Tina Beattie calls on English Bishops to defend her dissent

In comments to The Guardian newspaper about the cancellation of her lecture tour at San Diego university Prof. Tina Beattie is reported as calling on the Bishops of England and Wales to rally to her cause of dissenting from teachings of the Church:

“I think it’s a really important time for the Church in this country because we have so far been not divided by this kind of ugly rupture,” Beattie told the Guardian, calling on the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales to show a “very strong united front” in the face of any attempt to stifle dissent. “There’s been a creative atmosphere of people being able to hold different positions in this country without it causing this kind of ugliness and I really think it’s vital that the Bishops collectively stand up to protect that now.”

Just to be clear here, Prof Tina Beattie is calling on the Bishops of England and Wales to defend the following dissent from the teachings of the Catholic Church:

Protect the Pope comment: It is surprising that Prof.Tina Beattie believes that the Bishops of England and Wales would be sympathetic to her call to defend her dissent from the teachings of the Church.

Somehow she thinks that the bishops are responsible for protecting what she describes as ‘the creative atmosphere’ that allows such scandalous dissent that , for example, employs the dogma of the Most Holy Trinity to defend the pro-abortion argument that the early embryo is not a person worthy of protection. That she believes the bishops will defend her use of the doctrine of Christ’s marriage to the Church to support same-sex marriage is incomprehensible.

What in the world leads her to hope that the bishops of England and Wales will support her freedom as a Catholic theologian to describe the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as an act of homosexual intercourse?

It’s not the Catholic blogs commenting on her dissent that have caused the ‘ugly rupture’ in the communion of the Church in this country but the silent acquiescence over decades to Prof. Tina Beattie’s scandalous and shocking misuse of the doctrines of the Church to justify immorality.

Year after year she has challenged the teachings of the Church through the pages of The Tablet and not a word of caution or censure has been issued, instead she has been made a president of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain, a director of The Tablet, a theological adviser to CAFOD and the Director of the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Catholic Studies at Roehampton University.

And Prof. Beattie claims to have the trust of Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton Diocese:

‘I have the trust of Bishop Declan. He has reiterated his support for me this week, acknowledging that, while he does not agree with all my theological positions, he respects my right to say what I think in my ‘search along the pathway of truth’.

All this together is the cause of the ‘ugly rupture’ in the communion of the Church, and not a couple of Catholic blogs making known exactly what Prof. Tina Beattie has been writing as a Catholic theologian.




26 comments to Tina Beattie calls on English Bishops to defend her dissent

  • Karla

    Hope not to hear a single Bishop vocalise their support for her dissent

  • Paul Smyth

    I hope some Journalist phones around the bishops and asks them. She seems pretty sure that some, maybe many, do support her. Remember what the Pope said, “It is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate.”

    In the Year of Faith it would be useful to air which of our bishops are actually in communion with the Magisterium. I suspect unfortunately she is right that they have indeed encouraged dissent, she works pretty closely to many of them, so maybe she should know.

  • Genty

    Ms Beattie is going the way of that famous and famously dissenting nun Lavinia Byrne.

  • “Year after year she has challenged the teachings of the Church through the pages of The Tablet and not a word of caution or censure has been issued, instead she has been made a president of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain, a director of The Tablet, a theological adviser to CAFOD and the Director of the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Catholic Studies at Roehampton University.”

    This, of course, explains in large part why Archbishop Nichols found himself excluded from the last consistory ad the next.

    And if La Beattie does, indeed, enjoy “the trust of Bishop Declan (Lang)” then not only will he never find himself in the consistory lists, he might very well join the growing number of diocesan ordinaries who have been involuntarily retired under CCJ 401 §2.

  • sam mace

    It does make me laugh when you post up an article on freedom of speech and then you post up many posts like this which want to stop this woman from basically giving her opinion on how she see’s her faith which is very personal. The hysterics over the expelled green party member and then the soho mass article show what hypocrisy is deacon. Why can’t people in your church simply have different views on these issues, you all have broadly the same ideas on what is god and whether god exists. Sometimes I just wish more religious groups would be more like the Quakers.

    • Michael B Rooke

      Cardinal Manning wrote “ How can they make acts of faith who misinterpret the revelation of God ; who criticise it by their own opinions ; who twist and turn and torture His revealed word into their own sense? These are not divine acts, but human.; they are acts rather of unbelief than of faith.”

      The context is given below.

      “3. Now there are two things necessary to a doctrine of faith or to an act of Catholic faith. One is, that God shall have revealed unto His Apostles the truth that we believe; and the other is, that His Church should teach it… We believe because God is the truth Deus est veritas et verax He is the true God, truth Himself, and- He is veracious and He cannot deceive us. It is therefore necessary that our faith should terminate upon the authority of God, and if our faith terminates upon the authority of God, it is impossible that we can err. We have an infallible reason for believing, because it is the authority of God Himself Who teaches us what to believe.

