After speaking at Archdioceses of Southwark and Westminster Tina Beattie defends gay marriage in April

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.

30 comments to After speaking at Archdioceses of Southwark and Westminster Tina Beattie defends gay marriage in April

  • Michael Petek

    When a person who is ostensibly a Christian supports the ridiculous mockery of marriage in which same-sex unions consist, this is a sure sign of the sin against the Holy Spirit.

  • Pravin Thevathasan

    A person claiming to be a Catholic who dissents from Church teaching is a scandal. Many years ago, there was a “Catholic” doctor who did abortions and told medical students that he was fine with going to Holy Communion. I suppose his justification would be that eminent “Catholic theologians” would support his position. But think of all those people he misled.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    You say: ” It also continues to give the signal that dissent from the Church’s teaching is considered by the Archdiocese of Westminster as unimportant.”

    Having giving recognition to the Soho Masses Pastoral Council as being suitable to give pastoral guidance to the LGBT community it seems to me that the message being given out by the Archdiocese is that opposing the Church’s teaching is NOT unimportant.

  • “…speaking at Archdioceses of Southwark and Westminster…”

    The shame of it!

  • Rifleman819

    Tina should not be allowed to get away with this.At every single public debate she should be challenged as to her Pontifical qualifications in theology and every debate should be held in a non-Catholic venue.
    If people want to pay to hear this lady-fine……………….but there should be absolutely nil Church support.
    Should she be asked outright each time -”Do you believe in the Catechism of the Catholic church?” What is your Catholic theological background?”

    But at each time there must be nil RC Church support for this person-why should ordinary Catholics put any resources at all her way?

    By all means promote dissent if you wish -from your own pocket.

  • Freddie

    Why is this woman allowed to carry on giving talks ? something should be done about her, she might be cathoilic in name but certainly not in practice

  • Tricia

    That John Gummer is a cafeteria ‘Catholic’ is not a scandal. Tina Beattie, however, being permitted to speak at Catholic venues against the Church she also claims to belong to, is a scandal which should be stopped and will be when we have enough Catholic Bishops worth their salt in every Diocese.

    • Augustine

      According to the Westminster Faith Debates’ website, John Gummer said in the House of Lords with regard to the proposed Equal Marriage legislation: “As a practising Catholic I wholly support the church’s teaching on marriage, but I am also pleased that the Government have decided to bring in this Bill …. marriage is not owned by either the state or the church. It is owned by humanity.”

      Yes, you read that correctly, he says he wholly supports BOTH the church’s teaching on marriage AND the Government’s Bill on Same Sex “Marriage”.

      Perhaps this might have something to do with the burger he notoriously ate (after he had failed to persuade his daughter to eat it). This was when he was Agriculture Minister during the Mad Cow Disease outbreak.

  • Richard23

    Quite a clever ruse by la Beattie and the organisers: she can claim she was only taking one side in a debate and that this does not necessarily represent her own view.


    Sponsored by Lancaster University but in London? How does that work?

    Is this woman speaking in Lancaster?

  • John Dare

    I know this might sound a little niave, but I assume that no-one is obliged to attend a talk. Bit like the wireless or TV have on/off butons.

    And I assume (could be wrong) that someone who attended Prof. Beaties talk would be clear about the various POVs involved? Its not like such talks are the sort of thing that you just walk into off the street all unaware?

  • Anne

    Deacon Nick, do we understand that the only ‘Catholic’ invited speakers at this debate will be speaking against the teachings of the Catholic Church?

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      Anne, no I hadn’t appreciated that appalling fact. And still the bishops say nothing. Deacon Nick

    • John Dare

      Would it be Ok if only speakers ‘for’ were invited?

      • Augustine


        Rather like having a debate about whether a dog should be called a cat.

      • Anne

        “Do Christians really oppose gay marriage?” Yes

        “Do real Christians oppose gay marriage?” Yes

        It is Baptism that makes us Christians and Baptism is the door by which we enter into the fold of Jesus Christ.

        Anyone who is Christ’s should only speak for Christ. The Catholic Church, successor of the Apostles, hands on the teaching of Christ. Catholics know or have access to the teaching of Christ in the Catechism. They don’t decide His teaching by popular preference, change it according to lifestyle fashions, or have the Prime Minister tell them, ‘get with the programme’.

        The created world and the natural light of human reason by which we know God (CCC 36)also tell us Christian’s oppose gay marriage.

        There should only be speakers “for”.

  • John Dare

    So, summing up, ‘real’ Catholics who know ‘the truth’ are the only acceptable speakers.

    • John Dare

      Looks like that was a ‘yes’, I think?

      • Anne

        John – I am afraid I am not on the computer all the time, I have been at work.

