Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”


As this is a subject which has a very direct bearing upon the correct promotion of the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church, one of the historical roles of the Order of Malta, and upon bioethical issues pertinent to the life and work of a Catholic hospital, it seems appropriate to bring to your attention this petition calling for a reform of Britain's libel laws.

As we have read recently, in relation to subjects as varied as abortion, homosexual marriage, Catholic education and climate change, writers, both religious commentators and scientists, may be successfully threatened with libel claims by those who disagree with them, and who promote contrary arguments, if they are even mildy critical in their reviews and commentaries.  Often this discourages those who seek to uphold the truth, as they are forced to be silent to avoid the risk of hugely expensive legal battles.

'Freedom to criticise and question, in strong terms and without malice, is the cornerstone of argument and debate, whether in scholarly journals, on websites, in newspapers or elsewhere.' Recently a faithful priest was forced to close his blog through threats of legal action, for commenting critically upon the published writings of another priest. Specialist doctors are also particularly vulnerable from those with vested interest in the medical industry.

A petition for Libel Law Reform has been begun here, which readers may wish to consider signing. You will see that those behind this report are a very mixed bag, with many of whom we would have little else in common. This is an indication of the serious concern which many in our society now feel for the maintenance of free speech.

Various commentaries may be read in the following places. You are encouraged to inform yourself before signing.  Fr Tim Finigan, James Preece, DolphinariumLibel Reform Campaign.