Following her speaking engagements for the Jesuits in the Archdiocese of Southwark and for the Archdiocese of Westminster’s Year of Faith series in February Prof. Tina Beattie will be publicly defending same-sex marriage in the Westminster Faith Debates sponsored by the Religion and Society programme of Lancaster University.
Prof. Beattie will be speaking in the debate, ‘Do Christians really oppose gay marriage?’ on Thursday 18th April at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre. She will be joining John Gummer, the Catholic Conservative politician, in supporting gay marriage.
The Religion and Society’s website provides the following biography of Prof. Beattie:
Tina Beattie is Professor of Theology and the Director of the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Religion, Society and Human Flourishing at Roehampton University, established to promote academic excellence through scholarly collaboration in the study of the Catholic tradition and its influences and contexts.
Her books include “God’s Mother, Eve’s Advocate” (2002) and “New Catholic Feminism: Theology and Theory” (Routledge 2006). Tina is a regular contributor to The Tablet and to the online journal Open Democracy. Television and radio appearances include BBC1, BBC2, Sky News and Al Jazeera, Radio 4 (Start the Week, Beyond Belief, Something Understood,Sunday Worship, Woman’s Hour, the Moral Maze).
Protect the Pope comment: It is clear from Prof. Beattie’s speaker’s biography for the debate that she is being presented as a Catholic theologian, even though she has attempted to distance the Digby Stuart Research Centre by dropping the name ‘Catholic’ from its title.
Prof. Beattie has every right to speak in an academic debate on whatever subject she considers comes under her competence. However, there should be consequences for her relationship with the Catholic Church if she takes a public stance against the teachings of the Church. A basic minimum consequence should be that she is not allowed to present lectures and give workshops in Catholic dioceses and parishes.
If Prof. Beattie’s lecture goes ahead in February as part of the Archdiocese of Westminster’s Year of Faith series then it will appear that some within the Archdiocese support her stance against the Bishops of England and Wales opposition to same-sex marriage legislation. It also continues to give the signal that dissent from the Church’s teaching is considered by the Archdiocese of Westminster as unimportant.
The argument that Prof. Beattie will not be speaking on ‘controversial subjects’ but will confine herself to talking about Our Lady and Lumen Gentium is disingenuous. If the Diocese of Clifton and the University of San Diego banned her from delivering the same lecture because of her public support of gay marriage then the same reason applies to the Archdiocese of Southwark and the Archdiocese of Westminster.
So much for Prof. Beattie being one of the ‘voiceless’ as Barbara Kentish describes her in her justification of Westminster’s invitation to speak in February.