        The Catholic faith comes to us from the Apostles and community who knew Christ. They spent much time with him, heard his public and private teaching, saw him heal and cast out demons, saw him calm the sea, feed the 5,000 (and the 4,000), saw him raise the dead. Peter, James and John saw him transfigured. St John and Our Blessed Lady saw him die. The Apostles walked, talked and ate with the risen Christ for 40 days after his resurrection.

        Let us not think that you and I, John Gummer and Tina Beattie could possibly be better informed about his teaching than they.

        I refer you to two gospel passages. If you do not have a Catholic commentary, I recommend The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (ISBN for the New Testament edition is 978-1-58617-484-2)

        Matthew 19.3-12. Jesus answers a question on marriage and divorce. The disciples conclude, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.”
        Three points: 1) They didn’t like his teaching and found it not open to negotiation; 2) It is very clear from the words of Jesus and his disciples that marriage is between a man and a woman; 3) Although they didn’t like the teaching, they have passed it on. At Mark 10.1-12 you can see the disciples questioning Jesus privately about his public teaching and finding him standing firm.

        John 6. esp. 52-69. The Jews [Judeans] dispute Jesus’ teaching about the bread of life. He explains it further (does not dilute or change it in order to ‘keep them on board’). “Many of his DISCIPLES said, THIS IS A HARD SAYING, WHO CAN LISTEN TO IT?’ Jesus challenges them for taking offence and gives further teaching about his divinity. AFTER THIS MANY OF HIS DISCIPLES DREW BACK AND NOT LONGER WALKED WITH HIM.. Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Will you also go away?’ SIMON PETER answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of ETERNAL LIFE; and we have believed and come to know, that you are THE HOLY ONE OF GOD.’ [capitals mine]

        It is not new for people, even disciples to find Jesus’ teaching hard. But he does not weaken it to keep favour. On the cross he had nothing to say to the impenitent thief.

        In answer to the question, “Do Christians really oppose gay marriage?” The speakers should speak for Christ and explain that Christians do oppose gay marriage and why.

        If Christians persist in thinking, ‘This is a hard saying, who can listen to it?’ then perhaps like those disciples in John’s gospel they should ‘stop walking with him’. Certainly they should not be promoting their own views as his.

  • Maria

    How can she possibly be allowed to speak, especially in this Year of Faith,on something that is so opposite to Catholic teaching? I think this is utterly disgraceful and should not go ahead. Westminster and Southwark wake up to the truth and do what is right in the eyes of God and his church.

  • Amanda Peter

    Why does the Abp of Westminster and Southwark allow these catholic heretics oxygen to speak in their diocese?? Divine teaching is not for debate in terms of DISSENT. We debate to deepen our understanding of these TRUTHS. Would that they had the backbone and love for Holy Mother Church to treat people like Tina Beattie and the Jesuits who support her the way the CDF is dealing with another dissenting priest Fr Tony Flannery. Enough, I say to all this dissent. Time to raise our voices and to protest in defence of Truth and love for God!!!!! SERVIAM!!!!!!

  • Ioannes

    This woman is not an academic heavyweight, so why give her the oxygen of publicity? The only reason the CDF got involved was because someone tipped it off that the local ordinary was not doing his job properly. Similarly in the case of Tony Flannery. However, Abp Mueller seems more inclined to act than did his predecessor.

  • fd

    Sorry for not being much on the website recently.
    Last week Italian PM Mario Monti, who is running for the election,has said on TV that marriage is “between a man and a woman” .That caused the left-wing press,which had been previously staunchily supporting him, to take distance from him and to hardly criticize him. The big news in Italy ,dear Reverend Nick, is that till last year we could choose between a left wing which is often in contrast with Catholic values, and a right wing which gives lip service to Catholic values while actually mocking them and disrespecting any sort of moral conduct (see Berlusconi’s personal conduct ) The big news which has been introduced by Monti this year, who is no longer just a technocratic PM anymore ,but also a candidate to lead Italy in 2013, is that now we have a political array which is lead by Monti which upholds these values both in practice and in parliament. Isn’t this a good step forward for Italy, dear Reverend Nick?

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      Hi fd, that’s really interesting news about Mario Monti’s defence of marriage, and willingness to stand up to the left-wing. Deacon Nick

  • Augustine

    Do vegetarians really oppose eating meat?

  • graeme taylor

    Why do so many of the bishops in the UK need basic prompting?
    Why do they all too consistently appear out of touch with the church and her faithful?
    Why do they need to be “informed” about heretical speakers that need to be uninvited?
    there has developed a trend with too many bishops ( and priests) when interviewed on tv – they sit in the presence of God in the tabernacle – and give their interview.
    In Edinburgh, for a very sad example – our Cathedral shares the entrance with bistro bar.
    They need a little humility and a readiness to emulate peter’s example.

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