Tina Beattie

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Tina Beattie
Tina Beattie Quest 2005.jpg
July 2005
Christina Jane Bell

(1955-03-16) 16 March 1955 (age 68)
Alma mater University of Bristol
Known forCatholic theology and psychoanalytic theory; gender and sexuality; Marian theology; theology and literature and art; atheism and religion; women's rights
SpouseDave Beattie
Scientific career
FieldsChristian theology
Institutions University of Bristol, Wesley College (Bristol), Open University, University of Roehampton – all UK
Thesis God's Mother, Eve's Advocate: a Gynocentric Refiguration of Marian Symbolism in Engagement with Luce Irigaray  (1998)
Doctoral advisor Ursula King
Website https://www.tinabeattie.com

Tina Beattie (born 16 March 1955) is a British Christian theologian, writer and broadcaster.


Until August 2020, she was the Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Roehampton in London and Director of the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Religion, Society and Human Flourishing at the same university. In retirement, she is remaining Director of Catherine of Siena College at the University of Roehampton and is writing fiction.

Beattie's theological contribution is notable in the areas of Catholic theology and psychoanalytic theory; gender and sexuality; Marian theology; theology and literature and art; atheism and religion; women's rights. She is a long-standing advocate of a more prominent role of women in the Catholic Church.

Personal life and career

Beattie is the eldest of three daughters born to Charlie and Nan Bell. She was born in 1955 in the northern part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, nowadays Zambia, to Scottish Presbyterian parents and lived there for eighteen years, attending the Dominican Convent School in Lusaka. Beattie also lived in Paris, Nairobi and Harare. She is married to Dave Beattie, and worked as a secretary before the birth of their four children (born in 1978, 1980, 1983, and 1986). In 1986, she converted to Roman Catholicism from Presbyterianism. [1]

After moving to Bristol with her family in 1988, she became a mature student at the University of Bristol in 1991, where she received a first class honours degree in theology and religious studies. In 1998, she completed a PhD on the theology and symbolism of the Virgin Mary in the light of the psycholinguistic theory of Luce Irigaray as a resource for the analysis of Christian writings on Mary and Eve in the early Church and in recent Catholic theology. [1] [2]

Beattie lectured at the University of Bristol and Wesley College, Bristol, and also taught for the Open University. She took up a full-time post at the University of Roehampton in 2002. [1] She left her post as Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Roehampton in August 2020. She continues in her role as Director of Catherine of Siena College, based at the University of Roehampton. [2]

In retirement from active academic research, Beattie has focused on her "first and lifelong passion – to write fiction". [3] Her first novel, The Good Priest, was published in 2019. [4]

Work and publications

Beattie's thesis on the theology and symbolism of the Virgin Mary in the light of the psycholinguistic theory of Luce Irigaray formed the basis of the book, God's Mother, Eve's Advocate (2002), and these ideas are further developed in New Catholic Feminism: Theology and Theory' (2006). [2]

Over the years, she researched and published extensively in the areas of Catholic theology and psychoanalytic theory (Theology After Postmodernity: Divining the Void); theologies and theories of gender and sexuality (New Catholic Feminism: Theology and Theory); the cult of the Virgin Mary (God's Mother, Eve's Advocate); the work of Swiss Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar from the perspectives of feminist theology and critical theory; Christian mysticism and spirituality; theological perspectives on literature and art; atheism and religion (The New Atheists); Catholic moral theology and social teaching; religion and human and women's rights. [2]

She wrote regularly for the Catholic weekly, The Tablet, and The Guardian newspaper, including an eight-part series on Thomas Aquinas. [5] She also presents the Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4. [1]

She was a theological advisor to Cafod, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development; [6] the President of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain (2006–08); [7] a Director of the Catholic weekly, The Tablet. [1]

After realisation that the question of women's role in the Catholic Church was not among Pope Francis's priorities, Beattie founded an online community, Catholic Women Speak, [8] in December 2014. [9]


The University of San Diego withdraws a lecture invitation

In October 2012, the University of San Diego cancelled a visiting fellowship for Beattie following the pressure from financial contributors to the university who objected to the theologian's alleged public dissent from the Church's moral teachings. [10] She was scheduled to give a lecture on depiction of sin and redemption in art. [11] The theologian issued a statement rejecting accusations in deviating from the doctrinal truths of the faith as based on serious distortions of her theological position through use of selective quotations out of their context. [12] In the statement, Beattie explained her understanding of her own mission as a theologian and her beliefs:

Bishops ban Beattie from speaking in their dioceses

On two occasions, on instructions from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, British bishops banned Tina Beattie from speaking on Church properties in their dioceses. In 2012, Bishop of Clifton, Declan Lang, canceled a lecture she was to give in Clifton Cathedral. The theologian was told it was because she had been a signatory to a letter in The Times arguing that Catholics could support same-sex marriage in good conscience. In 2014, the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Leo Cushley, ordered to cancel an event at St Catherine's Convent, Edinburgh, where Beattie was due to speak on invitation of the Edinburgh Circle of the Newman Association. In reply to the Archbishop's claim of Beattie being "known to have frequently called into question the Church's teaching", the theologian responded: "Never in my published writings or talks have questioned any of the doctrinal mysteries of the Catholic faith." She claimed the lay Catholics have the right for a "more reasoned and nuanced public dialogue" about same-sex marriage. [13]

Cafod defends Beattie's theological advisor role

Following signing an open letter to Polish bishops urging support for "early, safe and legal" abortion by Beattie, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) came under pressure to withdraw the role of a theological adviser from Beattie. In its statement, CAFOD said that the views in the letter "do not represent nor reflect CAFOD's policies", but refused to meet the demands. [6]



Selected journal articles and book chapters

Newspaper and magazine articles

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Beattie, Tina. "Facts, Family, Friends and Follies". Tina Beattie's Personal Website. Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Tina Beattie. Personal profile. Biography". University of Roehampton Research Explorer. Archived from the original on 8 August 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  3. Beattie, Tina. "Who am I". Tina Beattie. Archived from the original on 4 August 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  4. Beattie, Tina (2019). The good priest. [Kibworth Beauchamp]. ISBN   978-1-78901-960-5. OCLC   1086608784.
  5. Beattie, Tina (30 January 2012). "Thomas Aquinas, part 1: rediscovering a father of modernity | Tina Beattie". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  6. 1 2 "Cafod to keep Tina Beattie as adviser despite views on abortion". Catholic Herald. 16 June 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. "Officers of the Association". Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain. Archived from the original on 30 March 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  8. "Home". Catholic Women Speak. Archived from the original on 1 February 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  9. Beattie, Tina (29 March 2016). "A Place at the Table: The Story of 'Catholic Women Speak'". Commonweal. 143 (7): 15–18.
  10. McElwee, Joshua J. (1 November 2012). "University withdraws theologian's invitation after pressure from financial contributors". National Catholic Reporter. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  11. Baber, H. E. "Trouble in Paradise Home". home.sandiego.edu. Archived from the original on 6 December 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  12. 1 2 Beattie, Tina. "[Personal statement]" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 May 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  13. Lamb, Christopher (25 September 2014). "Archbishop Cushley bans female Catholic theologian from speaking". The Tablet. Archived from the original on 18 December 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2021.