Church of the Sacred Heart in Wimbledon
Eccles and Bosco last November suggested that parishes and other groups invite Tina Beattie to speak in order to "Get her to tell you how much she supports everything the Pope is doing for the Catholic Church". I'm not sure if Sacred Heart Church in Wimbledon is thoughtfully taking up that suggestion but I can't imagine that particular theme will be the text of the talk announced in their Newsletter and recently brought to my attention with the following:
The newsletter of the Parish of the Sacred Heart in Wimbledon, South West London, announces the following (under ‘Parish Organisations’):
“NEWMAN CIRCLE WEDNESDAY 23 JANUARY at 7.30 pm in the Lounge. Dr Tina Beattie will be speaking on ‘As Mary goes, so goes the Church’. All are welcome.”
Sacred Heart Church is a large landmark church and is currently run by the Jesuits – although they announced shortly before Christmas that after many decades they will hand it over to the Archdiocese of Southwark later this year due to rapidly falling Jesuit numbers.
And yes, it’s the same Dr Tina Beattie, Professor in Catholic Studies at Roehampton University only a few miles away, who together with others scandalously wrote to The Times (of London) on 13 August to state that “it is perfectly proper for Catholics, using fully informed consciences, to support the legal extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples”, and who equally scandalously quoted Cardinal Basil Hume, the late Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, in a way which suggested he might have supported their case. They used words from his 1997 document, ‘A Note on the Teaching of the Catholic Church Concerning Homosexuality’: “love between two persons, whether of the same sex, or of a different sex, is to be treasured and respected” whilst omitting to mention that he went on to say that “the Church does not approve of homosexual genital acts” and “homosexual genital acts ... are morally wrong”.
It might also be pointed out that the church is not so far from the residence of the Papal Nuncio where Pope Benedict XVI spent a night during his memorable visit to England in September 2010!
As a result of that letter encouraging dissent from the Church's teaching a lecture due to be given by Dr Beattie at Clifton Cathedral, Bristol was cancelled by the Bishop of Clifton, Rt Rev. Declan Lang, after the intervention of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Subsequently, an invitation to lecture on Mary at the University of San Diego, California was also withdrawn.
Dr Tina Beattie is a Trustee of and regular contributor to The Tablet – a weekly journal which notoriously promotes dissent at every opportunity. In its issue for Saturday 12 January it published a version of Dr Beattie’s lecture on Mary.
We should recall the words of Pope Benedict XVI to the English and Welsh bishops during their ad limina visit to Rome in February 2010: “it is important to recognise dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church’s Magisterium that sets us free.”
The Church in England and Wales is now entering a period of intense public conflict with David Cameron’s coalition government over its obsessive intention to legislate for “gay marriage”. And yet, a renowned parish run by the Jesuits (whose special charism is a vow of obedience to the Holy Father) is unfortunately hosting a public lecture by a serial dissenter to Church teaching on a wide range of issues, women’s ordination among them.
The Church in England and Wales is fighting a profound battle against the forces of secular reaction (though they call it “progress”) and cannot afford to be wrong-footed by parishes who perhaps are not aware of the consequences of what they do and dissenters who most certainly are.
Perhaps the parish might follow Clifton Cathedral and San Diego University and withdraw its invitation to Miss Beattie.