s got to be unjudging, open, does get shaken [in their lives], there is a
empowering and vulnerable, and it has got AND WHAT ABOUT prayer – that moment, quiet streak of steel there that comes from
to help people from all walks of life and all on his knees, on his own, that he talks about somewhere else. My experience through many
ages. That is where I approached it from.” in his introduction to the book? “I’m not even jungles, mountains and scary situations is
To achieve that goal, language, he believes, sure I do pray. I actually don’t understand that you can quietly and humbly reach out
is key. “I often think that people who write what the word means any more. Prayer some- for strength from without, for that presence.
about religion use language and words that times doesn’t involve saying anything. It is It is going to be more empowering and help
are divisive. Jesus didn’t use language like about your spirit and quietly reaching out you walk towards that big fear. We all have
that. His was totally language that was relat- with a hungry heart to say, ‘If you are there, big fears, giants in our lives. What helps you
able to by the wildest and least religious people will you please help me and be beside me walk towards the giants? That’s the question.”
of his time. It is mankind who has liked to because I don’t do so well on my own?’ That’s His book, he insists, is absolutely not about
box and file and put everything in folders my daily prayer. When I’m doing it, maybe giving answers. “So many Christians profess
[with] religious language.” in my quieter moments when I am falling to have the answers. I don’t.” But on this ques-
But isn’t “religious” language also an attempt asleep, I’m certainly not saying anything. But tion, at least, he seems sure. When he walks
to put into words something essentially there is a sense of presence there.” towards giants, it is faith that sustains him.
ineffable? He puzzles for a moment, reflecting His public reputation as the epitome of
deeply, and then gives me an example of what fearlessness is misplaced, he admits. “I have Soul Fuel by Bear Grylls is published
he is talking about. “Some people, if you talk plenty of fear. I feel fear every day – when I this week by Hodder Faith at £14.99
about ‘Father’, may have had an abusive father. am up a mountain or standing on stage before (Tablet price £13.49).
You’ve got to be careful. Let’s not confine
[God] to a title or a name. Look how Jesus
referred to him, as ‘Abba’, which is like ‘Papa’,
which is intimate. It isn’t divisive.”
Grylls may be just as allergic to institutions
as he is to elaborate liturgy – “when faith
becomes a set of rules or judging or too polite,
too smiley and nice, it ceases to be real, when
the reality of faith is broken and dirty and
painful” – but neither, he stresses, is his chosen MA Theology, Ecology and Ethics
format a church of one. Community, he says,
is what it should all be about. A University of Roehampton Degree co-created with
At first that may sound like a contradiction, and supported by the Jesuits in Britain.
but again he carefully but passionately squares
Launching September 2019 to be delivered in central London.
the circle. “Community should be what church
is about, that quiet time, looking after each https://www.roehampton.ac.uk/postgraduate-courses/theology-
other, a mix of hospital and wedding party, ecology-and-ethics/
where we look after the broken, but we also
celebrate. It should be outward-facing.”
Such a community can exist at all sorts of
Bursaries
levels. In Grylls’ case, it is there in his family The Jesuits in Britain as part of their ongoing support of this
home. Soul Fuel grew out of his experience programme offer a limited number of bursaries to suitable applicants.
of raising his three sons. “Faith has been a
quiet but powerful part of our family and The value of a bursary may be up to the equivalent of one year’s full
their lives growing up. And if I were ever not tuition depending on bursary criteria being met.
around, which will happen one day, here,” he
says, indicating the book, “are my thoughts.”
Both full time and part-time students may apply.
A willingness to contribute to developing further the Jesuits in Britain
OR IT CAN BE wherever two people are  
  



 
gathered – just as Jesus makes clear in
Matthew’s gospel. The text of Soul Fuel is Contact TEEbursary@jesuit.org.uk
based on a daily exchange Grylls has about
God with a teacher friend, Jim Hawkins. “I
miss the friendship and vulnerability of having
an accountable buddie to share life things
with on a deeper level than catching up for
a beer. With Jim, I’ve done a daily thing for
many years – reading the Bible together and

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FEATURES / Politics and the Church

Since Boris Johnson began his campaign to lead the Conservative


Party, there has been little scrutiny by the Church of his fitness for
office. A Fleet Street columnist wonders why / By ANDREW PIERCE

Let the bishops


take on Boris

O
NE ENDURING public image of his job as PM in earnest. The unlucky priest
Theresa May’s premiership will be chosen to hear his Confession would have to
her faded smile for photographers give up a big part of his day (almost as big a
as she arrived at St Mary’s church part of his day as he would sacrifice if I were
in her Maidenhead constituency. The vicar’s to be the penitent). There is a long litany of The political negatives that require forgive-
daughter has never made any secret of her Johnson sins. The charge sheet against him ness are extensive too. As Mayor of London
Christian faith. “I am a practising member is well rehearsed by his political enemies. – he defied political gravity by winning the
of the Church of England and that lies behind They refer to him as a serial liar, philanderer, Labour-leaning capital twice – he played to
what I do,” she said in November 2016. and shirker. He was fired from his job the gallery with vanity projects such as the
Any photographers waiting to as a reporter for The Times for mak- garden bridge, which was cancelled, without
pounce on Boris Johnson as he ing up quotes. The complainant a brick being laid, at a cost to the taxpayer of
goes to church may have a long was the Oxford historian Colin £45 million. As Mayor he courted controversy
wait. He rarely attends Sunday Lucas – his godfather, no less. by banning a Christian advertising campaign
(or any other day) service. In a He was sacked by Michael on London buses promoting the idea that gay
rare pronouncement on God and Howard as a shadow culture people can be converted to heterosexuality.
religion, he said in 2015 it would spokesman in 2004 for lying about He was one of the first Tories to support same-
be “pretentious” to suggest that he is an affair with the writer Petronella sex marriage, to the fury of many Tories.
a “serious practising Christian” even Wyatt. He is divorcing his second wife As Foreign Secretary, he is best known for
though he “thinks about religion a lot”. He Marina, mother of his four children, after 25 blundering over Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
once said his faith “comes and goes” like the years of marriage. They are said to be furious The mother-of-one has been wrongly jailed
radio reception for Magic FM in the Chilterns. with their father for humiliating and betraying for spying while visiting her parents in Tehran
As a Catholic who rarely makes it to their mother by embarking on yet another in 2016. Johnson told a Commons committee
Confession, I am amused by the idea of relationship, this time with Carrie Symonds. the following year that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was
Johnson kneeling before a priest and asking The new Prime Minister is 55; Miss Symonds, “teaching people journalism”. The erroneous
for absolution for his sins before he begins a former Tory party apparatchik, is 31. claim was seized on by Iranian officials as evi-
dence that she had engaged in “propaganda
against the regime”. Nazanin’s husband
Richard Ratcliffe has always maintained that
she was visiting relatives in Iran when she
was arrested; Johnson was forced to apologise.
Ratcliffe, who has been mounting a high-
profile campaign to secure his wife’s release,
Tablet binders. is adamant that Johnson is the reason she’s
still behind bars. The detention is now being
played out against heightened tensions over
The perfect way to save the seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker in
the Persian Gulf.
and store your issues
MEANWHILE, DURING the 16 hustings in
the Tory leadership campaign, the two short-
To order call: +44 (0)20 8748 8484 or email: plee@thetablet.co.uk listed candidates, Johnson and Jeremy Hunt,
were asked about abortion. Hunt wants to
lower the legal limit for abortion to 12 weeks;
Johnson argued for no change. No one asked
WWW.THETABLET.CO.UK them about their religious faith. Yet we knew
all about David Cameron’s views on religion.
He has said he has found greater strength in
religion, and even suggested Britain should
be unashamedly “evangelical” about the
Christian faith. Cameron had previously bor-
rowed Johnson’s comparison with the fitful
reception of Magic FM to describe his beliefs.
Yet, as Johnson prepares to knuckle down

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PHOTO: PA, DOMINIC LIPINSKI


PETER HENNESSY’S THE LION AND THE UNICORN

As never before Civil Servants


must fulfil their duty of
speaking truth unto power
In a 1944 Fabian Society One of the many malign consequences
lecture during the Second of the Brexit story is that some
World War, anticipating Conservatives now consider that the
what became Clem senior Civil Service is largely made up of
Attlee’s post-war Labour disgruntled Remainers, always looking
government, the great historian and for difficulties like the congenital snag
Christian socialist, R.H. Tawney, mused hunters they are. Others, myself
about the nature of what new prime included, think that as never before
Boris Johnson addresses party members ministers inherit: officials must fulfil their duty of speaking
after his victory. Inset: Andrew Pierce “The state is an important instrument; truth unto power, however unwelcome
hence the struggle to control it. But it is that might be for some ministers who
an instrument and nothing more. Fools approach Europe almost as warriors
to the huge task ahead of him, the silence will use it, when they can, for foolish taking up arms in a religious war.
from Church leaders has been deafening. Has ends, and criminals for criminal ends. If Prime Minister Johnson does purge
no bishop or senior cleric got strong views on Sensible and decent men will use it for the senior ranks of Whitehall, our
Johnson’s suitability to be Prime Minister? ends which are decent and sensible, and governing system will have passed
Or on his personal morality? I fear that bish- will know how to keep fools and through a one-way valve. Because once
ops are surrendering their role as moral criminals in their place.” politicised, there would be no going back
guardians because of the public revulsion over It was Neil Kinnock who alerted me to to the model that has served us well
the failure of the Church to deal with the the this particular passage of Tawney’s, long since the late-nineteenth century, for a
sexual abuse of minors by some predatory past the days when he aspired to lead future Labour government could feel
priests. that very state as head of a Labour free to purge in its turn, adding still
government. I suspect Boris Johnson more to the list of own goals we have
OR AM I BEING uncharitable? We all have probably does not regard the saintly been scoring as a country and a political
crumpled lives. Have the Church authorities Tawney as a leading figure in his political society.
come to the conclusion that it’s not their job or intellectual formation, but it would be Once through Brexit, an inquiry into
to judge the faults of others? The Christian good if one of his officials could slip that the Civil Service would be a fine thing. It
faith teaches us that if we turn to God, we will text into one of his early red prime is 51 years since John Fulton’s committee
be forgiven, whoever we are, and however ministerial boxes. on the Civil Service reported to Harold
grisly our sins. But shouldn’t those who stand Whitehall possesses considerable Wilson’s government. It’s high time for
for public office be held to a higher standard? properties as a shock absorber. The another careful, rational look at the
George Orwell writes of “upper-class arrival of Mrs Thatcher in 1979 was possibilities of reform, if we are not to
English voices”. He goes on: “A sort of over- quite high on their Richter scale of drift into the application of a crude “Is
fedness, a fatuous self-confidence, a constant tremors, yet they learnt to adapt. Mrs T s/he one of us?” test to our future Crown
bah-bahing of laughter about nothing … peo- was organised, consistent, and did her servants.
ple who, one instinctively feels, without even work on time with great One thing is certain. If
being able to see them, are the enemies of diligence. Boris’s talents, the European Question
anything intelligent or sensitive or beautiful. to put it charitably, lie in Some ministers slays yet another British
No wonder everyone hates us so.” Orwell could different directions. approach Europe Prime Minister, which it
have been describing his fellow old Etonian Beyond the worries well might, the
Johnson. about the Johnson almost as Johnsonites will place the
So at a time when the country is calling out working patterns and warriors taking senior Civil Servants high
for strong leadership, after the muddle and
indecision of the Theresa May years, the Tory
governing style lies the
even deeper question –
up arms in a up on their list of “guilty
men and women” whom
party membership has decided the answer is will he seek to politicise religious war to scapegoat for their own
Boris Johnson, our twentieth old Etonian the top appointments in failures. And if Prime
Prime Minister. Whitehall and break the Minister Johnson does
Central to our Christian creed is forgiveness. Northcote-Trevelyan model of a dazzle through the next 100 days and
But my understanding of forgiveness is that politically neutral career Civil Service pull off a deal with the EU by 31 October
it invites repentance. Has Johnson repented? that transfers as a piece of governing in one of the greatest ever feats of
Has anyone in the Church asked him? Does technology from one administration to diplomacy and political persuasion since
anyone in the higher echelons of the Church the next? World War II, it will, in
have a view about Alexander Boris de Pfeffel His handling of the Sir Kim Darroch the eyes of some of his
Johnson? They certainly should have. Or are affair, when President Donald Trump supporters, be despite
the 26 bishops who sit in the House of Lords turned on the British ambassador in Whitehall. The poor Civil
cowed because in 2015 Johnson described Washington, after his candid telegrams Service can never win.
them as “clerical fossils”. It’s time the fossils home were leaked to a newspaper,
spoke out. lacked the sureness of touch and support Peter Hennessy is Attlee Professor of
that Sir Kim deserved from a head of Contemporary British History at Queen
Andrew Pierce is a columnist and consultant government-in-waiting, and was partly Mary University of London and an
editor for the Daily Mail. responsible for his leaving the embassy. independent crossbench peer.

