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HFEA closure The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has been earmarked for closure as part of the Government’s cost-saving drive. The body, which is responsible for regulating artificial fertil- isation and embryonic stem-cell research, was one of 177 organisations listed for abolition in a leaked government docu- ment. Under the plans, the HFEA’s regulatory and advisory responsibilities would be transferred to other bodies, including the Care Quality Commission, and the NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care. The Churches Conservation Trust, which works to pre- serve church buildings that are no longer used for regular worship, was also listed for closure.

Middlesbrough abuse Police are investigating new allegations of abuse at a former Catholic boys’ home in East Yorkshire. Twenty-one people have made claims against several former mem- bers of staff at St William’s Community Home in Market Weighton. The home, which closed in 1992, was run by the De La Salle Brothers.

Last Jesuit head teacher in UK is to step down

Sam Adams

BRITAIN’S LAST remaining Jesuit head teacher will be replaced by a lay person when he steps down from his post next year. Fr Adrian Porter has announced that he will leave Wimbledon College, in south-west London, in August after seven years in charge. With no Jesuit available to take his place, the school governors have confirmed they are preparing to appoint a lay head teacher for the first time. The move means that none of the nine Jesuit-run schools in Britain will have a Jesuit priest in charge. The lack of potential candidates for the post highlights the decline in Jesuit numbers over the past decade, with just 15 priests ordained in Britain since 2000. In a letter to parents, chairman of governors

Dr Patrick Stone insisted that Wimbledon College would retain its Jesuit ethos despite Fr Porter’s departure. “All of the other eight Jesuit schools in the UK now have lay heads and have been suc- cessful in building their unique Jesuit identity

and success,” he said.“The Jesuit community in Wimbledon will continue to provide sup- port, including priests, to celebrate the sacraments and assist in the chaplaincy.” Dr Stone said that Fr Porter had been “an outstanding servant of Wimbledon College”. Ged Clapson, spokesman for the Society of

Jesus, said that replacing Fr Porter with a lay person was “a case of evolution”. “The society has always looked to where the need is greatest, and at one time that meant providing heads for schools, but now there are lay people who are just as capable of doing this instead,” he said. The society would not reveal what Fr Porter, who is 51, will do next. Before his appointment at Wimbledon College he was the last Religious head of St Aloysius’ College, Glasgow. He left in 2004 to be replaced by a lay head teacher. His predecessor as headmaster at Wimbledon was Fr Michael Holman SJ, who is the current Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain and gave the Tablet Lecture in November 2008.

IN BRIEF EXTRA The Tablet Lecture 2010

“An Ambassador’s perspective on the Vatican – a retrospective look over the past five years”

Director with Amnesty International.

Francis Campbell is the current British Ambassador to the Holy See. Before this he was a former Policy Adviser and Private Secretary to the then Prime Minister Tony Blair. He was also First Secretary at the British Embassy in Rome and a Senior Policy

This will be his last speaking engagement while in the role of Ambassador to the Holy See, so make sure you reserve a ticket.

Thursday 21 October 2010 at 6.45p.m.

The lecture takes place at Cathedral Hall Westminster Nearest Railway/ Underground station: Victoria

Admission is by advance ticket only at a cost of £12 (£10 concessions) and includes entry to aTablet drinks reception

For tickets, please call: 020 8748 8484 or email: 40 | THE TABLET | 2 October 2010

Miliband applauds CSM The newly elected Labour leader, Ed Miliband, has praised the Christian Socialist Movement (CSM) during celebrations held to mark the organisation’s fiftieth anniversary. Speaking at the CSM’s anniversary reception during the Labour Party Conference in Manchester, Mr Miliband, who is an atheist, said the move- ment was at the forefront of the party’s renewal. He added that Labour needed to reconnect with local communities, including church groups. The reception followed a serv- ice at Manchester Cathedral, where the Catholic Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith, highlighted the CSM’s role in “asking questions of the Labour movement and issu- ing challenges to the Churches and society of our times”.

Big Society welcomed The Church should embrace the Big Society agenda, according to the new chief executive of Caritas Social Action Network. Helen O’Brien said the coalition Government’s Big Society programme offers a real opportunity for the Church, because the value of the com- mon good, subsidiarity and local communities have become hot topics in government in the last few months. “This is the language of the Church, so if we can fit into that in some way that would be a positive thing,” said Mrs O’Brien, who joined Caritas in July, from her former post at St Joseph’s Pastoral Centre in the Diocese of Westminster.

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