Dr. William Oddie

Dr. William Oddie is a leading English Catholic writer and broadcaster. He edited The Catholic Herald from 1998 to 2004 and is the author of The Roman Option and Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy.

recent articles

This Pope Does Not “Do” Doctrine

If you are puzzled, even disoriented by the Holy Father’s conduct of his pontificate (and I stress at the outset that what follows is not intended as an attack on it) you may be reassured by an article in this month’s National Geographic magazine, which contains some possibly indiscreet remarks by the Pope’s spokesman, Fr Federico … Read more

Environmentalism That Harms the Poor

I recently begged the Holy Father, in this magazine’s print edition, to be very careful in anything he might say about global warming in his then forthcoming (but, alas, now published) encyclical on the environment, not least because there has actually been no global warming to speak of for more than 18 years now and because … Read more

There is No Link between Celibacy and Clerical Sexual Abuse

The Independent newspaper reported last August that “the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said he dealt with issues of child sex abuse on a daily basis (my emphasis) and he anticipated that more ‘bad stories’ would emerge. He said: ‘I would love to say there weren’t, but I expect there are.’ He told the BBC that it was ‘becoming … Read more

Pope’s Defense of the Faith Has Not Been Heard

I was recently upbraided by one of my readers for my “constant sniping” at Pope Francis: this I found disconcerting, even painful, since faithfulness to papal teaching (and to the reigning Pontiff himself) has always been one of my primary underlying objectives when writing about the faith. In my defense, another reader rejoined that the … Read more

Some Questions Cardinal George Would Like to Ask Pope Francis

At the end of September, Sandro Magister commented that the more conservative and traditional Catholics of the United States, “while still reeling from the news of the … removal of Cardinal Raymond Burke … [have] been dealt another blow with the appointment of the new archbishop of Chicago.” Pope Francis’s selection of Archbishop Blase Cupich as the … Read more

Will British Appeals Court Defend Rights of Unborn?

I begin with two questions. Here is a statement by a person whose name is familiar to Catholics as that of a dedicated pro-abortionist, Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advice Service: “Viewing these cases as potential criminal offences will do nothing for the health of women and their babies. There is a … Read more

Will Pope’s Defense of Faith at Synod Ease Anxious Minds?

In my last piece I wrote “If Francis doesn’t soon make it clear that the synod can’t abandon Catholic teaching, his pontificate could spin out of control.” I didn’t, I fear, hold out much hope that he would; and nearly everyone seems to have taken it for granted that he didn’t, even those who, like … Read more

Francis Must Correct Synod Distortions

The presentation of the so-called “mid-term report” of the extraordinary synod of bishops on the family (the Latin headline of which, relatio post disceptationem, may seem to the unenlightened to give it an authority it doesn’t in fact possess) aroused a predictable level of interest in both the Catholic and the non-Catholic media. Their general … Read more

Anglican Ordination of Women Bishops Ends Reunion Prospects

It was, of course inevitable, having ordained women to its “priesthood” that the Church of England, mother Church of the Anglican Communion, would in the end ordain women to its “episcopate” (I place the key-words in inverted commas, not to be insulting but to indicate simply that most Anglicans use the words to describe something … Read more

Is There Growing Confusion over Church Teaching?

I begin with a piece, spotted by Fr Tim Finigan and reported in his indispensable blog The Hermeneutic of Continuity, which had been published in Sandro Magister’s blog—not his English one, Chiesa, but his Italian language blog for L’Espresso, Settimo Cielo. A few days ago, Magister told the story of a parish priest in the Italian diocese … Read more

The Impoverishment of Liturgical Culture

On his flight back from the Holy Land recently, Pope Francis made it clear to the journalists he was addressing that he dislikes the discussion, and press coverage, of the prospects for the forthcoming synod on the family being focused mainly on the question of Communion for the divorced and remarried. What he wanted instead, … Read more

Is a Period of Papal Reserve Now Overdue?

About a year ago, and thus in the early months of Pope Francis’s pontificate, Damian Thompson wrote a Daily Telegraph blogpost headlined “Meet Francis, the Chatterbox Pope.” “This new pontiff,” he noted, “is a media-savvy charmer in a way that none of his predecessors have been. Seriously, he could give Bill Clinton lessons in how … Read more

Is Richard Dawkins on the Way to Belief?

On Easter Monday, the Telegraph published a Letter to the Editor from around 50 leading atheists, predictably including such names as Philip Pullman, Peter Tatchell, Polly Toynbee, Anthony Grayling, Evan Harris, and on and on: from my own point of view, a list of many of my least favorite bien pensant Lefties. It began as … Read more

John Paul II Set the Barque Back on Course

Why was Pope John Paul canonized this past Sunday not alone but together with Pope John? There is a very good answer to this question: but it is not the one generally being touted by the liberal press, Catholic or secular. Here, for instance, is the often sensible John L Allen, writing in the National … Read more

Should Pope Francis have Abandoned the Trappings of His Office?

Father Longenecker had an amusing blog last week, headlined “archbishops should live in palaces.” “I think the Pope should live in the Apostolic Palace,” he says, “and I think Archbishop Wilton [Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, who is moving out three months after moving in] should live in his brand new $2.2m home. I think … Read more

Pope Francis: “Stop Using Church as Sexual Abuse Scapegoat”

Pope Francis has now once again (though to judge by the so far sparse coverage, you’d think he’d never said or done anything before) expressed his abhorrence of clerical sex abuse. Previous popes—indeed most senior clergy—are normally too reticent, however, to do what he has now done as well, that is to say, he has … Read more

Archbishop Nichols Sparks Debate Over Welfare Reform in the UK

As Archbishop Nichols prepared to take off for Rome to receive his red hat he came out politically last week with a vengeance (having over the years been admirably discreet about his political attitudes), with an attack on his fellow Catholic Iain Duncan Smith’s policy on welfare reform—a policy whose alleged effects he described as … Read more

On “Consulting the Faithful” in Preparation for the 2014 Family Synod

I have been pondering on the significance of the Holy Father’s recent declaration that “The Church must pay attention to the sensus fidelium, or ‘sense of the faithful’, … but never confuse that sense with popular opinion on matters of faith.” He was addressing members of the International Theological Commission, a “Vatican advisory body.” The … Read more

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