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FEATURES / Philo of Alexandria

When the unstable Caligula succeeded Augustus, religious intolerance erupted in Alexandria, and
mobs turned on the Jewish minority. A Jewish leader and philosopher faced a timeless challenge: how
does a community with few cards to play deal with a powerful tyrant? / By KIRSTY JANE FALCONER

A further warning from history

I
ILLUSTRATION: ANDRÉ THEVET (1502-1590)
N THE YEAR AD 38, the philosopher wholeheartedly, emerges quite differently
Philo of Alexandria travelled from Egypt than he does in Tacitus or Suetonius.)
to Rome at the head of a delegation of But this is not a story about Caligula’s
fellow Jews. His aim was to intercede private life. This is a story about what happens
with the Emperor Gaius Caligula, whose when the highest office in a centralised political
fledgling reign had been marked in Alexandria system is held by someone with neither the
by violent attacks against the Jewish com- moral nor the political sense to act in the
munity. In his account of the events (the interests of its most vulnerable constituents;
Embassy to Gaius , hereafter Embassy), Philo about what happens when the proper channels
describes what many scholars call the first of communication and diplomacy, which are
pogrom in history, involving horrific and sys- supposed to safeguard those constituents,
tematic violence against men, women and lead right back to the source of the problem.
children: the brutal physical expression of a And, as it turned out, in this instance, diplo-
“hatred that had long been smouldering”. macy did not work. According to Philo, while
What had caused the outbreak? Historians he and the other Jews in the delegation were
have long debated whether the Jews of carefully thinking over how to present their
Alexandria lost established citizen rights under case, a troubled-looking man arrived and told
Caligula—thus making them vulnerable to them that the nature of the problem had
attack—or whether they sought to protect shifted: Caligula had ordered a great gold
themselves from further attack by asking for Philo of Alexandria statue to be set up in the Temple at Jerusalem,
these same rights to be put in place. What is dedicated to him as Zeus. The threat to Jews
certain is that Philo saw two main factors at porary resonance in Philo’s account: “This is in the Roman Empire was no longer only
work: one local, one universal. a story about terrible ethnic violence resulting local, and physical; it was now also theological,
The first was the malignant incompetence from a dominant population (the Graeco- and universal. The delegates resolved to
of the Governor of Egypt, Aulus Avilius Egyptian Alexandrians) turning on a minority prioritise the universal over the local, and to
Flaccus, whom Philo detested and whose rise (the Jews) followed by the desperate plea of address the question of the statue first.
and fall is described in the text published as the Jews to an egotistical and ignorant world
Against Flaccus. The second was Caligula’s leader. I think anyone reading this work will YEARS PASSED before the Jews of Alexandria
lack of respect for the “moderation and be amazed at seeing how issues of today were were able to approach Caligula with their
observance of the law” required of an emperor, already playing out 2,000 years ago.” concerns and, when they did, they were forced
and his determination to act and be treated “The Roman emperors were autocrats par to follow him around the gardens of Maecenas
not as a ruler, but as a god. Philo’s descriptions excellence, with the entire resources of the and Lamia in Rome while he inspected the
of the mad young emperor, dressed as Ares state at their disposal and unrestricted power,” dwellings there. Philo records that their pleas
or Apollo and demanding to be worshipped, says David Runia, of Australian Catholic to the emperor were witnessed and jeered by
will be familiar to readers of Robert Graves’ University (ACU). “We are living in a time his sycophants, as well as by a delegation of
novel, I, Claudius. when, in many countries, authoritarianism Alexandrians opposed to the Jewish case for
is on the rise and democracy appears to be in citizenship. Caligula, meanwhile, showed a
ONE NEED NOT be a theologian to see just retreat or not functioning so well. Philo’s trea- combination of hostility and flippancy:
how dangerous a ruler with a god complex tise also gives insight into the machinations “After giving some of his orders about the
could be. Civil religion was the glue that held of power and the arbitrariness of decision- buildings,” Philo writes, Caligula “put to us this
the Roman Empire together: participation making in authoritarian systems.” grave and momentous question, ‘Why do you
in the official cult was the mark of a citizen. refuse to eat pork?’ … We answered, ‘Different
Previous emperors had granted the Jews an IF YOU’RE THINKING of President Donald people have different customs and the use of
exemption on the grounds of their ancestral Trump at this point, the comparison only some things is forbidden to us as others are to
religion. As Philo himself reminds us, the becomes stronger. Caligula, more than perhaps our opponents.’ Then someone said, ‘Yes, just
priests at the Temple would sacrifice for the any other Roman emperor (and the as many don’t eat lamb which is so easily obtain-
emperor, and gladly; but they would not sac- competition is stiff), is easy fodder for satire able,’ whereupon Caligula laughed and said,
rifice to him. And yet that was precisely what and for sensationalism. His sexual excesses, ‘Quite right too, for it’s not nice.’”
Caligula seemed to demand. his eccentric decisions, his penchant for The Jews’ trip to Rome came to nothing.
In this new dispensation, Jewish mono- dressing up, his habit of despatching former Having paid minimal attention to their argu-
theism could all too easily be interpreted as advisers and confidants, all are long-established ments, Caligula abruptly gave way to a “softer
disrespect for the emperor himself. Those parts of a legend that fascinates people at least mood” and, lamenting their short-sightedness
who hated the Jews needed no prompting. as much as it repels them. For those who want in not acknowledging his divinity, sent them
They leapt on the opportunity their leader details, Philo provides them with a generous away. Philo and his fellow delegates, who a
had given them, dressing up bigotry in the hand. Like many ancient writers, he sees moment ago had feared for their lives, were
guise of personal loyalty. personal morality as a reflection, or perhaps “just able to breathe again”. But the case
Does this sound familiar? Joan Taylor, of a determinant, of political soundness in a remained open, and they wondered how the
King’s College London, sees a direct contem- ruler. (Tiberius, of whom he approves emperor would decide.

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SHELAGH FOGARTY

They never got their answer, because


Caligula died at the hands of the Praetorian
Guard that same year. His successor, Claudius,
In almost every discussion, I
would subsequently issue a letter to the people
of Alexandria calling for an end to the dis-
come up against total resistance
turbances and cautioning the Jews never again
to send a separate delegation to Rome. His
reign would be a time of troubles for Jews in
to seeking common ground
the Roman Empire, and for the new Christian
movement that was emerging from the diverse
Jewish groups. The issue of the Temple, mean- In the heat of the ugly language chiming closely with that age-
while, was resolved (according to Philo and battle between President old trope that Jews are not loyal to the
Josephus) when protests in Jerusalem con- Donald Trump and the nation they belong to. She has
vinced the Governor of Syria, Petronius, that four United States apologised, but qualified her apology by
erecting a statue would be unwise. Fortunately congresswomen known as saying there is a risk Muslim politicians
for Petronius, Caligula died before he could “The Squad”, I was reminded of will be silenced or accused if they oppose
execute him for insubordination. President Barack Obama’s eulogy to the Israeli government. That’s nonsense,
As for Philo, the years he spent in Rome Senator John McCain. McCain’s funeral of course. A person can challenge any
had a considerable impact. Maren Niehoff of was, by his own design, the first major Israeli government 24/7 and not make
the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who national event that doubled as an elegant anti-Semitic remarks. It’s in this
recently published the first-ever intellectual rejection of the new, inelegant quicksand that the Labour Party
biography of Philo, argues that this period Commander in Chief and his methods. currently finds itself flailing.
constitutes a turning point not only in his In it, Obama spoke with precision On air I was challenged to give a
political life, but in his development as a about a set of universal values that proper account of Omar’s words that
philosopher. strengthens America. She is not a nation pre-dated Trump’s shabby tirades. All I
“In antiquity, philosophy and politics were that stands out because of military knew was that she had apologised for
closely connected, as ambassadors were usually might, the capacity to bend others to her unwittingly using anti-Semitic tropes.
recognised intellectuals who appealed to will or because of her wealth. No, Not good enough on her part, or indeed
Roman audiences by lectures and written trac- America is above all a story of adherence mine. Trump had fallen short but so
tates,” she says. “Given that Philo spent several to “the rule of law, human rights, and an had she. His stage is bigger and he
years in Rome, being delayed by Caligula, insistence on the God-given dignity of occupies it like a mad king, but all of us
there is no reason to assume that he would every human being”. occupy one stage or another, and our
have behaved differently. Engaging in discus- Trump isn’t the first US President to lines matter.
sions with Roman intellectuals, while waiting fall short in delivering on these noble If we are to say Trump’s comments are
for an audience with the emperor, would have values. But he is the first in my lifetime to racist, then an equal and rigorous
been the most obvious thing to do.” relish trashing them. Trump’s weapons of examination of his opponents’ words is
choice are fear and loathing. Spread fear called for, too. This protects everyone. It
WHAT SEEMS SURE is that Philo wrote the (especially of brown-skinned people), protects the values Obama spoke of. It
Embassy to Gaius because he wanted his then crank up the loathing. If it crosses a protects the dignity of all of us. The
readers to draw a lesson from it. What might line he cares about (his own fate), Squad don’t have to be angels for Trump’s
we learn now? David Runia has some ideas: backtrack immediately with denials and racist demon to be outed.
“In the first place Philo would wish us to take shifting sands. Like a toddler covered in Here at home, Brexit has proved the
away the importance of religious freedom, chocolate, he brazenly asserts he didn’t great divider, but it isn’t the only part of
being able to engage in worship and other even know where the cookie jar was. public life where we are seeing a
religious activities without fear of persecution His tweets calling for Ilhan Omar, hardening of hearts and minds. In
and discrimination. He would also emphasise Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna almost every discussion on my radio
the role of the individual and of communities Pressley and Rashida Tlaib to “go back” show I come up against total resistance
in fighting fearlessly for that freedom. But to the “corrupt” countries they came to seeking common ground. When I
most important of all, he would want to tell from tell us his 2020 presidential revealed some months ago that I (a
us about the trust that we should have in God campaign is going to be even more Remain voter in 2016) would have voted
and his providential care for his people.” divisive and ugly than the one he ran for Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement
Maren Niehoff, meanwhile, sees in the against Hillary Clinton. She described had I been an MP, callers responded as
Embassy a warning to the great and the good. his inauguration speech as a “cry from though I had sacrificed their firstborn. If
“Caligula is portrayed as a madman in the the white nationalist gut”. She was right. I could wish Brexit away, I would. If it
theatre, whereas he should have been an He doesn’t balk at racism. He uses it. never comes to pass and we somehow
impartial judge of the claims advanced by the So what of The Squad, perhaps peacefully come to that accommodation
Jewish and the Egyptian embassies following especially Ilhan Omar, the subject of I will be glad. At any cost? No. The
the pogrom in Alexandria. Philo attributes some of the lowest claims President language we use sends signals to others.
this decline to lack of philosophical restraint. Trump has made to date, not least that Inflame, antagonise, overwhelm? Expect
If Caligula had adopted the philosophical advice she married her own brother? It’s a slur the virus to spread.
he was given, he would have led a healthier that makes his birther campaign against It’s not over yet and time will tell us
and more prudent lifestyle, which would in Obama look like a love letter. what we did. In the meantime, we have
turn have resulted in better government.” “Go back”, “go home”, to a brown- to live together, talk
Things go badly wrong, Philo is reminding skinned American or a brown-skinned together, decide
us, “if politicians act only out of a desire for Brit, is an unmistakable racist taunt. It together. We should
self-aggrandisement”. And this, Niehoff con- can’t be softened into something else. tread softly because
cludes, “is a timely insight, if we look at  our Less clear is Trump’s accusation that we tread on each
current  leaders”. Omar is anti-Semitic. I’ve reviewed what other’s dreams.
she’s said about Israel, pro-Israeli
Kirsty Jane Falconer is a writer and lobbyists and re-read her words on Jews Shelagh Fogarty is a radio and television
translator based in Tuscany. and loyalty to country. She has used presenter and journalist.

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FEATURES / Faith and democracy

Insurgent populists on both the Left and the Right and a new generation of intolerant liberals are all
converging in a dangerously anti-humanist direction. A political philosopher argues that only a new
personalist politics can preserve democracy / By ADRIAN PABST
of Google. “Move fast and break things”, as

The ugly sisters of the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark


Zuckerberg, is fond of saying. The mantra of
mobility and endless change divides people
into those who are on the “right side of history”

modern politics and those who are left behind.


The monopoly power of the tech giants
eliminates market competition and under-
mines democratic debate by controlling access
to information and knowledge. Group think
and poisonous propaganda dominate not just

B
RITISH AND Western politics is injustice and social fragmentation. In their social media but political debate, with scant
increasingly dominated by a ran- different ways, liberals and populists are both regard for truth or a commitment to build a
corous battle between liberals and hollowing out democracy and the wider common life. Silicon Valley and big finance
populists. Insurgents such as Nigel Christian humanist foundations on which it on Wall Street form an oligarchy that com-
Farage or Donald Trump or Matteo Salvini rests: the dignity of the person, the common bines disruption with dispossession.
excoriate the rootless “liberal elites” said to good and lived fraternity. Instead of defending tolerance and a richer
be in control of the government, the economy The support for the populist insurgency conception of freedom, contemporary liberals
and media; yet they are just as elitist and dis- currently sweeping the West is fuelled by the seek to overcome any attachment to national
connected from real communities as the old crisis of liberalism. Far from making global or communal identity in favour of a borderless
establishment, with wealthy backers and bois- capitalism work for all, in the 30 years since world without restrictions on personal choice.
terous media support of their own. the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe They condemn patriotism as reactionary and
What both sides fail to offer is a political the liberal democracies have enabled an oli- promote a cosmopolitan vision remote from
vision that is anchored in a transcendent “we” garchic concentration of wealth and power. the everyday existence of most people. Gone
– the bonds of belonging to neighbourhoods Our everyday economy is dominated by the is the commitment to unfettered argument
and nations. Neither has the wherewithal to Frightful Five – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, in search of the truth, and the defence of crit-
address popular grievances about economic Microsoft and Alphabet, the parent company ical debate about values and beliefs. Liberal

RELIGIOUS LIFE FOR WOMEN: A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE


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PHOTOS: PA
US President Donald Trump (top left) then
clockwise: President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil;
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn; and new Prime
Minister of the UK, the Tories’ Boris Johnson

marginalised masses can be bought off with


militarism, a protectionist trade war with
China and prescription drugs. Wall Street is
on steroids while thousands die from opioids.
Boris Johnson, the UK’s new Prime
Minister, is supported by arch-Brexiteers
hoping for a similar low-regulation, low-tax
economy boosted by free trade deals with the
Trump administration. They will gleefully rip
up the social, cultural and religious ties
binding the UK to the rest of Europe. In spite
of the mood music of nationalism, it is the
interests of the oligarchs, not the people, that
are served by the slogan “take back control”,
just as they are by “America first”.
And populists on the far Left are just as
anti-democratic. Jeremy Corbyn’s utopia of
politics has mutated into a secular religion “socialism in one country” fuses twentieth-
of humanity that replaces people’s yearning century-style nationalisation with twenty-
for meaning and stability with a philosophy first-century digital platforms. It offers a bright
of relativism and perpetual flux. future for the new, networked generation of
Liberal-led governments have passed laws globally mobile cosmopolitans. Everyone else
permitting euthanasia in Belgium, the will subsist on welfare funded by taxing tech
Netherlands and Norway. To allow doctors companies. Automation and artificial
to put people to death is the natural intelligence promise to create a post-capitalist
consequence of a society that has come to economy without work or workers.
subordinate the intrinsic value of human life While the rejection of liberal market
to freedom of choice and the pursuit of purely fundamentalism is popular, this version of
private happiness. far Left politics has no story to tell about
national solidarity that balances minority

JOE WALSH
HERE CONTEMPORARY liberalism reveals rights with majority values. Labour’s leader-
its new anti-humanist face. By endorsing the ship has nothing to say about the mutual
principle that the citizen can control even the obligations on which social cohesion depends.
time and manner of his or her own death, it
has come to elevate the will and desire of the
individual over every other ethical principle.
Under the cover of an anti-imperialist foreign
policy, the Corbynistas side with foreign
dictators who trample on the human rights
TOURS
This is an implicit denial that human life has of ordinary people they purport to defend.
a sacred dimension beyond the power of
human volition. No person enjoys full control THE POPULIST extremes – on the Left and LOURDES PILGRIMAGE
over their life and body – these are gifts and the Right – are converging towards an anti- 23 AUGUST | 7 NIGHTS
not our private possession. Liberalising humanist politics. On the radical Right we
euthanasia hands over our human existence are witnessing the return of a pseudo-scientific • 
to the forces of the state and the market, treat- theory of “race” as a supposedly objective
ing the gift of life as a commodity that can be category, which is used to legitimate racial
Birmingham to Lourdes
traded or dispensed with without regard to stereotyping and racial preference. This is •  
 Hotel Agena
its intrinsic worth. The atheist philosopher true not just of the current US President but
Jean-Paul Sartre was wrong: really existing also of Brazil’s new leader Jair Bolsonaro, the • Includes  

liberalism is an anti-humanism. Christianity “Trump of the tropics”, who has described and all meals
teaches a richer sense of happiness; it seeks African immigrants as “the scum of humanity”.
to create a society that combines personal ful- For populists such as Bolsinaro to claim they • Full    
filment with mutual flourishing, which are defending Christian values is nothing 
 
