A week or so before Prof. Tina Beattie was due to deliver her lecture as a contributor to the Archdiocese of Westminster’s Year of Faith lecture series I sent Bishop John Arnold an email to express my concern. I have yet to receive a reply from Bishop Arnold two days after Tina Beattie presumably went ahead and gave her talk at St. John Vianney’s parish. Here is a copy of my email:
Dear Bishop Arnold
I am writing to express my concern that Prof Tina Beattie has been invited by Fr Joe Ryan to contribute to the Justice and Peace Commission’s Year of Faith lectures, and will speak next week at St John Vianney’s parish.
I think there are a number of reasons to be concerned about allowing Prof Beattie to be officially engaged to speak by one of the diocesan commissions, but the most pressing concern is her public defence of Catholics supporting same-sex marriage. In August 2012 Prof Beattie signed a letter published in The Times proposing that Catholics could in conscience support same-sex marriage, and on the day of the important vote in the House of Commons Prof Beattie wrote a piece in The Guardian arguing that society would benefit from same-sex marriage. On the 18th April Prof Beattie will be defending same-sex marriage as a participant in the Westminster Faith Debate, ‘‘Do Christians really oppose gay marriage?
I note that the title of Prof. Beattie’s lecture,Lumen Gentium – Mary, justice, ecumenism and sacramentality, indicates that she may not talk about same-sex marriage but there are two points to be made about this. First, in St John Vianney’s newsletter last weekend Fr Ryan admits that there is ‘ considerable controversy about having such a speaker’. Prof. Beattie is a controversial figure because of her public dissent from many teachings of the Church, early abortion, contraception, ordination of women, homosexuality, etc. She is known as a controversial dissenter from the Faith of the Church. Second, frankly she can’t help expressing her dissenting orientation, as exemplified by a sermon Prof Beattie gave at Victoria Methodist Church, Bristol (27/01/13) on ‘Behold Your God: Reflection on the wonder of being. During her sermon Prof Beattie drew a parallel between Jesus’ self-disclosure in Luke 4:14-21 and a homosexual person ‘coming out’. She said, ‘ The Gospel tells us of Jesus’s coming out – a coming out that was as scandalous to those who heard him as any coming out would be today.’
Through her writings in The Tablet, The Guardian, and on her various websites, Prof. Beattie expresses serious dissent from major teachings of the Catholic faith. Here is a summary: