Tablet director banned from speaking in Scottish archdiocese

A feminist theologian who is a director of UK Catholic weekly The Tablet has been banned from speaking on church property in a Scottish archdiocese.

Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews and Edinburgh has ordered the Edinburgh Circle of the Newman Association to cancel an event at which Professor Tina Beattie was due to speak this month.

The archbishop was acting on instructions from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In a July letter which was only revealed last week, he wrote: “Professor Beattie is known to have frequently called into question the Church’s teaching.

“I would therefore ask you to cancel this event, as it may not proceed or be publicised on any Church property in this archdiocese.”

The archbishop also rebuked the association for organising a talk by theologian Joe Fitzpatrick, who has written a book critiquing original sin and seeking to make Genesis compatible with evolution.

Archbishop Cushley said that dogmatic teaching can’t be brought into question on Church property.

Professor Beattie, Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Roehampton, was prevented from undertaking engagements in Catholic institutions in two countries in 2012.

She was told one cancellation was because she had been a signatory to a letter in The Times in London arguing that Catholics could support civil same-sex marriage in good conscience.

On September 2, Professor Beattie wrote to Archbishop Cushley expressing her concern at his July decision, but has yet to hear a reply.

“You say that I am ‘known to have frequently called into question the Church’s teaching’. Known by whom, in what context and with reference to which of my published works?” she queried.

“Never in my published writings or talks have [I] questioned any of the doctrinal mysteries of the Catholic Faith.

“On the contrary, I have consistently argued in defence of even the most frequently challenged doctrines of the Church.”

She wrote that she believes that Catholics could enter a “more reasoned and nuanced public dialogue” about same-sex marriage than the hierarchy allowed.

The Edinburgh association has been offered a meeting with diocesan officials including Msgr Patrick Burke, one the archdiocese’s vicars-general and formerly of the CDF.


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