 £
includes the acceptance that life involves both short of heresy.  

suffering and dying.
Populists are no more democratic than lib-
On the far Left, we are seeing a celebration
of the further blurring of the boundaries
 £ 779
erals. Donald Trump’s “Make America Great between childhood and youth, between “some-  pps
Again” agenda fuses blood-and-soil rhetoric where” and “anywhere”, between casual and
with libertarian economics. His attacks on committed, and between humans, animals See www.joewalshtours.co.uk
migrants and his infamous tweets demanding and machines. These blurrings will erode the
      
that “Progressive” Democrat congresswomen relationships of affection and attachment on
who had criticised him should “go back and which we all rely. Meanwhile techno- www.joewalshtours.co.uk | 0203 4680617
help fix the totally broken and crime-infested science will dehumanise us by viewing human- 143 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2
places from which they came” are combined ity as deficient and in need of technological
Licenced by the Commission for Aviation Regulation,
with a vision of “more neo-liberalism in one enhancement – as with artificial intelligence
TO 052 and TA 0689 in compliance with the Package Travel
country”, with further tax cuts for the richest or robots. and Linked Travel Arrangement Package Regulation 2018
and even more deregulated finance. The CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

For more features, news, analysis and comment, visit www.thetablet.co.uk 27 JULY 2019 | THE TABLET | 13
12-14_Tablet27Jul19 Pabst.qxp_Tablet features spread 7/23/19 3:10 PM Page 12

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13 fraternity and solidarity, and that is missing between the individual and the collective in
It might look as if contemporary liberals from today’s politics. We are freer but more favour of the idea that we live in webs of rela-
and nationalist-populists are at each other’s fragmented. The economy is richer but many tionship. These are embodied and embedded
throats. But at heart they share a denial of remain in poverty. Greater individual auton- in institutions, which we inherit from the
human dignity. They each embrace an under- omy coincides with a growing sense of the lived practice of parenthood, friendship, neigh-
standing of human liberation as freedom for powerlessness of ordinary people. bourhoods, nations and the universal Church.
the individual to make his or her own choices. Paradoxically, contemporary politics The isolated liberal individual increasingly
What is legitimated here is not a genuinely promises release from any constraint not becomes a bare atom that is disposable,
desirable democratic right to freedom to flour- chosen by consenting individuals – who feel replaceable; while the populist “Will of the
ish but instead the will to power of some over under no obligation to anyone – while, at the People” ignores people as they actually are,
others – and essentially the strong over the same time, citizens are increasingly in the multilayered patchwork of their
weak. If the unique value of each human per- subordinate to an overweening state and the families and communities.
son is not upheld, then nothing prevents unfettered free market. Liberalism and By contrast, the embedded person has
demagogues from sneering at the children of populism are the ugly sisters bringing about unique vocations and roles in society. For this
immigrants, or from abandoning migrants what Alexis de Tocqueville diagnosed nearly reason, such a real, rounded person possesses
to the mercy of the seas, or from ending the 200 years ago: the tyranny of “voluntary a value equivalent to the whole of humanity.
lives of children and adults deemed to be too servitude”, which he defined in his masterpiece The whole is more than its parts because we
ill or too frail. Neither contemporary liberals Democracy in America as a “kind of servitude, are members of a social body that transcends
nor the insurgent populists have the ethical ordered, mild and peaceable, a singular power, us all yet also upholds the unique dignity of
and cultural resources to uphold the humanist tutelary, all-encompassing”. each. This is also at the heart of the eucharistic
values on which a common life depends. mystery – though we are many, we are one
This is not to overlook real social progress. BEHIND THE isolated individuals stands the body in Christ and each member belongs to
Women and minorities have more freedoms, all-powerful market-state. It can either give one another.The false alternatives of liberalism
rights and opportunities than before. in to totalitarian temptations or, on the con- versus populism only further polarise politics
Appalling discrimination and worse on the trary, uphold principles that grant human and deepen divisions in society. Lived frater-
grounds of race and sexuality still persists. existence a unique status. It can either pro- nity can redeem liberty and equality. What
This is a shameful denial of human equality mote death or choose life. The defence of binds people together is what makes us free
and freedom – ideals we owe in the West to humanist values is the new pivot in politics. and society more just.
Judaism and, in particular, to Christianity. That is why the Christian traditions of human-
The defence of these values is the standard ism and personalism are so important to save Adrian Pabst is professor of politics at the
by which all institutions have to be judged, politics from sliding into liberal oligarchy or University of Kent. His latest book is The
especially the Churches. populist demagogy. Demons of Liberal Democracy, published by
Liberty and equality can only be saved by Personalism rejects the binary choice Polity Press at £14.99 (Tablet price £13.49).

The Tablet Readers’ Appeal


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14 | THE TABLET | 27 JULY 2019 For more features, news, analysis and comment, visit www.thetablet.co.uk
15_Tablet27Jul19 Diary Puzzles.qxp_Tablet features spread 7/23/19 2:43 PM Page 14

WORD FROM THE CLOISTERS


diary@thetablet.co.uk

JOHNSON is an avid classicist of course.


Left foot in the door Apart from insisting he will take the UK out
of the EU before Halloween, “do or die”,
of Number 10 Johnson has kept his precise policy plans
under wraps. Apart from one. Asked if he
THERE WAS a period in the early 1980s would make us all do compulsory Greek at
when both leaders of the main opposition school if he became PM he replied, “God! If
parties – Charles Kennedy of the Lib Dems I could! I can’t understand why people would
and Iain Duncan Smith of the Tories – were object”. But that was 15 years ago, and it’s not
Catholics, while the Prime Minister – Tony impossible he has changed his mind.
Blair – was beginning to mull over the idea.
But it’s the slightly implausible figure of Boris BUT HANG ON. Is Johnson really a
Johnson who will be the United Kingdom’s Catholic? Even in a very dim light he’d be
first Catholic PM. hard to mistake for a regular mass-goer. And
Johnson was born on 19 June 1964 in a then there is the rackety personal life. He
hospital on New York’s Upper East Side. His might have been baptised into the Catholic
mother, Charlotte, was a 22-year-old student; Church, giving him the “indelible spiritual
his father, Stanley, 23, in the United States off the occasional book review for The Tablet. mark” that is “the seal of eternal life”, as the
on study leave, was out foraging for pizza. In James and Beatrice Fawcett were close Catechism puts it. His confirmation in the C
September, they moved back to Oxford, where friends with Lord and Lady Longford, also of E as a schoolboy was a public affirmation
Charlotte resumed her studies. Catholic converts; the five Fawcett children that he had become an Anglican - that doesn’t
Charlotte’s mother Beatrice Fawcett was a and the eight little Pakenhams “pretty much mean he isn’t a Catholic but his situation is
Catholic convert of Lithuanian Jewish extrac- grew up together”, Rachel Billington – one of a little complicated: he couldn’t resume taking
tion: Beatrice’s father was Elias Avery Lowe the Pakenhams – told me. So when Boris was communion, for example, without a further
(Loew), a professor of paleography at baptised, Charlotte naturally asked her best public act of reconciliation. And there might
Princeton. Charlotte’s father, Sir James Fawcett, friend Rachel if she would be his godmother. be other canonical treacle he’d have to swim
the son of an Anglican clergyman, was a legal Charlotte and Stanley divorced when Boris through before he’d have his paperwork in
academic who became president of the was 14; Charlotte – according to the doctor good order.
European Commission of Human Rights. He and writer James LeFanu, “the genius of the But, as someone put it in The Tablet office
was also a convert to Catholicism, and dashed family” – is still working as a painter. this morning, “He’s Catholic enough.”

PUZZLES

PRIZE CROSSWORD No. 668 | Alanus Across: 23 They elicit action and response (7) 13 Marcus --------, Roman emperor, writer
1 1 2 3 4 4 5 6 7
7 William –––––. English Georgian 24 Old, small, three-masted Mediterranean and philosopher (8)
composer, set Shakespeare and Dryden sailing ship (5) 14 Blood group named after a type of
7 8 9
to music (5) monkey (6)
8 Philosophically, the power of something to Down 15 Region of ancient central Italy giving
10 11 satisfy people’s wants (7) 1 See 5 Down name to a language replaced by Latin (7)
11
10 Practice of marriage where spouse is from 2 Romantic poet whose works include 17 Early Italian painter who championed the
outside a particular social group (7) Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (5) Sienese School, where he lived and died (6)
11 12 13
11 “O clemens, o pia, o dulcis ----- Maria”, 3 Roman town that became Chester (4) 18 Rain clouds or halos (5)
14 13 15 14 Salve Regina (5) 4 John ––––––, poet famous for The 19 St Simon -----, Carmelite monk to whom
16 17 18 12 Coastal town that hosts the Open Golf Pilgrim’s Progress (6) Our Lady gave the brown scapular (5)
Championship, in R.C. Diocese of Dunkeld (10) 5 & 1 Down: First monastery established 22 One of the Divine Offices and an organ
21 21 18 19
16 The holding of beliefs contrary to the by Cistercians [1132] in the north of stop (4)
20 20 21 22
official teaching of the Church (10) England (8,5)
20 Remnant of court jester Yorick’s body, 6 Throbbing effect in singing or playing an
23 23 24
addressed by Hamlet (5) instrument (7)
21 One who philosophically seeks to resolve 9 Royal household gentlemen or soldiers
25
matters of conscience (7) inspiring Gilbert and Sullivan (6)

Please send your answers to: Crossword Competition 27 July, SUDOKU | Hard
The Tablet, 1 King Street Cloisters, Clifton Walk, London W6 0GY. Each 3x3 box, each
Email: thetablet@thetablet.co.uk, with Crossword in the subject field. row and each column
Please include your full name, telephone number and email address, and must contain all the
a mailing address. Three books – on Paul, Theology and Christian numbers 1 to 9.
Ethics – from the OUP’s Very Short Introduction series will go to the
sender of the first correct entry drawn at random on Friday 9 August.
The answers to this week’s puzzles and the crossword winner’s name will
appear in the 17 August issue.

Prizes kindly donated by


Solution to the 6 July puzzle
Solution to the 6 July crossword No. 665
Across: 7 Iolite; 8 Salver; 10 Kampala; 11 Cotta; 12 Ouse; 13 Danae; 17 Caleb;
18 Zone; 22 Credo; 23 Toenail; 24 Lentil; 25 Beacon. Down: 1 Milk-sop;
2 Flemish; 3 Stoat; 4 Paschal; 5 Evita; 6 Priam; 9 Canaletto; 14 Jacobin;
www.oup.com 15 Nolasco; 16 Bellini; 19 Scull; 20 Beans; 21 Peter.
Winner: Fr John Thackray, Ipswich, Suffolk.

For more features, news, analysis and comment, visit www.thetablet.co.uk 27 JULY 2019 | THE TABLET | 15
Rome
A 4 day Tablet pilgrimage to

for the Canonisation of


Cardinal John Henry Newman

11-15 OCTOBER 2019

Flying from Gatwick / with Pilgrimage includes:


half-board accommodation • guided tour of the Basilica of the St John the Lateran
in a 3/4-star hotel in Rome • guided tour of St Peter’s Basilica
• exploration of Classical Rome (including the
Inclusive cost per person Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona) and

£695
Mass at the Basilica of St Mary Major
• transfers to the Vatican City to attend Holy Mass and
Canonisation Ceremony celebrated by His Holiness
Pope Francis

You will have the assistance of a chaplain throughout.

To book your place telephone Lightline Pilgrimages on 01992 576065


17-18_Tablet27Jul19 Letters.qxp_Tablet features spread 7/23/19 2:38 PM Page 1717

LETTERS
• THE EDITOR OF THE TABLET •
1 King Street Cloisters, Clifton Walk, London W6 0GY 020 8748 1550 letters@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.

The method of dying TOPIC OF T H E W E E K


l Permit a mere doctor to
comment on Margaret World-beating cathedral choir in peril
Hebblethwaite’s letter, “Vincent
Lambert called to a loving God”,
(20 July ). It is not the THE SUNDAY before last, I had the privilege reduction in rehearsal hours, how can one
sentiment that troubles me but of attending Mass at Westminster possibly expect them to be able to maintain
the method of his dying. Many Cathedral, hearing the full choir sing before this world-famous standard? Is this really
may suppose that he was on the boys broke up for the summer. something we’re willing to lose? 
what is euphemistically called The setting for that Sunday was Frank (DR) DOMINIC WELLS
“life support”, which in fact is Martin’s superb Mass for double choir, a ORPINGTON, KENT
just food and fluids, usually fiendishly difficult work usually reserved
administered by tube. St John for the world’s top professional choirs. In THE ATTEMPTS by the spokesperson for
Paul II has made it quite clear 1998 the choir of this cathedral won the top Westminster choir school to justify the
that food and fluids are basic Gramophone award – Record of the Year – destructive and short-sighted decision to
care. for their recording of this Mass setting. This end weekend boarding for the choristers
Despite our own Tony Bland accolade had never before been given to a (“Westminster school receives choristership
judgment, and recent official cathedral choir. The choir of Westminster inquiries ‘surge’”, 20 July) don’t ring true.
guidance, and the  “Y” Cathedral was not only competing with the The spokesperson said: “The school is in
judgment reducing the role of very best full-time professional choirs, but no way limiting applications based on
the courts, death by actually surpassing them. postcodes and if families from [beyond]
dehydration is not to be put Since these awards, the choir has Greater London wish to apply they are very
on the death certificate. Is that continued to go from strength to strength, welcome to do so.”
because it is too revealing? tackling very demanding repertoire: from Parents from beyond Greater London
Instead, doctors in this the polyphonic writing of Victoria and (perhaps from the North, Wales or
country are required to discuss Palestrina to the complex textures of James Scotland) quite simply are not in a position
the management of the patient MacMillan’s Mass, written specifically for to be able to pick up their children on a
with colleagues and telephone the choir. Friday afternoon and return them early on
the coroner after such a death. With the impending changes being made Sunday morning. The new policy does
However, as someone who to the boys’ schedules, namely that they go restrict applications from such areas, and to
has witnessed death by home at the weekend, resulting in not only say otherwise is disingenuous at least.
dehydration in a handicapped general disruption to this long-established TERENCE DUFFY
child, it is not something that is professional ensemble but also to a PRENTON, WIRRAL
easily forgotten by anyone
involved, let alone the parents.
(DR) ANTHONY COLE
CONSULTANT PAEDIATRICIAN the arena, seeing through their mother, St Helena. If that is half German Jewish and at least
(RTD), WORCESTER sister ... the one who was correct, then one woman was 20 of her known blood relatives
crucified for them.” responsible for the fact that perished in the Holocaust.
Women in the Church (DR) SARA PARVIS today Christianity stands as the The attacks on Jeremy Corbyn
SENIOR LECTURER IN PATRISTICS, world’s largest religion. and the party on this issue are
l Whatever one’s views on the UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH GEOFF CLIFTON of recent origin, only since he
ordination of women to the SOLIHULL, WEST MIDLANDS became leader. They have
priesthood, it is nonsense to say, l Martin Gordon asks whether originated with newspapers
as Martin Gordon does, “Since the Christian message would l Martin Gordon argues that such as the Daily Mail. I
Christ was a man, a women can have spread as quickly as it did because Christ was a man and a suspect that many rich people
never be representative of him” in the hands of female apostles. priest is alter Christus, “women and commercial organisations
(Letters, 20 July). May I refer him to Bart priests” is a contradiction in dread his winning the next
All Christians, by virtue of our Ehrman’s recent book, The terms. But Christ was also a election, because he and his
name and our baptism, are Triumph of Christianity, which profoundly observant Jew . shadow chancellor have stated
called to try to represent Christ analyses the progress of the Does this make “Gentile priests” that they will increase taxes on
to others every day of our lives. early Church. In fact, a contradiction in terms? rich individuals and
Some people, both women and Christianity initially met with (DR) MICHAEL HOSKIN corporations.
men, are called to do so in only modest success. Its big CAMBRIDGE Allegations of anti-semitism
particular ways, for example in break came when the Roman sound more persuasive than the
martyrdom. We might note the Emperor Constantine Attacks on Labour plain greed behind opposition
example of St Blandina of Lyon converted in the early fourth to increased taxation on the
(Eusebius, Ecclesiastical century and showered favours l I was disappointed by your rich.
History V.1.41), in one of the on the Church, thus first leader of 20 July. I have MICHAEL WINTER
most vicious persecutions of the encouraging mass conversions. been a supporter of the Labour LONDON N19
second century: “She also, Some would contend that Party for about 70 years, and I
through being seen hanging in Constantine’s conversion was have never detected any l It would be fair if The Tablet
the shape of a cross, through driven by political reasons. But suspicion of anti-Semitism. It is would distinguish between
her earnest prayer put great others might say that he was an issue over which I am anti-Semitism and criticism of
heart into those contending in influenced by his Christian personally sensitive. My wife is CONTINUED ON PAGE 18

