The synodal process and COP26 have been the two big stories of the last few weeks, and they came together in one place, the Pugin church of St Augustine in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, where a message from Pope Francis was read out to hundreds of clergy and laity who turned out. Tablet reporter Madoc Cairns, who moved back to London when he rejoined the magazine, went home to Scotland for a visit this week and reports on the Coatbridge Mass. The Pope said in his message: “Time is running out. This occasion must not be wasted, lest we have to face God’s judgement for our failure to be faithful stewards of the world he has entrusted to our care.” A special thank you to all of you who have emailed me about the synodal process. We have made a start with our resource page, The Tablet Synod Watch, and will as time moves on be populating it with content and resources. Please do stay in touch with thoughts, concerns, suggestions and notifications of interesting events happening – or not happening – in your local churches.
1. Pope Francis has warned of “God’s judgement” if COP26 fails, reports Madoc Cairns. Pope Francis is the faith leader above all whose disapproval politicians should fear, comments The Tablet in its leader. Austen Ivereigh writes about how Pope Francis is transforming the way Catholics see themselves in creation. Hundreds of campaigners with Cafod marched for climate justice in Glasgow and London at the weekend. Lucy Gillingham, international programmes officer with Jesuit Missions UK, recently returned from India and headed straight for COP26 in Glasgow. “India is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and biodiverse countries in the world, but also one of the most plagued by climate issues. While I was there, at least 26 people died in floods in Kerala,” she writes.
2. The Nationality and Borders Bill aims to make it as difficult as possible for refugees to get safe haven in the UK. It radically reduces the protection we offer to refugees. Dr Sophie Cartwright of the Jesuit Refugee Service has written the first in a series of five articles about this legislation, currently going through parliament.
3. Vincent Doyle, the son of a priest, recently heard from a priest in a Northern African country asking his charity Coping International for help. “I have a son,” the priest said. “He is almost 15 years old now, I have always provided for him, from what I can, but now my order is pressuring me to leave.”
4. How Labour can still win without sacrificing progressive principles: the problem is not the progressive agenda per se, but the way many of those who believe in it want to enforce it, writes Clifford Longley.
5. The Vatican is calling on bishops across the world to involve Christian leaders from other churches in the synod process in a move that could turn it into the most significant ecumenical event of recent times, writes Christopher Lamb. Madoc Cairns summarises the latest from the dioceses. Sarah Mac Donald reports on the relief that the Vatican has decided to extend the duration of the first phase of the synodal process.
6. The French episcopate, shaken by a report detailing widespread sexual abuse within the Church, has admitted its institutional responsibility for the scandal and called on the Vatican and outside experts asked to help it reform. By Tom Heneghan.
7. Hymns that have not been heard since the destruction of the original Walsingham priory in the Reformation have been rediscovered, reports Abigail Frymann Rouch.
8. The Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland has pledged to hold a number of bishops to account over their treatment of some priests, including overworked elderly priests and gay priests who they have refused to allow work in parishes, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
9. Pope Francis has appointed the first female secretary-general of Vatican City State, writes Christopher Lamb.
10. In the magazine, columnist Christopher Howse on shaking his “booty” – or not – in M&S. More musical reflections from Vatican Observatory director Guy Consolmagno SJ, who writes about the Beatles, the Nasa mission Lucy and other links across space and time. Last Sunday’s gospel was about the widow’s mite, the woman who gave “everything she had to live on” to the Temple treasury. Everything she had to live on didn’t, however, amount to very much: the amount referred to in the text was equivalent to a day’s wage for a poorly paid labourer. Alban McCoy suggests another dimension to this well-known story.