      And now let us see, in passing, what is the consequence of rejecting this principle. How can they make acts of faith who misinterpret the revelation of God ; who criticise it by their own opinions ; who twist and turn and torture His revealed word into their own sense?

      These are not divine acts, but human.; they are acts rather of unbelief than of faith.

      The word of God is the word of God only in the sense in which God spoke it. The word of God turned and tortured and twisted by the criticism of the individual mind becomes the word of man it ceases to be the word of God.
      How, then, can they make acts of faith who, taking the revelation of God apart from the authority of the Church of God, interpret it for themselves and against the teaching of that authority? The material object of faith ceases to exist. Scripture misinterpreted ceases to be the Scripture. The greatest of modern impostures, and I will say the master error of modem heresies, is what is paraded as scientific history and scientific criticism in the matter of revelation.” [2] page 66

      On infallibility he wrote

      “The indissoluble union, of the Holy Ghost with the Church carries these two truths as immediate consequences : first, that the unity of the Church is absolute, numerical, and indivisible, like the unity of nature in God, and of the personality in Jesus Christ: and secondly, that its infallibility is perpetual.”
      [1] Page 87

      “And therefore the infallibility of the Church is perpetual, and the truths of revelation are so. Enunciated by the Church as to anticipate all research,- and to exclude from their sphere all human criticism.”
      [1]Page 98

      “I do not know in what words the infallibility of the Church and the immutability of its doctrines can be more amply affirmed. For they declare (1.) that by virtue of the perpetual presence of this unction which is the Holy Ghost, the Church possesses the whole revelation of God ; (2.) that it is preserved by Divine assistance, unmixed, and in all its purity ; and, (3.) that it is enunciated perpetually through the same guidance by a voice which cannot lie. Now let us draw out the consequences of this truth. 1. The first is that all the doctrines of the Church to this day are incorrupt. I mean that they are as pure to-day as on the day of Pentecost ; and that, because
      they are the perpetual utterances of the Spirit of Truth, by whom the Church both in teaching and
      believing is preserved from error. Individuals may err, but the Church is not an individual. It is the
      body of a Divine head united indissolubly to Him. It is the temple’ of the Holy Ghost united inseparably to His presence.”
      [1] Page 219 seq.

      “The presence of the Holy Ghost in the Church is the source of its infallibility; the presence of the Holy Ghost in the soul is the source of its sanctification. These two operations of the same Spirit
      are in perfect harmony. The test of the spiritual man is his conformity to the mind of the Church.”
      [2] Page vi

      “But faith needs a divine authority, and a divine authority must be infallible. It is only playing with terms and using words of no meaning if we speak of a divine authority which is not infallible. Any teacher, be it a man or corporate body, which disclaims infallibility cannot be a divine teacher.”
      [2] Page 70

      “ ” Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” And the word of Christ is the voice of the living Church of God in every age, spreading from the sunrise to the sunset, speaking not only as a human and historical witness which has filled the world for eighteen centuries, but speaking as a supernatural and divine witness, because the Head of it is the Incarnate Truth Himself
      at the right hand of His Father ; and the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Christ, dwells in it and guides it, and speaks by it as the organ of His Voice.”
      [2 ]Page 73

      “God sustains and preserves His Church by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, the Fountain of all illumination and of all grace, in its conformity with His own divine intelligence. He guides the
      Catholic Church in the path of His eternal truth. That which we call infallibility is nothing but this : the Church cannot err from the path of revealed truth. And they who are faithful to the Church are illuminated and sanctified, even in the midst of the darkness and the distortion of this nineteenth century.”
      [2] Page 229

      The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost
      The Internal Mission of the Holy Ghost

    • Andrzej


      No one here is denying Prof. Beattie’s right to free speech. What we are opposed to is her claim that she is doing it from the position of someone representing our Church. She is NOT a Catholic theologian and her continuing use of Catholic money our institutions raises our objection. This is basically an insider thing. In a more secular language: If she doesn’t like the club’s rules, then she is free to join any other club or start he own – but she isn’t free to use our club’s premise to ruin it.

    • Eric


      It is important to mention freedom of speech. But freedom of speach is the freedom to speak without legal hinderance. I don’t think that anyone is suggesting that Tina Beattie be gagged or jailed for speaking her mind, they are simply using their freedom of speach in return to criticise her. Freedom of speach is the right to be speak, it is not the right to be listened to or have your views respected, unchallenged or facilitated.

      People csn have different views on this and other issue and they do. But that doesn’t make both sides equally right.

  • Dylan

    This blog is to be highly commended.

    It is truly wonderful to see an ordained minister of the Church standing up for the truth with courage and charity. May we have more deacons and priests who are willing to defend what it right and just. As many Sees become vacant, may we also be given holy bishops who are wedded to the virtue of courage.

