Archbishop Leo Cushley of St. Andrews and Edinburgh banned Tina Beattie, a theologian supportive of LGBTI inclusion, from speaking at a Scottish Catholic event.
Beattie, a Catholic studies professor at the University of Roehampton was to address the Edinburgh Circle of the Newman Association this month before the Archbishop banned her from speaking.
In a letter quoted by The Tablet the Archbishop criticised both Beattie and Joe Fitzpatrick, a theologian the Newman Association previously hosted, saying: “Professor Beattie is known to have frequently called into question the Church’s teaching. I would therefore ask you to cancel this event, as it may not proceed or be publicised on any Church property in this archdiocese.“
The Archbishop’s intervention came in July but has only been revealed by the press last week.
It has been attributed to the Vatican’s official position on banning Beattie from Church events, as ordered by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Vatican’s watchdog on orthodoxy.
The professor was previously banned from giving a talk at Bristol, England after complaints from the Catholic Church.
In 2012 the University of San Diego withdrew a fellowship offer to Beattie just two weeks before she was to arrive, following pressure from the Church.
The CDF ordered her banned from Church properties after she signed a letter, in 2012, to the Times, in favour of same-sex marriage, along with a number of other leading Christians theologians who wrote “it is perfectly proper for Catholics, using fully informed consciences, to support the legal extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples.”
In response to her talk in Scotland being banned, both Professor Beattie and the Newman Association wrote to Archbishop Cushley asking clarification, but, as yet, have not received any reply or explanation.
Beattie wrote: “You say that I am ‘known to have frequently called into question the Church’s teaching’. Known by whom, in what context and with reference to which of my published works?…Never in my published writings or talks have questioned any of the doctrinal mysteries of the Catholic faith. On the contrary, I have consistently argued in defence of even the most frequently challenged doctrines of the Church.”
The Association wrote that it has “no doubt of her [Beattie’s] deep commitment to the Church, her adherence to the principles and processes of theological discourse, her passion and her openness.
“… we regret that our invitation to her has resulted in a response of this nature from the CDF.
“We have not been aware of any blanket ban on her speaking in dioceses anywhere else, and view with concern the action being taken now.”
The letter added: “It is difficult for us to reconcile this with Pope Francis’s recent invitation to the Church’s theologians to be braver in engaging with the realities of the world.”