For more features, news, analysis and comment, visit www.thetablet.co.uk 27 JULY 2019 | THE TABLET | 17
17-18_Tablet27Jul19 Letters.qxp_Tablet features spread 7/23/19 2:38 PM Page 1718

LETTERS
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17 Christian witness in other Longley could have used the Gentleman”, from his lectures
Israel. They are far from the same agencies and causes beyond the pastoral letter to explain this on the Idea of a University,
thing, though some of Jeremy clerical bailiwick. The Spirit hiatus. He does not. It is now 18 could serve as a benchmark for
Corbyn’s critics, inside and may have energised those he years since Nolan. the election of aspiring
outside the Labour Party, would referred to as “the lapsed” to It is what Longley does not statesmen. This passage seems
like them to be seen as such. confront the real challenge of say that is troubling. IICSA particularly apposite:
He is not leading a party becoming a sacrament of called for a change in culture. “He never speaks of himself
“clutching at straws”. He is a salvation for the whole of Air-brushing the past does the except when compelled, never
possible future prime minister creation – which is the real future no favours.  defends himself by a mere
with integrity and much missionary enterprise of CYRIL COOPER retort; he has no ears for
grassroots support. He is also a Christ’s Church. BIRMINGHAM slander or gossip, is scrupulous
very helpful and effective local FRANK CAMPBELL in imputing motives to those
MP representing a very diverse  SOUTHAMPTON The Bible we know who interfere with him, and
Islington community. interprets everything for the
BRUCE KENT Culture of abuse l Neil Xavier O’Donoghue (20 best. He is never mean or little
LONDON N4 July) makes a powerful in his disputes, never takes
l Archbishop Longley’s recent argument for continuity in any unfair advantage, never
The real mission pastoral letter on the IICSA new translation of the Bible to mistakes personalities or sharp
report on the Birmingham be approved for the Lectionary. saying for arguments, or
l Bishop Philip Egan of Archdiocese (News Briefing, 20 I am in the habit of looking at insinuates evil which he dare
Portsmouth is reported July) has harsh words for the Prologue of John’s Gospel as not say out.”
(“Britain relentlessly becoming abusive priests yet none for an initial test of any new ESME HOWARD
a land of secularists and those who bankrolled them and translation. In John 1:3 the UCKFIELD, EAST SUSSEX
atheists”, 20 July) as protected them from justice. RNJB offers, “… not one thing
commenting on the British The Nolan report of 2001 was came into being except through God’s children
Social Attitudes Survey. He supposed to be a watershed in him”. The ESV offers, “… and
noted that 87 per cent of the way the Church dealt with without him was not any thing l If Iris Murdoch assumes
Catholics in his diocese do not these matters. Since then, as made that was made”. there is no room for God in a
“practise”, by which he meant Longley notes, IICSA has I know which version I would properly adult religion (“Being
they don’t attend Sunday Mass.  confirmed improvements in the prefer to be proclaiming in the good without God,” 20 July),
He added: “We should do our way the archdiocese handles liturgy for the rest of my life. then evidently the passage
best to befriend them.” How allegations. (FR) PETER D MCGUIRE in Luke 18.16 has escaped her
patronising! Surely he could do Longley took over in 2009. SHEFFIELD notice where Our Lord speaks
better than work to get more An audit in 2010 by the of little children.
bodies on benches. Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Newman on Trump As a child of 87, and deeply in
What is  the reason for this Service pointed out serious love with a little girl of my age, I
abandonment of parish shortcomings, saying the l Whether or not John Henry am only too glad to look
worship? Many of the 87 per archdiocese failed to meet Newman’s legacy is contested forward to arriving hand-in-
cent remain staunchly required standards in every (Letters, 13 July), he is always hand with her at the Pearly
committed Christians but find area inspected. The Social Care relevant for our times. In the Gates to ask whether we might
parish liturgies insipid and Institute of Excellence Report light of yet more graceless yet be ready for admittance to
uninspiring, leaving them of 2018 found multiple failings. statements from the incumbent the Divine Presence.
unevangelised. Many of them IICSA is unclear why so little of the White House, Newman’s GUIDO WALDMAN
will have decided to apply their changed in those eight years. probing “Definition of a LONDON N1

THE LIVING SPIRIT


A N D L I T U R G I C A L C A L E N DA R

I gained knowledge guiding gentleness, you will gain certain heroic examples. ✦ CALENDAR ✦
others. I realized that all souls nothing by being severe.” Regardless of whether we
have more or less the same battles But no one is a good judge in are priests, nuns or Sunday 28 July:
Seventeenth Sunday of the Year
to fight, but no two souls are one’s own case. During a laypeople, regardless of (Year C)
exactly the same. Each one must painful operation a child would whether we are celibate or Monday 29 July:
be dealt with differently. With be sure to cry out and say that married, have exceptional St Martha
some I humble myself, confessing the remedy is worse than the abilities or are completely average, Tuesday 30 July:
Feria or St Peter Chrysologus,
my own struggles and defeats. By disease. Yet how great will be the there is a path to holiness that takes Bishop and Doctor
this means they have less little one’s delight when he finds account of our particular gifts and Wednesday 31 July:
difficulty in acknowledging their himself cured and able to run duties in life, a path that is different St Ignatius of Loyola, Priest
Thursday 1 August:
faults, being consoled by the about and play. Souls soon for each one of us. And all St Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor
discovery that I know their trials recognize that a little bitterness is Christians are called to walk that Friday 2 August:
from my own experience. In preferable to a surfeit of sweetness. path, whose goal is simply the Feria or St Eusebius of Vercelli,
dealing with others, my only hope ST THERESE OF LISIEUX fullness of Christian life, the fullness Bishop or St Peter Julian Eymard, Priest
Saturday 3 August:
of success lies in being firm and in FROM BY LOVE ALONE: DAILY READINGS WITH of love. For this we are created – as Feria
never going back on what I have ST THERESE OF LISIEUX, EDITED BY MICHAEL Pope Francis says, “not to settle for a Sunday 4 August:
said, since self-abasement would HOLLINGS (DARTON, LONGMAN & TODD, 1986) bland and mediocre existence” Eighteenth Sunday of the Year
be mistaken for weakness… Gaudete et Exsultate, 1).
More than once it has been said The call to holiness is not a matter ROBERT ELLSBERG For the Extraordinary Form calendar
to me: “If you want to do anything of conforming ourselves to some FROM A LIVING GOSPEL: READING GOD’S go to www.lms.org.uk
with me, you must treat me with cookie-cutter pattern or imitating STORY IN HOLY LIVES (ORBIS, 2019)

18 | THE TABLET | 27 JULY 2019 For more features, news, analysis and comment, visit www.thetablet.co.uk
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ARTS
• COMING SOON •
#HONEST AMY, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh (from 31 July) • PHOTOGRAPH, directed by Ritesh Batra, Curzon cinemas and on demand (from 2 August)
THE JOURNEY OF THINGS, Sainsbury Centre, UEA, Norwich (opens 3 August) • OXFORD PROMS, University Church of St Mary the Virgin (10 August)

PHOTO: JOHAN PERSSON


when they were written. Joseph, expelled by
his jealous brothers, becomes rich and famous
in Egypt by predicting a famine; and what
the authorities fear from this Jesus, it is clear,
is less the radicalism of his message than his
charisma and name recognition. The stage
directions of Superstar – sending large num-
bers of followers swirling around and after
Jesus – vividly reflect the era’s special under-
standing, from rock concerts to political
protests, of the volatile power of crowds.
What also struck me was the essential
reverence with which the source material is
treated, despite, at the start, the subject matter
being regarded as audacious. This was especially
true of Superstar, which faced objections
(resulting in picket lines of nuns outside the
venue) that the libretto suggested a sexual
relationship between Jesus and Mary
Magdalene – “I’ve had so many men before;
in very many ways, he’s just one more,” she
sings (my italics) – and that the climactic
Crucifixion is not followed by a Resurrection.
On the first point, the carefully ambiguous
lyric now seems decorous in comparison with
Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, which sug-
Ricardo Afonso (Judas) and gests that the couple married and had several
Robert Tripolino as Jesus children. On the second, I remember my
Catholic school fifth-form trip in 1977 initially
being cancelled after parental objections that
Rice’s and Lloyd Webber’s Christ did not rise

The sound of from the dead. However, Br Nelson SC, a


revered teacher of mine, argued that the
curtain call, for which the actor is helped
down from the Cross and bows, represented

Scripture Easter Sunday. The outing was restored. At


the time, Br Nelson’s interpretation struck
me as a clever negotiating tactic, but, seeing
the show now, while Christ is probably quickly
Two biblical blockbusters are a tribute to the 1970s, removed from the Cross for theatrical health
and safety reasons, the moment is also clearly
and to the dominant duo of musical theatre open to a redemptive reading.
Certainly now, both shows feel quite theo-
logically orthodox, as Rice’s lyrics point out:
M A R K L AWS O N “It’s all there in Chapter 39 of Genesis,” sings
the Narrator of Joseph, while the final part

B
EFORE THEY tackled – together or the London Palladium in which the starry of the Superstar score is titled, “John 19:41”.
separately – Argentinian first ladies, new Joseph is playing although, as a devotee In the new productions, there is also a sense
singing cats, trains and lions, Andrew of classical architecture, he is probably relieved that one work has learned from the other. I
Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice not to be the landlord of the Barbican Centre, was surprised to hear that Sheridan Smith,
specialised in Scripture-based musicals. Joseph which hosts an expanded and recast version an actress of astonishing versatility, was play-
and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, of the Superstar recently seen at the Open ing the Narrator in Laurence Connor’s Joseph,
their first professional show, premiered in Air Theatre in Regent’s Park. as the part consists essentially of singing scene
1968, followed three years later by Jesus Christ Having always regarded the pieces as starkly settings. But, just as Rice and Lloyd Webber
Superstar. contrasting – Joseph aimed at young children, seem to have realised that narrators work
Across the five decades since, both have Superstar generally given an advisory age better when embedded – Superstar, boldly,
been frequently revived, but, unusually, new limit due to the scourging and Crucifixion is compèred by Judas Iscariot – Connor has
productions of the biblical hits have just scenes – I was struck, watching both within applied the lesson to their first work.
opened simultaneously in London, inviting a day, by their similarities. Smith, adopting false beards and abundant
reflection on the sub-genre that was the Both are energised by the sense, at the turn accents, takes on roles including Jacob, a
apprenticeship of the composer and librettist of the Seventies, that a new modern world jailer, and the wife of Potiphar, leader of the
– in their early twenties when they wrote the was beginning. In their titles, words from a palace guard. She looks to be having almost
shows – who are now the septuagenarian biblical story are provocatively offset by terms as much fun as we are, as does Jason Donovan,
Lord Lloyd Webber and Sir Tim. that were, as they said then, groovy. The works a celebrated ex-Joseph, smartly cast now as
It is a measure of how far they have come are also jointly energised by a concept – the Elvis-influenced Pharaoh. This show’s
that the writer of the music now actually owns celebrity – that was first engulfing the world CONTINUED ON PAGE 20

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ARTS

E X H I BI T ION
Through the looking glass
Feeling the love with the
Instagram generation
JOA N NA MO OR H E A D

Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life


TATE MODERN, LONDON

I
AM IN a long corridor filled with orange
smoke. I can’t see more than a couple
of feet in front of me, but I’m aware of
others making the same journey. It feels
like the afterlife: I have died, and joined others
on the path to whatever awaits. This is a hold-
ing zone, a route to something significant, Your Uncertain Shadow, 2010
filled with the fog of mystery.
It is, in fact, an artwork entitled Your Blind
Passenger at the Olafur Eliasson retrospective Visitors are encouraged to touch its softness. lutely need your phone and your Insta
at Tate Modern. And being inside his art is “What’s it made of?” one visitor remarked; account; but also, you would be mad not to
very much what this show is about. In the proof, if it were needed, of how important is spend some time with your phone in your
space of a couple of hours, my daughter and the mission to put us back in touch with the pocket, so you’re properly immersed in the
I found ourselves inside a giant kaleidoscope nature on whose future we all depend. art. Perhaps that’s why the curator positioned
(Your Spiral View), under a shower of mist- What’s cleverest of all about the show is the rainfall near to the entrance; for that piece,
like rain (Beauty) and viewing ourselves as a hinted at in its title: In Real Life (to 5 January you’re forced to put your phone away, and it’s
patchwork of fragments through an extra- 2020). Because this is an exhibition totally a reminder to keep doing the same as you
ordinary mirror (Your Planetary Window). designed for the twenty-first-century wander round.
The Danish/Icelandic artist Eliasson was Instagram generation; the photo opportunities The other clever part of the show is its
born in 1967. His work includes photography, were endless, the images fascinating. We sociability. Because you’re not alone in
painting and sculptures as well as installations. photographed ourselves encased in a copper Eliasson’s art; there are others too inside the
Our relationship with the planet is at the heart bubble; split into tens of juxtaposed images; kaleidoscope, in the fog tunnel and under the
of everything he does, and the materials he in the orange fog; and in the rain shower. And rain shower. Having enticed his visitors in
uses range from glacial meltwater to moss, yet, this is an event that’s all about feeling, with screen opportunities, he demonstrates
displayed to stunning effect across a huge experiencing, tasting something away from the power of human connection: another vital
wall called, appropriately enough, Moss Wall. technology. To get the most from it, you abso- twenty-first-century need.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 dramatically problematic. Whereas fictional doubt was central to faith, the show gives full
Joseph is a remarkably confident, charismatic, characters conventionally make agonised weight to the protagonist’s two moments of
crisply sung debut from Jac Yarrow, freshly choices, Judas, Peter, Pilate and even Jesus panic at the way the narrative is going: “Take
graduated from stage school. all act in a way that acts out a divine plan, this cup away from me” and, “My God, My
Joseph started as a 20-minute show trialled previously prophesied. Rice’s lyrics reflect this God, why have you forsaken me?”
in a school, but, over the decades, has pro- when Pilate sings to Jesus: “Nothing you do As Jesus, Robert Tripolino makes inevitabil-
gressively swollen to justify the ticket prices can change this.” ity tense by suggesting that Christ has been
it now commands. This expansion has mainly His libretto’s solution to the inherent lack given a script that, in the character of a man,
involved Lloyd Webber adding virtuoso pas- of drama in predestination is – in common he fears himself unable to play. Sallay Garnett,
tiches of styles including country and chanson, with works from Bach’s St Matthew Passion just out of drama school, angelically sings
but the Palladium version stretches even fur- to the 2018 movie Mary Magdalene – to focus Mary Magdalene’s big number, “I don’t know
ther than most to 100 minutes, though only on the perplexity of observers, and the severe how to love him”, and makes that song’s note
with the inclusion of overtures at the start of doubts that Christ experiences as a conse- of confused affection the key to her powerfully
both halves, and a lengthy rehearsed encore, quence of his humanity. Like Bach, for whom anguished performance. Drew McOnie’s
plus numerous dance interludes, including PHOTO: TRISTRAM KENTON choreography, frequently placing Jesus in iso-
tap and clapping numbers, and even a can- lation from a throng, vividly illustrates the
can (someone mishears the word “Canaan”). Jac Yarrow show’s concern with mobs.
This sometimes gives the impression of a as Joseph The productions, when I saw them at mid-
school play on steroids, especially as Connor week non-press-night performances, both
has chosen to cast, presumably seeking a impressively filled two of London’s vastest
Matilda-vibe, children in some lead roles, so auditoriums. The stagings got standing
that Potiphar is played by a small boy. ovations, and there should also be one for the
As usual, though, Joseph remains inde- two twentysomethings who, five decades ago,
structibly irresistible. So too does Jesus Christ wrote shows that, while in some ways of their
Superstar, in Timothy Sheader’s staging, time, still work triumphantly in others.
which, after losing some power to the Regent’s
Park skies, becomes truly electrifying and ter- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor
rifying in the dark, enclosed Barbican Theatre. Dreamcoat, London Palladium, until
Although often colloquially known as “the 8 September; Jesus Christ Superstar,
greatest story ever told”, the Christ story is Barbican London until 24 August.

20 | THE TABLET | 27 JULY 2019 For more features, news, analysis and comment, visit www.thetablet.co.uk
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ARTS

DIGITAL Il Bravo A rediscovered opera by the prolific Italian composer Saverio Mercadante (1795-1870) staged at the
ARTS 2018 Wexford Festival in Ireland www.tinyurl.com/tabletdigitalarts

T E L EV I S ION tial. And although its spiritual roots were in


the Arts and Crafts Movement, Bauhaus
Art of the century thinking embraced technology, industry and
The legacy of the city of cool engineering: how, as one expert put it, “the
quick logic of machines and automata can
LUCY L ET H BR I D G E enrich human life spiritually”.
The Bauhaus building (pictured) in Dessau
Bauhaus Spirit
is still a marvel of satisfying construction:
SKY ARTS
long corridors from which branch rooms full
of light; and I was particularly enamoured of

I
T’S THE 100TH anniversary of the found- the way in which the huge industrial windows
ing of Bauhaus, the radical art school are opened by a lever.
set up by Walter Gropius in Weimar just There is an appealing beauty in the simple
after the First World War. The school practicality of its purpose. The exchange of
itself lasted only 14 years before it was shut ideas among students was encouraged by bal-
down by the Nazis who considered its work conies placed at conversational distances (a
“degenerate”. But its influence has been incal- The Gropius building in Dessau key Gropius feature) although the thin walls
culable – on almost every aspect of the modern that encouraged a cacophony of overhead
built environment. voices seem less inviting.
Yet the fascinating, and itself inventive, these two concepts of “the yesterday and the A choreographer explained how the
documentary Bauhaus Spirit (24 July) today” is the question it asked. Can German Bauhaus saw all form in terms of the human
demonstrated how at the centre of Bauhaus architects create a centre in the barrios which body. We watched Kandinsky taking a line
was a deeply spiritual search for unity, a bring- brings its inhabitants together and returns for “a run”, a dance on a canvas. Gropius was
ing together of mathematics, painting, design, to them control of their own community? It obsessed with the spaces created by the human
engineering, dance, of form and function, is a discussion Gropius would have relished. body, writing a handbook for architects that
concept and content, that was often forgotten But how very un-yesterday Bauhaus seems, was so detailed, it even included the precise
in the huge projects of mid-twentieth-century with its innovative installations and its early distance required to comfortably reach for
urban planning. The ideas of Bauhaus were experiments in flatpack furniture and fitted the lavatory paper.
startlingly new in 1919 – and despite the many kitchens. In conservative Weimar, and then This review can’t do justice to all there was
imitations, devotions and offshoots of those when it moved to Dessau and Berlin, its inter- to chew on in this excellent documentary. The
ideas in the last century, they still seem national students, the girls with cropped hair slight oddities in the narration (“crystal cloud
startlingly new today. and short skirts, cut a shocking dash. They cuckoo lands”) can probably be put down to
The programme opened with Le Corbusier’s were “utopians, inventors and dreamers”; one translation from German. It ended with the
1940s “city in the sky” in Marseilles, home to commentator said they would have been debased and unintended results of Gropius’
1,600 residents, with its integrated school, regarded like punks 50 years later. They flew vision of communal living (he considered five-
sports hall, laundries and communal roof kites, played with shape, colour and line, and storey buildings the optimal height) embodied
terrace, and then cut to Colombia and the had parties on the themes of “metallic”, “white” in the soulless high-rise and the emptying
barrios of Medellín where thousands live in or “messy”. out of town centres and the vast isolation of
shelters of wood and plastic, erected hugger- At the centre of all their activities was a car-dependent suburbs. It feels like high time
mugger over the hills. What can we learn bold experiment in something both ancient to recapture some real, creative, human
about human ingenuity and living space from and modern – the search for what was essen- Bauhaus spirit.

R A DIO The locals, many of whom had survived to only survived but put Chauvin on the map.
contribute to this fascinating enquiry into It soon turned out that this newfound celebrity
Strange statues what Hill described as “a story of salvation”, is something the town could very much do
Tale of a mysterious looked on with interest. “You never knew what with. If The Angels of the Bayou (25 July)
sculpture garden you were going to wake up to,” one recalled. never managed to discover very much about
The man himself was remembered as “a very its subject – an aunt conceded that he was “a
D. J. TAY LOR quiet person”, who painted in scorching heat loner”, “a hermit”, had moved to Arkansas
clad only in jeans, and acclaimed by investi- and was now living in a nursing home – then
The Angels of the Bayou gating academics from the nearby Nicholls it laid on the local detail with a trowel.
BBC RADIO 4 State University as a distinguished folk artist Depopulating, dissolving beneath the
– “a Michaelangelo of the Bayou” as Nicholls’ encroaching sea, the backyards full of water,

K
ENNY HILL, a bricklayer fleeing a Dennis Sipiorski put it. the jobs gone and the hurricanes tearing up
divorce, arrived in the southern All this continued for a dozen years. Then, the sky, Chauvin was in terminal decline. The
Louisiana town of Chauvin some in 2000, it all went badly wrong. Evicted by church, somebody remarked, was about the
time in 1988. Leasing a vacant his landlord and, eyewitnesses deduced, laid only thing you could depend on. Yet Hill’s
patch of ground, he built himself a small hut low by some private trauma, Hill was last sculpture garden had left its mark. “We sure
to live in and then set about constructing a seen striding out of town, taking only the do miss that Kenny,” his neighbour declared.
kind of sculpture garden of religious-themed clothes on his back. He was later found to Several local people had been sufficiently
statuary. Angels predominated, along with a have decapitated the Jesus statue and scrawled inspired by it to embark on careers as folk
representation of Jesus, but there was also on it the words “Welcome to hell”. artists. Visitors emerged from it with their
space for a 7,000-brick lighthouse 45 feet Purchased by a cultural foundation and eyes aglow. Clearly, as Professor Sipiorski con-
high and several self-portraits of the artist. donated to the university, the garden has not cluded, “Kenny’s message was received.”

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BOOKS
•OUR REVIEWERS•
ANTHONY GARDNER is an author and journalist
ROSE GAMBLE is senior reporter at The Tablet• MORAG MACINNES is a writer and poet

Blessed interconnectedness
Wordsworth and Coleridge believed that we are all one life
A N T HON Y GA R DN E R

The Making of Poetry: Coleridge, the


Wordsworths and their Year of Marvels
ADAM NICOLSON
(WILLIAM COLLINS, 336 PP, £25)

TABLET BOOKSHOP PRICE £22.50 • TEL 020 7799 4064

O
N A JUNE afternoon in 1797, after a
three-day tramp from Bristol, Samuel
Taylor Coleridge climbed a gate and
ran across a Dorset cornfield to the house
where his friends William and Dorothy
Wordsworth were living. Still in their twenties,
the two poets had been feeling the weight of
the world: Coleridge was plagued by debts,
while Wordsworth mourned the terrible fall-
out from the French Revolution. But such – whether the sublime interplay of mind and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (left), William
was their delight in each other’s company subject as the pen moved across the page, or Wordsworth and Dorothy Wordsworth
that the following month the Wordsworths the gathering of thoughts as he walked
upped sticks to Alfoxden in Somerset, a couple through the countryside, trying out lines he saw.” The divergence was hard to ignore,
of miles from Coleridge and his wife, Sara, aloud (to the bemusement of the locals) as and as the year wore on, the friends found
in Nether Stowey. he went. At another level, by rejecting con- themselves increasingly at odds.
It was the start of a year of collaboration vention and embracing the simple language The book’s political dimension is also
which culminated in the Lyrical Ballads; and conversational tone of the Lyrical fascinating. The poets were deeply moved by
Coleridge was inspired to produce the bulk Ballads, Wordsworth and Coleridge were the rural poverty they witnessed, and their
of his greatest poems – including The Ancient laying the foundations of poetry as we now association with radicals such as John
Mariner, Kubla Khan and Frost at know it. Thelwall led to a farcical episode in which a
Midnight – while Wordsworth arrived at the At the heart of the book is the essential government spy was sent to report on them.
new maturity announced by Tintern Abbey. subject that the poets shared: mankind’s place Yet the Government was right to be worried:
And always close at hand as they wandered in the universe. In the course of the year, in bringing the poor and their sufferings
over the Quantock Hills was Dorothy, with Wordsworth came to embrace Coleridge’s vividly to life, the Lyrical Ballads were a more
her brilliant descriptions of the natural world. belief in the blessed interconnectedness of powerful argument for reform than any
Adam Nicolson’s thrilling account of this all creation: “that every Thing has a life of political manifesto.
cross-fertilisation is part biography, part its own, & that we are all one Life”. But rather As for Dorothy, Nicolson is anxious to give
literary criticism and part his own nature than being philosophical twins, Nicolson her her due, detecting affinities with the
journal. With Richard Holmes as his inspir- argues, the two were “interlocking opposites”. robins she loved: “the needle brilliance of
ation, he spent a year living as much like his For both, reality was the meeting of the their song, their alert restlessness”. If she
subjects as he could, renting a house in the human mind with the natural world. To emerges as an unequal member of the
Quantocks, following their walks and literally Coleridge, this meant the intermingling of triumvirate, it is because William’s self-
immersing himself in the landscape – his consciousness with all that surrounded absorption and her devotion to him inevitably
lowering himself into peaty water “crusty him – not just his fellow creatures, but “the cast her in a supporting role – though she
with frog-bit and duckweed, with seeds and very surface of [the waters and] the sands did at least fare better than Sara Coleridge,
reed shells”. Such are his descriptive gifts that of the desert”. left to mind the baby in a miserably
his record of the changing seasons would be To the sublimely egotistical Wordsworth, uncomfortable house while the other three
a pleasure to read even if Coleridge and the on the other hand, it was his own mind that explored the countryside.
Wordsworths had never existed. filled the world he beheld with glory. And This is a book with many engaging asides,
The Making of Poetry seems a strangely while Coleridge believed that the connection on subjects ranging from Wordsworth’s waist-
broad title for a book so rooted in specifics, of all things came through God, Wordsworth coats to early photography. But above all it’s
but it’s an apposite one. At one level, Nicolson had little time for organised religion. It was a reminder that poetry and nature are doors
minutely examines the gestation of key not in the Bible but in the mountains – he into the heart of things, and that to reject
poems, right down to their rephrasings and wrote autobiographically in The Excursion their blessings – as the Ancient Mariner
crossings-out. For Wordsworth, poetry was – that he found his faith: “there his spirit rejected the blessing of the albatross – is to
not just the finished product but the process shaped/Her prospects, nor did he believe – leave a great part of our humanity unrealised.

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BOOKS

Toppling Mugabe the Zimbabwean border, Louis Vuitton suit-


case in hand. The group form a “command
RO S E GA M BL E centre” in the Holiday Inn at Johannesburg
Airport and their numbers swell. They manage
to persuade human-rights lawyer, Gabriel
Two Weeks in November Shumba, to join them. Shumba is later said
DOUGLAS ROGERS to be behind the script of the military’s “this
(SHORT BOOKS, 288 PP, £14.99) is not a coup” statement made on 15
November from the offices of Zimbabwe’s
TABLET BOOKSHOP PRICE £13.49 • TEL 020 7799 4064 state broadcaster (ZBC) of which the army
has just seized control.
To say the group were the “operation that

T
HE OUSTING of Robert Mugabe (inset) toppled Mugabe” – as claimed in the book’s
as Zimbabwe’s president in November subheading – is a bit of a stretch. Ultimately,
2017 took the world by surprise. Just the military, led by General Chiwenga, were
eight days after Mugabe fired the then vice responsible. What Rogers does capture, along
president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, tanks story “so outrageous and unbelievable” that with the group’s actions, is the astounding
rumbled into the country’s capital and the Rogers at first thought it couldn’t be real. events of those two weeks – from Grace
93-year-old leader, who had ruled the nation In Two Weeks in November, Rogers retells Mugabe’s apparent attempt to wipe out her
since independence in 1980, was effectively this story, the premise of which is that Ellis, political rival with poison-laced ice cream, to
deposed. But exactly how the coup that some- along with a motley crew of assassins, exiles members of the Zimbabwean secret service,
how wasn’t a coup actually came about and lawyers, played a pivotal role in the dressed as baggage handlers, smuggling
remains something of a mystery. unseating of Mugabe, the events of which General Chiwenga back into Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwean author and journalist Douglas unfolded over a fortnight in November. Writing prior to his book’s release, Rogers
Rogers was driving an ancient Mercedes Ellis and his two would-be assassins have says that he wanted to tell “a pacy, character-
through Mozambique in pursuit of content formed an unlikely friendship. The three men based Ian Fleming-style thriller that people
for a second novel when news of the coup meet in sports bars in downtown Johannes- with no interest in or knowledge of Zimbabwean
broke. Calling his literary agent and no doubt burg and discuss a shared desire to be rid of or African politics could enjoy”. He’s achieved
counting his luck, Rogers raced back to Harare Mugabe. The head of the Zimbabwean war his aim. Two Weeks in November, told in the
and began asking questions. At this point, his veterans, who have by this point publicly style of narrative non-fiction, is gripping. The
research “took a strange turn”. Rogers was denounced Mugabe, Chris Mutsvangwa, joins only tragedy: that such a momentous unfold-
given the telephone number of a man in the group. The group’s plans escalate when ing of events could leave the country not
Johannesburg – Tom Ellis – who told him a Mnangagwa is fired and forced to flee across changed forever, but still struggling.

Inside out of the community interest company Refuse, about enormous, unused leeks from the gar-
which intercepts food bound for landfill and den while the exhausted staff are dealing with
MOR AG M AC I N N E S serves it up in a cafe in Chester-le-Street. But lockdowns and violence – or to rail at the
glowing with righteousness she certainly isn’t. Dickensian systems she encounters.
Instead she’s passionate, angry, tearful, often Funny accounts of biscuit-sneaking, mural-
Jailbirds exhausted, and frequently reduced to helpless painting, panto production (Snow White and
MIM SKINNER giggles, as she recounts her experiences in a her Seven Co-accused) are counterpointed
(SEVEN DIALS, 304 PP, £16.99) women’s prison and, briefly, contrasts them with darker tales – pregnancy and loss, addic-
with time in a men’s jail. tion, suicide. Plus – she’s nothing if not
TABLET BOOKSHOP PRICE £15.29 • TEL 020 7799 4064 Her aim is to take us “inside” with her – “to thorough – there’s a list of further reading
show you what daily life looks like … through and websites. And yes – just like me – after
tales and snippets … It’s a small snapshot of being told Very Solemnly which switch con-

D
ID YOU KNOW that 70 per cent of the a big system … Crime and rehabilitation affects trolled the lights and which was the panic
women in prison in 2016 were serving us all … because of the 83,430 people in prison button, she got it wrong and alerted a posse
six months or less – enough time to in England and Wales, 83,360 are coming of men in riot gear. You have to read Jailbirds;
lose their children or their tenancy, but not out again at some point to a town near you.” it’s full of heart.
enough to benefit from rehabili tation What’s more, prison isn’t working – 48 per
schemes? Or that only 9 per cent of children cent of women leaving prison are back in
whose mothers are in prison are cared for by again within a year. This rises to 78 per cent
their fathers? Or that 38 per cent of women for women who’ve been to prison more than
have no home to go to when they are released? 11 times. But – as she notes – statistics only
Or that 48 per cent have committed an offence get us so far. Real stories reach much further.
to support someone else’s drug use? I have to declare an interest here; I’ve
I suspect that you may have been aware, worked in a men’s prison, and it has furnished is now run by Church House Bookshop
vaguely, of some of these statistics. You may me with many funny anecdotes, but, like – one of the UK’s leading religious
prefer not to think about them too much; you Skinner, I learned that the only difference booksellers with thousands
of titles in stock.
may hold your hands up in horror and talk between “them in there” and us out here is
about broken systems. But that’s probably as the bunch of keys on the belt of the jailor. I
To place an order call:
far as you go. Prisons are scary places, and learned the peculiar rites, rituals and vocab- +44 (0)20 7799 4064
you’d prefer not to have to visit one. Mim ulary prisons have, and the secrets they like Email: bookshop@chbookshop.co.uk
Skinner realises this. It’s a tribute to her that to keep from the public – and never wrote
nowhere in this important, heartfelt, funny them down. International P&P charges will apply.
book does she come over as holier than thou. Mim Skinner has done us all a great favour 
    
She’s an activist – she runs the women’s project by sharing her experiences. She is not afraid the published review.
for the charity Handcrafted, and is co-founder to expose her own naivety – she picks a battle

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Cardinal lambasts government President Donald Trump met Parade by several hundred The Bishop of Pemba, in
The head of Sri Lanka’s some two dozen survivors of LGBT campaigners in the Mozambique, has written a
Catholic Church is calling for religious violence in the Oval eastern city of Bialystok, which a letter criticising the response of
the country’s government to Office on Wednesday and larger group of right-wing the government to a wave of
resign over what he says is its Secretary of State Mike Pompeo counter-protesters disrupted, attacks in Cabo Delgado that
failure to investigate effectively announced the formation of a forcing police to use tear gas and have killed more than 200
an “international conspiracy” new International Religious baton charges.  people over the past 18 months.
behind the deadly Easter Freedom Alliance. “What are the civil and
bombings this year. military authorities hoping to
Speaking at the Priest and nun face murder trial gain through this atmosphere of
reconsecration of one of the A trial is scheduled to start on 5 secrecy and silence? What is the
bombed churches last Sunday, August of a Catholic priest and secret they do not want
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, a nun accused of murdering revealed?” asked Bishop Luiz
Archbishop of Colombo, said another nun 27 years ago at a Fernando Lisboa, whose
the authorities had failed to convent in Kerala in India. The diocese covers the region
identify those behind the suicide prosecution claims the priest, hardest hit by the attacks.
bombings that killed at least Fr Thomas Kottoor, and “For a year-and-a-half we’ve
258 people at three churches another priest, Fr Jose been subject to this atmosphere
and three hotels in Sri Lanka on Poothirkkayil, who was in which it is difficult to speak
21 April. acquitted of the murder charge to the people of ‘hope, peace
“The executive and the last year, maintained illicit and reconciliation’, as we
legislature were locked in a relations with the third murder prepare to welcome the Holy
power struggle,” the cardinal suspect, Sr Sephy. Plot to kill Hitler remembered Father with this motto. As long
said. “The selfish power-hungry It is alleged that in the early Church and state leaders in as the people are being
leaders did not … heed hours of 27 March 1992, a 19- Germany have commemorated instrumentalised by hidden
intelligence warnings.” Ranjith year-old aspirant nun, Sr Operation Valkyrie, the July powers, which aim to impose
said he had no faith in existing Abhaya, saw the two priests and 1944 bomb plot led by Claus their own interests, there will be
inquiries. Bishop J.D. Anthony Sr Sephy in the kitchen in a Schenk von Stauffenberg, which no peace or reconciliation, let
Jayakody, auxiliary of Colombo, “compromising position”. narrowly failed to kill Adolf alone hope,” he said.
called last week for an Investigators allege that the Hitler. (A memorial stone to the
independent commission to three then attacked St Abhaya plotters in Berlin is pictured.)
investigate the bombings. with an axe to kill her in an “We must be grateful to these
attempt to hide their illicit people of 20 July,” said Cardinal
sexual activity, and then Rainer Maria Woelki of
dumped her body in a well to Cologne. “During the darkest
make it look like a suicide. chapter of German history 75
years ago, they cast a ray of light
The President of the Catholic and gave courage to others by
Bishops’ Conference of the bravely following the voice of
Philippines, Archbishop conscience.”
Romulo Valles of Davao, has The cardinal published his
said sedition charges made message during weekend
against four bishops, three commemorations of the failed
priests and several government plot, masterminded by the
critics are “beyond belief ”. aristocratic army officer von Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange,
Police last week filed Stauffenberg with Generals California, dedicated Christ
charges of inciting sedition, Friedrich Olbricht and Ludwig Cathedral as the new mother
Nine hundred religious leaders cyber libel, libel and Beck, in which a bomb was church of the fast-growing
joined diplomats at the US State obstruction of justice planted in the bunker briefing diocese in southern California.
Department’s Ministerial to against more than 40 people, room of Hitler’s Wolfsschanze, The 78,000 sq ft cathedral
Advance Religious Freedom last including the country’s vice or Wolf ’s Lair, his headquarters was originally built to house
week. The two-day meeting president. The charges stem near Rastenburg, East Prussia. . televangelist Robert Schuller
looked at ways to promote from a video on social and his “Hour of Power” TV
religious liberty abroad and media earlier this year The Vatican has restated its full programmes in 1980. Designed
included an address by Vice linking the family of President recognition of Spain’s by Philip Johnson and the
President Mike Pence (above). Rodrigo Duterte to the sovereignty after its outgoing largest all-glass building in the
He announced that the US had illegal drugs trade. nuncio provoked diplomatic world when it was built, the
put sanctions on two Iranian- protests by criticising the plans Diocese of Orange purchased
backed militia leaders that he Poland’s bishops’ conference of the Socialist government to the building and adjoining
said had “terrorised the people has condemned violent assaults rebury the former dictator campus in 2012 after Schuller
of the Nineveh Plain” in Iraq. on a weekend gay rights rally by Francisco Franco. Ministries went bankrupt. The
nationalists who claimed to be “The Holy See’s position on landmark building, just down
defending their Catholic Franco’s exhumation is clear – it the road from Disneyland,
For daily news updates cathedral, while also insisting is based on full respect for the underwent a $70-million
that the Church will continue to sovereignty of the Spanish state renovation, to reconfigure the
on the top stories, visit speak out against the “deadly and its legal system,” said space for Catholic worship.
www.thetablet.co.uk sin” of homosexuality. Alessandro Gisotti, the Vatican’s
It was reacting to an Equality press office director. Compiled by Rose Gamble.

24 | THE TABLET | 27 JULY 2019 For daily news updates visit www.thetablet.co.uk
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NEWS

PHOTO: ACN/MONIKA SINZIG


•QUOTE OF THE WEEK•
As long as the people are being instrumentalised by hidden powers, there will be no peace or reconciliation, let alone hope.
Bishop Luiz Fernando Lisboa of Pemba, comments on the motto for the Pope’s forthcoming trip to Mozambique (see page 24)

SYRIA / Pope writes to Syrian President urging him to put an end to ‘humanitarian catastrophe’

Cardinals take letter from Francis to Assad


PHOTO: FACEBOOK
ilies to information about their
CHRISTOPHER LAMB / in Rome
loved ones.” Cardinal Parolin also
POPE FRANCIS has made a sig- pointed out that in March last year,
nificant intervention in the crisis the Independent International
in Syria, urging President Bashar Commission of Inquiry on the
al-Assad to show “good will” to Syrian Arab Republic published
end the country’s long-running a report claiming that tens of thou-
civil war.  sands of people have been
Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect arbitrarily detained. 
of the Dicastery for Promoting The cardinal stressed that the
Integral Human Development, Holy See wants an “appropriate
and Cardinal Mario Zenari, the political solution” to the Syria cri-
papal ambassador to Syria, met sis, adding that the Pope urged
President Assad in Damascus on Assad to “show good will and to
Monday 22 July. work towards finding viable solu-
The Vatican said that during Cardinal Turkson in conversation with President Assad tions, putting an end to a conflict
the meeting the cardinals pre- which has lasted far too long and
sented a letter in English from the unusual move of naming his order to protect the defenceless which has led to the loss of
Pope Francis to the President, nuncio in Syria as a cardinal, population, especially those who numerous innocent lives”.
expressing his “profound concern” raising the status of his represen- are most vulnerable.” Assad’s office said in a state-
for the humanitarian situation in tative in the war-torn country.  He added: “The Pope encour- ment that the talks had focused
the country and particularly for Speaking about the letter, ages President Bashar al-Assad on political efforts to end the cri-
the people of Idlib province, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy to carry out significant gestures sis, with Syria’s President blaming
which has been subject to gov- See’s Secretary of State, told in this urgent process of recon- regional and Western countries
ernment air strikes. Vatican News that it was a ciliation, and he offers concrete for supporting insurgents.
Of the 3 million people who humanitarian gesture urging examples. He cites, for example, The two cardinals were accom-
live there, 1.3 million have been President Assad to take steps creating the conditions needed panied in the meeting by Fr
internally displaced as a result of towards reconciliation. for the safe return of exiles and Nicola Riccardi OFM, the
the country’s protracted civil war.  “What is happening is intoler- internally displaced persons, and Undersecretary of the Dicastery
The Pope has shown solidarity able and inhuman,” the cardinal for all those who wish to return for Promoting Integral Human
with the plight of the Syrian peo- said. “The Holy Father asks the to the country after having been Development.
ple throughout his pontificate, President to do everything pos- forced to leave. Syria’s conflict has claimed the
calling for a ceasefire in Aleppo sible to put an end to this “He also mentions the release lives of more than 400,000 peo-
in 2016. In the same year, he took humanitarian catastrophe, in of prisoners and the access of fam- ple since it began in 2011.

ROME beneath the floor of an area to free Mehmet Ali Agca, who
inside the Pontifical Teutonic was imprisoned for his 1981
Orlandi excavation finds College, next to the graveyard. 
Last Saturday, thousands of
assassination attempt against
Pope St John Paul II.
large cache of bones bones from the ossuaries, found
in two holes carved out of a large
The Vatican has stressed that
it is co-operating fully with the
stone, were extracted for tests search to find Emanuela. “With
and the Vatican said that they this latest expert operation,” a
FORENSIC scientists are exam- and Charlotte Federica of Meck- would now be analysed. Holy See spokesman said last
ining bones extracted from two len burg. The remains of the A representative of the Orlandi Saturday, “the Vatican is once
ossuaries inside the Vatican as princesses, however, may have family has been present for all again showing its openness
part of a search to find a 15-year- been removed during renovation the investigations.  towards the Orlandi family.”
old girl who disappeared 36 years work on the cemetery and sur- Emanuela, the daughter of a Emanuela’s brother, Pietro,
ago, writes Christopher Lamb.  rounding buildings.  Vatican employee, went missing has long said that the Vatican
On 11 July, two tombs in the The Vatican had agreed to in 1983 after she left her family’s has shown a lack of cooperation
Teutonic Cemetery, on the Holy open the tombs after the family flat in Vatican City for a music in trying to find his sister, but
See’s territory, were opened as of Emanuela Orlandi received a lesson. recently described himself as
part of the search but no human tip-off, telling them to “look Her case has been one of Italy’s “positively surprised” by the Holy
remains were found.  where the angel is pointing”. most discussed unsolved mys- See’s assistance.
The initial finding was a mys- Despite the empty tomb, two teries, with theories about her “For the first time in 36 years,
tery, as the tombs belonged to ossuaries – chambers in which disappearance linking it to mob- the Vatican has concretely done
two nineteenth-century prin- the dead are kept – were discov- sters, high-ranking Vatican something important” in the
cesses, Sophie von Hohenlohe ered during investigations officials and even to an attempt case, he said.

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T H E C H U RC H I N T H E WO R L D

GERMANY / People ‘voting with their feet on whether they consider us trustworthy’. of abusing minors between 1946
and 2014, was the trigger for many

Latest statistics show German Catholics to leave the Church.”


The Church had lost credibility
because of the crimes committed

Church faces massive exodus by priests but also because of its


traditional arguments “on the hot
button issues of women’s ordina-
tion, homosexuality or celibacy,
PHOTO: PA/DPA which many Catholics no longer
CHRISTA PONGRATZ-LIPPITT The statistics were “alarming”, find convincing”, Bishop Peter
the secretary of the bishops’ con- Kohlgraf of Mainz said.
THE GERMAN Church is witness- ference, Fr Hans Langendörfer Church leaders in Bavaria
ing a massive exodus as a result SJ, said, presenting the report in expressed consternation at the
of clerical sexual abuse. Bonn. “We understand when, due dramatic exodus from “Catholic
According to the latest official to alienation processes or to a mas- Bavaria”, where the numbers leav-
statistics published by the German sive loss of trust, [our] credibility ing were higher than average.
bishops’ conference on 19 July, has been gambled away.”  There Forty-nine per cent more
216,078 Catholics left the Church was no whitewashing these fig- Catholics left the Diocese of
in 2018. That is 29 per cent more ures, Bishop Felix Genn (pictured) Eichstätt after a recent financial
than in 2017 when 167,504 left of Münster said. “People vote with scandal, 44 per cent in Würzburg,
and amounts to 0.9 per cent of all their feet on whether they consider 39 per cent in Augsburg and 37
Catholics in Germany. There are us credible or trustworthy. There per cent in Passau. “The figures
now less than 23 million Catholics 2013, caused by the so-called is no doubt that the publication for Bavaria are unfortunately very
in Germany, down from “bishop of bling”, Bishop Franz- of the [Church’s] 2018 study of much higher than in recent years
23,310,000 in 2017. Peter Tebartz-van Elst, who spent clerical sexual abuse, which and every single one hurts. Of
It is the second largest exodus vast sums of Church money on a showed that at least 4.4 per cent course the abuse crisis played an
since the Limburg scandal of luxurious renewal of his residence. of German priests had been guilty important role,” observed Bishop
Stefan Oster of Passau.
n CARDINAL Reinhard to whether lay persons readers - on 20 July. “Shouldn’t we say that “I am for Church reform but I
Marx of Munich, chairman should not be allowed to He often missed the the sermon at Mass should don’t think that any amount of
of the German bishops’ give the sermon, writes “exegetical confrontation” be held by someone with reform will bring the faithful
conference, said he is Christa Pongratz-Lippitt. in sermons. “What is really the talent to preach?” he back in masses,” Heiner Koch,
often disappointed by the He was speaking at a meant (in the Bible asked. “Should only priests the Archbishop of Berlin, told
quality of homilies at Mass meeting with the passage) is not always be allowed to preach? the Cologne church website,
and raised the question as archdiocese’s lectors – or critically examined. Things must move on.” domradio.de.

PERU Barreto described the Amazon priestly ordination for elders and
as “an increasingly devastated and an official ministry for women.
Cardinal defends Amazon threatened territory”, citing issues
of mineral extraction, deforesta-
Brandmüller claimed the agenda
“contradicts the binding teaching
Synod against criticisms tion, polluted waters and
indigenous peoples. “For us mem-
of the Church in decisive points”.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider,
bers of the Catholic Church in the auxiliary of Astana, Kazakhstan,
A PERUVIAN cardinal who serves Vatican meeting that will take Amazon … the Synod can be an said last week that the Pope had
in the Amazon region has place on 6-27 October. The doc- important sign of promoting jus- a duty to maintain the “apostolic
defended the agenda of the ument highlights “a reality that is tice and the defence of the dignity heritage of priestly celibacy”.  He
Vatican’s Amazon Synod in crying out for attention”, the of the people most affected.” felt that a greater emphasis on
response to criticism by some bishop said. Barreto, who is Vice Several Church leaders have Eucharistic devotion would sow
European Church leaders, writes President of Repam, the Pan- recently expressed hostility to the “the seeds of a holy Amazonian
Ellen Teague. Amazonian Ecclesial Network, Amazon Synod, particularly priesthood” and criticised the
Cardinal Pedro Barreto Jimeno, reported that the document, German Cardinals Gerhard emphasis on a mission for social
Jesuit Archbishop of Huancayo, Instrumentum Laboris, which Müller and Walter Brandmüller. and environmental justice.   
wrote in a recent Jesuit publica- raises the possibility of ordaining Müller, a former prefect of the Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro
tion that the agenda, released last older married men as priests in Congregation for the Doctrine of accused the state body responsible
month, was the fruit of consulta- rural areas, “largely expresses the the Faith, said he found “great for tracking deforestation levels
tion with nearly 90,000 people feelings and desires of many rep- confusion” in the document, par- of presenting false data, after it
in two years of preparation for the resentatives of Amazon people”. ticularly over its consideration of showed a dramatic rise in July.

n UNITED STATES: The US bishops’ 95,000 refugees annually. Committee on Migration. of Mercy Patricia M. Murphy, 90,
conference has condemned a The world is facing ”the greatest On 18 July, hundreds of said: “The treatment of migrants
proposal by President Donald humanitarian displacement Catholics gathered at the US should outrage all people of faith.”
Trump to “zero out” refugee crisis in almost a century. I strongly Capitol to demand more humane Sr Carol Zinn, SSJ, executive
admissions to the US next year, oppose any further reductions treatment of migrants. Seventy director of the Leadership
write Michael Sean Winters and of the refugee resettlement were arrested for civil Conference of Women Religious,
Ellen Teague. Historically, the programme,” said Bishop disobedience. One of those called for a halt to “the inhumane
US has resettled approximately Joe Vasquez, chair of the arrested, Chicago-based Sister treatment of children”.

26 | THE TABLET | 27 JULY 2019 For daily news updates visit www.thetablet.co.uk
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VIEW FROM
ROME
BRUSSELS

Bishops
welcome new
Christopher Lamb
commission
president
I
N AN AGE of information overload, and Italian. The word in Rome is that at least
where facts and the truth can become two female Catholic journalists turned down
submerged in social-media-driven offers to take senior press office roles.
THE HEAD of Comece, the Brussels- identity politics and ideological battles,

A
based commission speaking for the the Church’s relationship with the media must REPORT INTO the persecution of
European Union’s Catholic bishops, has be reconfigured. For the Vatican and for Pope Christians commissioned by the
welcomed the choice of Germany’s Francis in particular, who is facing opposition foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt,
Ursula von der Leyen as new EU from well-funded Catholic media networks, which found that 215 million
Commission president, predicting it will this is vital for unity and communion. Christians faced persecution in 2018 and on
make possible the EU’s “accelerated Francis last week appointed a new Vatican average 250 Christians are killed because of
development”, writes Jonathan spokesman: Matteo Bruni, 42, a long-time their religious faith each month, was pre-
Luxmoore. “The EU is facing turbulent Holy See press office staffer. Born in sented to a Vatican official by the UK’s
times, when many future questions must Winchester to a Dutch mother and Italian Ambassador to the Holy See, Sally Axworthy.
be clarified – and with Ursula von der father, he speaks four languages, holds British Appropriately, the ambassador handed it
Leyen, the EU is looking ahead,” and Italian passports, and knows the Vatican over on Monday of last week in the Church
Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich of machine well. Bruni is a member of the Sant’ of San Bartolomeo, on Rome’s Tiber Island,
Luxembourg was quoted as saying by Egidio Community, a Catholic humanitarian which is dedicated to Christian martyrs of
Germany’s Catholic Dom Radio. “The group whose priorities mirror the Pope’s. He the twentieth and twenty-first century.
other EU countries must be shown that is not, however, a journalist. The Foreign Office says it has accepted all
women can do politics as well as men.”  Bruni takes over from Alessandro Gisotti, the recommendations in the report by Philip
The Luxembourg-based archbishop who had stepped into the role following the Mounstephen, the bishop of Truro, including
was speaking after the former German dramatic resignations at the end of last year the drafting of a UN resolution on the pro-
Defence Minister was confirmed as of Greg Burke and Paloma García-Ovejero. tection of Christians in the Middle East. Iraqi
Commission president after narrowly After being catapulted into the position dur- Cardinal Louis Sako, Patriarch of Babylon
gaining approval in the European ing the most intense period of activity of this and leader of the Chaldean Catholics, present
Parliament. The new president shared pontificate, Gisotti has joked that he felt like at the handing-over ceremony, welcomed the
the Catholic Church’s priorities in the “Designated Survivor”, a reference to the initiative but said it would mean little unless
climate change and commitment to a political thriller series where a junior minister concrete action was taken. One issue is that
“social Europe”, Hollerich added, as well becomes President of the United States after of equal citizenship rights for Christian
as its attitude to refugees, where she had a catastrophic attack kills everyone above him minorities in the Middle East, something
“not engaged in lazy compromises”.  in the line of succession. which the Vatican has long lobbied for.
Von der Leyen, a member of The Vatican is a complex institution where The report has been welcomed in Rome,
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU, was transparency is often in short supply. It finds but words are judged by actions, and the case
proposed by the European Council on it hard to shake off a reputation for secrecy of Asia Bibi, the Catholic woman who had
2 July as successor to the outgoing Jean- and has not been helped by its handling of been falsely convicted for blasphemy, is not
Claude Juncker, and approved on 16 July. stories in the past, which thrust it in the lime- reassuring. The Foreign Office reportedly
However, many European politicians light. The tragic case of Emanuela Orlandi, recommended that the UK should not offer
complained about a lack of democracy the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican employee asylum to Bibi. She is now in Canada.
and transparency surrounding the missing for 36 years, is an example of where

C
appointment. Comece has vigorously the Holy See has allowed a perception to ARDINAL MARC Ouellet, the prefect
backed closer European integration. develop that it has something to hide. of the Roman Curia’s bishop-making
Under Francis’ reform of communications body, has been asked to stay in post,
this is changing, and there is a concerted effort despite reaching the retirement age
UNITED STATES to respond to journalists’ queries with accurate of 75. The cardinal’s spokesman told Quebec’s
information. The Vatican is now proactively Le Journal de Montréal that the Pope is
Bransfield put co-operating in the search for Orlandi, open-
ing two tombs in the Teutonic cemetery and
extending his service for an unspecified time.
The Quebecois cardinal’s role is the human
under sanctions examining the remains. This is new.
The decision to appoint a non-journalist
resources chief to the pope, advising him on
appointing bishops across the Church. Ouellet,
as director of the Holy See Press Office shows in post since 2010, is known as an experienced,
THE VATICAN announced a set of that Pope Francis doesn’t see a need for a spin cautious-minded theologian aligned with the
sanctions against Bishop Michael doctor. He wants a trusted, non-partisan thinking of Benedict XVI. He has carefully
Bransfield, the former bishop of figure who will deliver the message. remained loyal to Francis, although some in
Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, Transparency and trustworthiness equal Rome whisper that he is setting himself up
writes Michael Sean Winters. The credibility. Gisotti, who only agreed to take as the conservative candidate for the papacy.
bishop is barred from residing in his the job on a temporary basis, was appreciated The cardinal is one of several senior Curial
former diocese and from saying public by journalists for his swift responses to queries, figures to reach 75. Francis seems in no rush
Mass anywhere. Last September, and the sense he was serving the Church to replace them – so he can make a series of
Bransfield’s resignation was accepted rather than any other agenda. swift personnel moves when the time is right.
and an investigation launched into There is still a long way to go. Credibility And on the subject of taking leave, I will
alleged financial improprieties and his also requires boldness and fresh faces, and be taking a break from the column for two
alleged sexual harassment of priests. the Holy See media team remains largely male weeks. See you for the 17 August double issue.

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NEWS BRIEFING
F R O M B R I TA I N A N D I R E L A N D

Commonwealth Office (FCO) September, an event which London Hospital, where Tafida
Support for Persecuted attracts more than 250,000 is being treated, say there is no
Christians, said: “Accepting the people over three days. chance she will recover, two
recommendations in full is a Ahead of the National doctors who examined Tafida
measure of how seriously the Ploughing Championships at by video link from the Gaslini
Government is taking this issue Ballintrane in Co Carlow on Children’s Hospital in Genoa
and, I hope, a recognition at 17-19 September, Bishop Nulty have said they would be willing
the highest level that freedom has asked people to choose to care for her in Italy. Her
of religion or belief is a their favourite prayer, such as mother, Shelina Begum
fundamental human right.” the Rosary, or the Lord’s (pictured below) and her
Prayer, and submit it to family believe she can recover if
Archbishop Eamon Martin of prayerattheploughing she is given more time.
Armagh has spoken of his @kandle.ie by 10 September. In a statement on 18 July,
shock after a car was driven at A shortlist of the most Bishop Sherrington cautioned:
The Government has backed speed at a crowd gathered in St popular prayers will be “Those of us not in possession
the findings of an independent Patrick’s Cemetery in Dundalk, displayed at the Kildare and of all the relevant information
review into the plight of Co Louth, last Sunday during Leighlin stand at the might best be reserved in our
persecuted Christians, with the blessing of the graves. Ploughing Championships. judgement.”
MPs voting unanimously on An elderly man was injured He hoped that doctors from
Thursday last week to adopt its after being struck by the car, the Gaslini Children’s Hospital
recommendations on which had been parked in the in Genoa will be given time and
protecting freedom of religion. graveyard. Irish police arrested an opportunity “to come to a
The review’s final report, the male driver. well informed view” and to
which was released earlier this Archbishop Martin told The share their prognosis with
month, recommended that the Tablet that the parish priest, Fr doctors in London. “Such
Government consider O’Hagan, said the episode was international co-operation is
imposing sanctions on “traumatic and frightening”. He essential good practice in the
countries that persecuted said his prayers were with the care of tragically difficult lives,”
people because of their beliefs. injured man and he hoped he he said.
Former Foreign Minister Sir would recover soon, adding: “It
Alan Duncan (pictured), who is an opportunity for all of us Ordinariate anniversary
resigned on Monday ahead of just to think about how fragile Cardinal Vincent Nichols is
the result of the Conservative our lives are. We have to look due to celebrate the tenth
leadership race, told the House after each other and take care The lead bishop for life issues anniversary of Anglicanorum
of Commons last week that of each other at all times.” in England and Wales, Bishop Coetibus, the Apostolic
“the Government has decided John Sherrington, has called Constitution that established
to accept every Search for favourite prayer for international co-operation the Anglican Ordinariate, by
recommendation in full” and Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare in the case of Tafida Raqeeb, a preaching at a Mass at the
pledged to “put freedom of and Leighlin has launched a comatose five-year-old whom Ordinariate-run church of the
religion or belief at the heart of search for Ireland’s best-loved London doctors said should be Precious Blood in Borough,
Foreign Office culture”. prayer. The “Prayer at the allowed to die after she south-east London, on
Bishop Philip Mounstephen, Ploughing” initiative is linked suffered a brain arteriovenous Saturday 9 November.
who chaired the Independent with the nation’s annual malformation (AVM).
Review into Foreign and ploughing competition in While doctors at the Royal Compiled by Liz Dodd.

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F R O M B R I TA I N A N D I R E L A N D
PHOTO: PA/© DAVID BURKE

PERSON IN Rock star Alice Cooper on his conversion: “Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is
THE NEWS easy. But being a Christian, that's a tough call. That’s the real rebellion.”