    Keep up the good work, Deacon Nick.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    In the letter to the Times Beattie and her fellow dissidents quoted extensively from a paper by Cardinal Hume but omitted two key sentences:

    First, the Church has always taught that the sexual (genital) expression of love is intended by God’s plan of creation to find its place exclusively within marriage between a man and a woman. The Church therefore cannot in any way equate a homosexual partnership with a heterosexual marriage.

    By taking material out of context in that way they intended to imply that Cardinal Hume was favourable to homosexual marriage when in fact he had said the opposite. That is gross dishonesty and utterly shameful in an academic. In the absence of a correction I would have thought that any academic employer should take appropriate action. They not only misrepresented Cardinal Hume’s position but defamed a dead man by implying that he was not faithful to the teachings of the Church.

    This was an attack on the reputation of a former Bishop and Cardinal. I would have thought that any living Bishop should give a very wide berth to any idea of supporting Beattie et al in case they get the same treatment when they are dead and not able to defend themselves.

    As for her disgusting remarks about the Mass just what does someone who claims to be a Catholic theologian have to do before they are reprimanded and dealt with by the Church authorities?

    (By the way my emails to the Archdiocese and the Warwick Street parish asking whether the Parish had affiliated itself to the pro-homosexual sex organisation in the United States have so far gone unanswered. Frankly I am not surprised!)

  • Nicolas Bellord

    Sam Mace: The objection is principally to Beattie calling herself a Catholic Theologian and occupying posts funded by the Catholic Church and then attacking the teaching of the Church. If she disagrees with those essential teachings then she should be honest enough to resign from those posts. She would then be free to express her opinions and would not invite the response you are seeing here. But people would still be free to criticise her opinions.

    However there are limits to free speech and when somebody describes something that is sacred to others such as the Mass as an act of homosexual intercourse that is bound to anger and outrage those people. If she was outside the Church it is an opinion which one could dismiss as just idiotic but for somebody on the payroll of a Catholic institution is totally unacceptable.

    As for the lady expelled from the Green Party can you not see that you arguing against yourself? If Beattie was to express an opinion that she or did not like the novels of Jane Austen or supported the Labour party then one might disagree with her but such opinions would have nothing to do with or contradict the teachings of the institution that employs her. It would be wrong to attack her personally. In the same way I assume that the Green Party’s policy is the protection of the environment and I cannot see what homosexual marriage has to do with that. Has homosexual marriage been mentioned in any of their election manifestos? Thus it seems to me that the lady’s views on homosexual marriage are wholly irrelevant to her being a councillor for the Green Party and to expel is entirely wrong as it would be wrong to expel Beattie from her posts if she had certain views on the novels of Jane Austen.

    • Eric

      “Has homosexual marriage been mentioned in any of their election manifestos?”

      YES. More often and more forcefully and consistantly than any other party.

      In 2010 they even published a special LGBT manifesto. They have every right to expell someone who doesn’t stick to the rules just as the Church has every right to expel Beattie.

    • sam mace

      The Green party are a left of center party which have campaigned for marriage equality for a good while now, the former leader of the party and its only MP Caroline Lucas believes in it passionately i believe. This is common knowledge surely? And fair enough with the defense of arguing against this woman but the reactions i have seen on this site have been rather hysterical. One person even suggested excommunication? maybe this is why the church is struggling in western Europe because instead of communicating within its ranks of theological discussion it just decides to ignore it.

      • savvy


        Where was your speech when this was happening on the other side? When humane Vitae defenders were the ones who are banned from speaking, when Catholic seminaries were expelling priests for not buying into Marxist garbage.

        It’s called poetic justice.

        It’s also a culture shift, where younger Catholics are no longer buying what the hippies are selling them.

        She can argue her case, but to present them as Catholic teaching, is just misleading. People need the right information to make up their minds, not disinformation.

        • sam mace

          Doesn’t christ teach forgiveness not revenge or as you call it poetic justice. I believe I have always supported free speech savvy and yes i do extend this to believers and non believers alike. I would argue she has a right to express her beliefs as her interpretation of what Catholicism should evolve into.

    • sam mace

      Also I reject the limit to free speech, otherwise one could equally argue that the catholic church’s beliefs on homosexuals could be regarded as hate speech by calling people who are gay “disordered” and homosexual love acts ” intrinsically evil” However I wouldn’t ever threaten that right to bigotry as long as it didn’t lead to acts of discrimination and violence.

  • Lynda

    Such people ought not to be allowed to claim to teach in the name of the Catholic Church. If she has been granted such licence by the Church, it needs to be revoked.

  • As Myles Dempsey would say -

    “She is carrying ‘friends’ with her.

    We need to pray for her, even though it might be difficult to do so.

  • Independent

    Forget Catholicism – these views are against Mere Christianity.

  • Deacon Augustine

    Mrs Beattie needs to learn the Catholic doctrine that error has no rights. Despite popular misconception the Second Vatican Council did not teach against this traditional doctrine of the Church – as reaffirmed last week by the head of the CDF Archbishop Muller.

  • George Gregory

    I am glad to see you are referenced by the diocese of Lancaster website

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