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Bishops back Boris and Ed on living wage


THE CHURCH has called on employers to pay a “Living Wage”.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, along with the Catholic Education Service, Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) and Cafod, joined campaigners lobbying for a wage of £7.65 an hour, (or £8.80 in London), higher than the legal rate of £6.31, with 432 employers already signed-up to the campaign.

The campaign is backed by Labour leader Ed Miliband and London Mayor Boris Johnson, who said that “Paying the London Living Wage ensures hard-working Londoners are helped to make ends meet, providing a boost not only for their personal quality of life but delivering indisputable economic dividends to employers too.”

The bishops’ conference are also calling Catholic organisations and charities to promote the campaign, and calling on the 2,100 Catholic schools in England and Wales to sign up.

Quoting the resolution which the bishops’ conference passed last year supporting the Living Wage, which is an essential part of Catholic social teaching, Mgr Marcus Stock, general secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, said that it “fully endorses the principle of the Living Wage and invites Catholic organisations and charities in England and Wales to work towards its implementation.”

Paul Barber, director of the

Workers at a fast food restaurant in north London might welcome the introduction of a Living Wage Photo: PA

Catholic Education Service, said: “The importance of a ‘just wage’ can be found in Catholic social teaching, spanning over 100 years”, beginning with the famous encyclical of Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum. Schools and colleges play a central role in our Catholic communities and we recognise that, though schools often face financial pressure, this is one way in which we can live out our faith in service to the common good,” he said.

Among the employers who have signed up are Barclays, Oxfam, Legal and General and the National Portrait Gallery. Campaigners say it increases retention rates among employees, on top of the moral obligations.

Helen O’Brien, chief executive of CSAN, said that: “Many Catholic Charities are increasingly witnessing more families living in ‘in-work poverty’ and struggling to afford the very basic costs of living.

Heythrop to review controversial programme


A UNIVERSITY college founded by the Society of Jesus has confirmed that it will be reviewing a Freshers’ programme following concerns about its sexual content.

The launch of the Sexual Health and Guidance Week, advertised as “Shag Week 2013”, has prompted concern among some students at Heythrop College in west London.

A spokeswoman for the college,

which has a “modern Catholic ethos” according to its website, said the college was taking the matter seriously.

She said: “The Heythrop Students’ Union runs this week every year to offer information and support to students on important health and welfare issues, and aims to promote a full and rounded attitude towards sexual health and guidance.

“This year prayer sessions, a talk from the ‘Pure in Heart’

The Heythrop shield. The college was established by the Society of Jesus in 1614

group and interfaith perspectives on chastity were added to the calendar of events. Given some concerns raised about one particular session, the college takes this seriously and will be reviewing the programme with the students’ union.” Writing on his blog, Protect the Pope, Deacon Kevin Donnelly said he had been contacted by a member of the college about the students’ dismay at the events.

He wrote: “Protect the Pope has been contacted by a member of Heythrop College who has told us that many students were left disgusted by the perversions promoted during the latest Shag week and protesting that Shag week is imposed on the college by very vocal student groups such as the LGBT Society and Feminist Collective.

“These groups dominate Heythrop students’ union and utilise union resources to promote their militant ideologies and are totally intolerant towards those who express any disagreement.”

Heythrop was established in 1614 in Louvain by the Society of Jesus for the study of philosophy and theology.

Dominican: the poor are hated Embryo legislation deferred


ARCHBISHOP OSCAR Romero’s story is relevant to modern Britain, Fr Timothy Radcliffe has said at a speech in Westminster Abbey.

At his Romero Lecture the former master-general of the Dominicans drew a comparison between the Salvadorean regime of the late 1980s and the anti-poor mood in Britain today. “Romero confronts us with a second question: what is the violence suffered by the poor in our country?”

Talking about the low life expectancy of drug addicts on the street, he said: “People disappeared from the streets of San Salvador because they were murdered by death squads. They disappear from our streets because they die. Our country is afflicted by a vast, hidden violence on the poorest. If we do not open our eyes and respond, then it will surely erupt and destroy our society before long... In Britain, contempt for the poor takes the form of contrasting the so-called good, hardworking poor [with] the imagined multitude of skivers.”


THE GOVERNMENT may not now proceed with the legalisation of three-parent embryos but will instead opt for a consultation.

In response to a Parliamentary question asked this week by Lord Alton, Government minister Earl Howe said: “The Government is currently developing draft regulations, which will describe in more detail the proposed approach for regulating mitochondria donation treatment. The Government is planning to publish these, as part of a public consultation, shortly.”

The plans have received widespread criticism around the world, with Marcy

Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society in Berkeley, California, arguing in the prestigious Nature magazine that Britain was on a “a slippery slope to germline modification”, and that the country would unilaterally cross “a legal and ethical line” observed by the rest of humanity.


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Church magazine hails gay rights activist as a hero Bishops consult Catholics online ahead of synod


CATHOLIC magazine Faith Today has been criticised for running a feature article called “My hero Peter Tatchell” about the gay rights activist.

In the interview managing editor Mike Conway, an official publisher to the Holy See, said he recognised in Mr Tatchell’s “approach to social justice and the dignity of the human person echoes of Catholic social teaching which I am, if I may put it like this, very proud”.

Mr Tatchell is quoted as saying: “The more I learned, the more I realised that homosexuality is part of the natural spectrum of human sexuality. It has existed in every society in every era” and “sexuality and gender issues have been blown out of all proportion by most religious leaders”.