BREXIT / Politicians urged to find ‘solution that is good for all’ encouraged politicians from all ... because they want to.”
sides to get talking to restore the The former parish priest and

Irish people don’t institutions. “I think that is vital


for the future,” he said.
The Archdiocese of Armagh,
director of adult faith formation
in Kilmore sent a message of sol-
idarity to Catholic women in his

want hard border, with a Catholic population of more


than a quarter of a million, strad-
dles the border, encompassing
address, acknowledging that “as
a Church we rely heavily on the
cooperation, support and help of

says new bishop most of the counties of Armagh,


Louth and Tyrone as well as parts
of counties Derry and Meath.
women to achieve anything
worthwhile”. He said the contri-
bution of women “needs further
In his address in St Patrick’s enhancement and development
Cathedral in Armagh, the bishop, if we are to flourish in the future”.
SARAH MAC DONALD who will assist Archbishop Eamon Referring to the Pope’s recent
Martin and be based outside warning, in his Exhortation
THE NEW auxiliary bishop for the Dundalk, acknowledged that “the Christus Vivit – that “a Church
Archdiocese of Armagh has Irish Church’s mistakes and fail- that is overly fearful and tied to
warned that people in Northern ures have caused deep hurt and its structures can be ... critical of
Ireland “don’t want a hard bor- pain to many people” who have efforts to defend the rights of
der” and are worried “it could lead “turned their backs to us and women, and constantly point out
to violence again”. walked away”.Referring to the the risks and the potential errors
Speaking to The Tablet on “dethroning” of Catholicism across of those demands” – he said a liv-
Sunday after his episcopal ordi- the Western world, where it is ing Church can be attentive to the
nation, Bishop Michael Router “gradually disentangling” from legitimate claims of women who
stressed that a hard border would the “dominant institutions of soci- seek greater justice and equality.
be “a very regressive step” for the eties where it long held political Stressing the need for greater
island of Ireland. “People are very and social power”, he said the fact education and formation of com-
worried that we will have some that the Church had been stripped mitted lay people to provide
form of checkpoints or customs Bishop Michael Router of its former power and prestige leadership at a liturgical, spiritual
on the border and it could lead was not a negative thing. and administrative level and in
to violence again. Anything that that politicians would “work Paradoxically, it liberates the evangelisation, he told the packed
can be done to avoid that we will together and work out a solution Church “to find a new and creative cathedral, with civil and religious
try to do,” he said. that is for the good of all the people voice in the present,” he said. leaders present from all sides of
Bishop Router emphasised that on the island, both communities “The Church will be smaller and the community, “Now is the time
a hard border was a threat to in Northern Ireland and people humbler in the future but those for us, people and clergy together,
everything that had been estab- in the South”. who are involved, who practise to listen to the promptings of the
lished through the peace process On the impasse in Stormont, regularly, who volunteer their Holy Spirit in order to shape a
over the past years in Northern the 54-year-old, who was ordained time, energy and resources to sup- Church fit for purpose in the
Ireland. He expressed the hope for the Diocese of Kilmore in 1989 port the mission, will be doing it twenty-first century.”

in Karachi, Sr Berchmans was Ireland, the former Archbishop


Nun is first woman to awarded the “Sitara-i-Quaid-i- of Canterbury, Lord (Rowan)
Azam”, one of the highest civil Williams of Oystermouth, and Sir
win prestigious award awards given by the President of
of Pakistan.
Michael Wilshaw, former Chief
Executive of Ofsted and St Mary’s
The award citation celebrated alumnus.
AN IRISH NUN has been awarded to caring for and educating the her “constant adherence to the call Cardinal Nichols said: “Sr
the Benedict medal by St Mary’s young and homeless, also focused of duty over a span of 59 years, Berchmans’ examples of inclu-
University, Twickenham, in recog- on education in other countries. which has made Sister sivity and respect will guide
nition of her work teaching and The first convent of Jesus and Berchmans a living our graduates as they
promoting interfaith relations in Mary in Pakistan was opened by example to emulate”. embark on their own
Pakistan, writes Rose Gamble. four sisters in Lahore in 1876. Sr During her teaching teaching journeys and
The medal was presented to Sr Berchmans was sent to Pakistan career, Sr Berchmans will inspire future gen-
Berchmans Conway (inset) by the in 1953, aged 24. taught thousands of erations.” The President
Archbishop of Westminster and The award is in recognition of students, including the of Ireland, Michael D.
Chancellor of St Mary’s, Cardinal her almost 70 years of teaching, late prime minister of Higgins, described Sr
Vincent Nichols, at the university’s most of which was spent in Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto. Berchmans as an illustration of
summer graduation ceremony at Pakistan, where she taught Sr Berchmans is the first the “beauty and potential of teach-
Westminster Cathedral. Muslim, Christian, Parsi and woman to receive the Benedict ing”. He said: “Through her words
Sr Berchmans, born Bernadette Hindu children at the convents Medal. It was previously awarded and actions, Sr Berchmans has
Conway in 1929 in County Clare, of Jesus and Mary in Lahore and to Ecumenical Patriarch not only inspired her students but
joined the Congregation of the later in Murree and Karachi. Bartholomew of Constantinople, encouraged those she met to make
Religious of Jesus and Mary in In 2012, while she was Principal Dr Richard Clarke, Archbishop of positive and lasting contributions
1951. The congregation, dedicated of the convent of Jesus and Mary Armagh and Primate of All to society.”

For daily news updates visit www.thetablet.co.uk 27 JULY 2019 | THE TABLET | 29
30_Tablet27Jul19 News.qxp_Tablet features spread 7/23/19 6:48 PM Page 30

NEWS
F R O M B R I TA I N A N D I R E L A N D

NORTHERN IRELAND PEOPLE AND PLANET CAMPAIGN / Students award degree-style classifications
Abortion change
discriminatory, Catholic universities fail league
say disability
campaigners
table sustainability tests
HUNDREDS OF people with LIZ DODD that “passed”, Liverpool Hope
Down’s syndrome and their fam- University scored highly for its
ilies have signed an open letter to CATHOLIC universities are among sustainability strategy, and for
the Prime Minister, Theresa May, the worst in the country for envi- waste and recycling management.
who was due to step down on ronmental and ethical practices, Newman University, which was
Wednesday, asking her to stop the according to a sustainability ranked 76th, scored very highly
Government from introducing league table released this week. for its ethical investment policy
abortion on the grounds of dis- Three Catholic universities - and its carbon reduction.
ability in Northern Ireland, writes Roehampton, St Mary’s University Phill Dixon, Chief Operating
Liz Dodd. Twickenham and Leeds Trinity - Officer at Leeds Trinity University,
Last week a landmark legal ranked as “failed” in the table, said: “The data presented by
amendment that will legalise which is compiled by the student People and Planet in our view is
abortion in Northern Ireland was campaigning network People and not representative of our
attached to a separate Northern Planet in the style of degree clas- approach to environmental sus-
Ireland bill by the Labour MP sifications. Liverpool Hope ethical investment and carbon tainability at Leeds Trinity. We
Stella Creasy, and passed with University was awarded a third, management and reduction. were disappointed to have not
overwhelming support (332 to while Newman University, the While it received points for paying been given the appropriate
99). The legislation will also highest-scoring Catholic institute, workers a Living Wage, higher opportunity to respond to the
legalise abortion on the grounds was awarded a 2:2. than the minimum wage, it was assessment provided by People
of disability. The league table ranks univer- criticised for not working with its and Planet and don’t feel the posi-
Lord Shinkwin, a disability sities on their environmental supply chain to improve workers’ tion is truly representative of
rights campaigner and auditing and management, their rights. St Mary’s, which was where we are. However, we recog-
Conservative Peer, told the ethical investments and banking, ranked 140th, also scored zero nise the sustainability challenges
House of Lords last week that and on their carbon, water, waste points in a number of environ- and that improvements can
90 per cent of pregnancies and recycling management. It also mental categories and on ethical always be made.” The top-ranked
diagnosed with Down’s allocates points for sustainable investment. It was awarded university was the University of
syndrome in England and Wales energy sources, for workers’ rights, points, however, for its work on Gloucestershire. Others in the top
are aborted. “What is proposed and for student and staff engage- recycling and carbon and water five included Manchester Metro-
in the Bill drives a coach and ment. It is based on information reduction, and for workers’ rights. politan University, City University
horses through disability made public on the university In 132nd place, Roehampton and Northumbria. Daniel Hale,
equality,” he said. He asked website and other independent University was praised for its eth- Cafod’s head of campaigns, said:
peers how they could reconcile and external verification agencies. ical investment policy, which “We have to remember that
the 25th anniversary of the Leeds Trinity, which was in the screened out certain companies league tables like these are indi-
Disability Discrimination Act bottom five of all universities in such as arms companies. It also cators. The important thing is not
with “the message of the Bill, the UK, ranked 150 out of 154, scored highly for environmental winning competitions but putting
which is that if you are born was awarded no points for its envi- policy and waste and recycling. in place a plan to tackle the crisis
with a disability, as I was, you ronmental policy and strategy, for Of the two Catholic universities facing our common home.”
are better off dead? For that is
its message to disabled human
beings, their families and the
people of Northern Ireland.” Aid millions spent on supporting fossil fuels, Cafod says
More than 700 people with
Down’s syndrome have signed a
letter asking May to intervene. NEW RESEARCH by Cafod has billion of support the UK provides energy support does not under-
“Please do not turn a blind eye. revealed that the UK Government for energy in developing coun- mine the UK’s commitment to
This is discrimination and will still spends billions of pounds of tries, 60 per cent goes towards climate change action and lifts peo-
have a devastating impact on its aid budget on supporting fossil fossil fuels. ple out of poverty”. International
the community of people fuels, despite pledging to take A large proportion – 39 per cent Development Secretary Rory
with Down’s syndrome,” the urgent action on climate change, – of the UK’s support for overseas Stewart – or his successor –
letter reads. writes Liz Dodd. energy is classed as Official should ensure the UK leads the
An SNP MP who voted The analysis, undertaken by the Development Assistance (ODA), world by stopping any new aid
against the amendment has Overseas Development Institute or aid, and is aimed at reaching money for fossil fuels and retaining
spoken of the “traumatic” abuse in collaboration with Cafod, found people in poverty. Of that money, oversight of how aid money is spent
she received afterwards. Dr Lisa that the Government has made 22 per cent went to support fossil by departments outside of
Cameron, who sits for East no discernible changes to its over- fuels, “despite ODA being targeted Department for International
Kilbride, Strathaven and seas energy support since signing at helping people living in poverty Development, Cafod said.
Lesmahagow and is a member up to both the Sustainable – who will be hardest hit by climate Dr Sarah Wykes, Cafod’s lead
of the Church of Scotland, said Development Goals and the Paris change,” Cafod said. It called on analyst on climate change and
she had been threatened with Agreement in 2015. the Government to develop “a energy, said: “It’s shocking that
deselection by colleagues In a report released on Tuesday more coherent, cross-departmental UK aid money is still being spent
despite it being a free vote. Cafod revealed that, of the £7.8 approach to ensure overseas on fossil fuels overseas.”

30 | THE TABLET | 27 JULY 2019 For daily news updates visit www.thetablet.co.uk
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AC RO S S T H E UN I V E RS E

The Moon shines bright


GU Y CONS OL MAG NO

T
HIS MONTH has seen an endless atmosphere, and no daytime sky full of
parade of 50-year retrospectives blue light, you can plan on non-stop
for Apollo 11. Meanwhile, in perfect observing for optical telescopes
recent years a parade of nations as long as you avoid looking too close to
including India, China and Japan have the Sun or Earth during the lunar
retraced Apollo’s orbit to the Moon with daytime. Even better, radio telescopes
robotic probes. But what can we look placed on the far side of the Moon will be
forward to when humans finally get back continually shielded from terrestrial
to the Moon? radio signals, which are an ever-growing
As Apollo 11 showed us, you can travel source of interference on Earth.
from the Earth to the Moon in less than When lava flooded the deep basins to
four days. The Moon is close enough that Just as the laws of make the flat dark “mare” regions (the
it is inside Earth’s magnetic field, which markings we can see even with the naked
shields it from the cosmic rays that attack
physics are the same on eye as the “man in the moon”), it left
spaceships headed beyond our the Moon as the Earth, behind long lava tubes, which are now
neighbourhood. When the Moon orbits empty caves. Stop up the ends, fill the
the Earth over the course of a month, it
so are the temptations tubes with oxygen (ripped from the
keeps one side always pointed of greed and envy surrounding rock by the abundant solar
earthwards; as it turns, each spot on its electric power), and these tubes would
surface sees sunlight for half its orbit, 14 make excellent places to build a lunar
days, then spins out of the sunlight for for science and manufacturing. In fact, colony. Beyond the lunar manufacturers,
another 14 days. The Moon is much water ice has been detected at the bottom the astronomers and other scientists,
smaller than the Earth, so the force of of certain craters at the lunar poles, these would make a great home for those
gravity at its surface is only a sixth of which are in constant shadow, while whose age or infirmities make life in
what we feel here. That’s not enough certain lunar mountains near the polar Earth’s gravity a constant challenge.
gravity to hold on to an atmosphere, so regions see non-stop sunlight. In fact, the science fiction writer
the surface is a near-perfect vacuum. The poles may well become highly Robert Heinlein once wrote a story
As we learn more about lunar geology, contested among different nations; around an even bolder use of these sites.
we should be able to identify locations there’s only so much ice or sunlit Imagine living in one of those
rich in minerals that could be used for mountains to go around. Just as the laws pressurised caves, kilometres long and
manufacturing. Even now, start-ups are of physics are the same on the Moon as hundreds of metres wide. With the
exploring how manufacturing in a the Earth, so are the temptations of Moon’s low gravity and enough air
vacuum with 14-day stretches of solar greed, envy and the rest. pressure, you could strap on a pair of
power can change the equation of what Astronomers have been excited for wings, flap your arms and fly!
makes economic sense. years over the prospect of building
The lack of air and water is a problem observatories on the Moon. With no Guy Consolmagno SJ is director of the
for human visitors, but it can be a benefit clouds or light pollution reflecting off an Vatican Observatory.

Glimpses of Eden
JONAT H A N T UL LO C H

LAST WEEK this bench, halfway up the hill hawthorn, I got back on my bike and
and snuggling beneath a leaning hawthorn, pedalled over the next hill to another bench
was an idyllic place to work. Grasshoppers – my second-favourite, warm-weather office.
had serenaded my typing, blackcaps sang On my last working day here, the foxgloves
from the nearby ash trees and bumblebees and Queen Anne’s lace had been out in full
foraged peacefully in the clover. Today, no flower. Now in high summer, I had to draw
sooner had I opened my laptop than the back curtains of bracken and willowherb to
screen was decorated with a parabola of reach my desk. I’d only just got settled
little black flies. They were in my mouth when a column of wasps moved menacingly
and ears too. The thunderbug season has annoying insects often explode at this time in on me. I’d disturbed their nest. I got
broken upon us. of year. They come into the house too, away as quickly as possible. No hard
Also known as thrips, thunderflies, corn getting under the glass of our framed feelings. Thunderbugs, wasps, humans …
lice and harvestflies, numbers of these itchy, pictures. Unable to work beneath the we’re all just trying to make a living.

Volume 273 // No. 9312 // ISSN: 0039 8837


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