Mr Conway writes that “Peter identifies religious fundamentalism as the greatest threat to human rights”.

He concludes: “It was a privilege to meet with Peter. He is a hero in so many ways: his lack of resentment, his ability to forgive and not hold grudges, and his love for people without fear or favour, is really striking and inspiring.

“Peter Tatchell is not only my hero but also my friend and my brother.”

Mr Tatchell is a longstanding human rights activist who has campaigned on behalf of minorities around the world, but his views on human sexuality are at variance with the Church, and he was among the most prominent organisers of the Protest the Pope rally against Benedict XVI’s state visit to Britain.

Mr Tatchell described Benedict XVI’s teachings as “harsh, intolerant”, “especially his opposition to contraception, women priests, gay equality, abortion, fertility treatment, embryonic stem cell research and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV”.

Mr Conway’s article is preceded by an editor’s letter, in which he states that the Church must grapple with the way its teaching on homosexuality is perceived.

He writes: “There is no doubt that the media perceive the Church as homophobic and condemnatory towards people of different sexual orientation, other than heterosexual. Whereas the truth is that the Church is radical in her teaching towards sexual orientation as she simply refuses to identify any human being purely by their sexual orientation because every person is, just that, a person created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26), called to an eternal destiny and loved by God the Father.”

Continued from Page 1: Elizabeth Davies, the bishops’ marriage and family life officer, who is overseeing the survey, has encouraged the faithful to respond to at least part of the consultation.

“It might help to take some time first to think and pray about what is being asked,” she has said. “Jot down some initial thoughts and mull them over before putting a response together. Don’t feel that every question has to be answered fully in order to make your views known.”

Archbishop Nichols has encouraged the faithful to “focus on those questions that relate to your experience or your study”.

Catholics who don’t have an internet connection can send their answers to their diocese or to Mrs Davies at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, 39 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1BX.

Pope Francis has invited the world’s bishops to discuss challenges to Catholic family life at two synods. The first, known as an extraordinary synod, will take place on October 5-19 2014. An ordinary synod will take place in October 2015. The extraordinary synod, which has fewer participants, will focus on “The pastoral challenges for the family in the context of evangelisation”.

Speaking at the Vatican press conference on Tuesday,

Italian Archbishop Bruno Forte, who will serve as secretary at the extraordinary synod, said that the consultation was part of a “broad and deep process of listening to the life of the Church and of the most pressing challenges posed to her”.

“It is not, therefore, a matter of debating doctrinal questions,” he said. “But rather how to understand how to effectively proclaim the Gospel of the family in the times we are living, characterised by a clear social and spiritual crisis.”

The Vatican sent the consultation to the world’s bishops with the Lineamenta, or preparatory document, of the extraordinary synod. Archbishop Baldisseri has asked the world’s bishops’ conferences to send their responses to the Vatican by the end of January. He will then oversee the preparation of the synod’s Instrumentum Laboris, or working document, which should be published in May.

In an introduction to the consultation, published last week by the Catholic Universe, Archbishop Nichols wrote: “The timescale of this consultation is demanding ... Please do not be put off by the need to act quickly. It is important that we hear from you. Also, please do not think that you have to respond to every question. May I suggest that you focus on those questions that relate to your experience or your study.”

Newsbulletin Bishop launches fund to help elderly in Bethlehem THE BISHOP of Hallam has launched a fund to build a centre for the elderly in Bethlehem.

Nearly 100 people from Hallam diocese and beyond joined Bishop John Rawsthorne at All Saints Catholic high school in Sheffield for the launch of the Hallam (Bethlehem) Fund.

Speaking about the plight of the elderly in

Bethlehem, Bishop Hallam said: “Many have lost their homes and live in refugee camps. They come from ancient Christian communities who can trace their roots to Christ Himself and they now find themselves isolated.”

Those wishing to contribute can visit hallambethlehemfund. com or telephone 07891 072858.

Parish hails £200,000 in donations A PARISH priest is celebrating raising £200,000 to restore a Catholic church in Covent Garden but is still in need of funds.

Despite having raised £200,000, Corpus Christi church in Maiden Lane needs another half a million to bring its work to completion. When Fr Alan Robinson arrived at Corpus Christi three years ago he was asked to restore the church.

Fr Robinson said Corpus Christi was built “as an act of reparation for the indignities offered to the Blessed Sacrament in this country in the 16th century and since.”

Corpus Christi was founded in 1873 and consecrated in 1956. The famous hymn “Sweet Sacrament Divine” and “O Sacred Heart” were written by a parish priest, Fr Francis Stanfield. If you would like to support the restoration of the church, please visit corpuschristi

Ireland to have a referendum AN IRISH bishop has said that the same-sex marriage debate is not about equality, but about the “very nature of marriage itself and the importance society places on the role of mothers and fathers in bringing up children”.

Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare and Leighlin was speaking after it was announced that Ireland would hold a referendum on the issue in 2015.

Priest attacked with hammer A PRIEST was hit in the face with a hammer by burglars at his home in County Armagh, Northern Ireland last week.

Fr Dermot Maloney required hospital and dental treatment after three youths broke into his house at Jonesborough, Newry, and assaulted him.

The burglars left with his wallet, which contained a small amount of cash.

St Benetʼs launches lecture series ST BENET’S HALL at Oxford launched a lecture series yesterday with professor William E Shimon Jr giving a talk on American Catholicism. Next year the lecture will be given by Cardinal Reinhard Marx.

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