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September 22nd 2017

How Angela Merkel and Pope Francis are reshaping the world

The Pope and the chancellor want a more 'humanised' globalism. But could this backfire?

It’s rather sad to learn that, according to a Church of England survey, the majority of Christians don’t read the Bible…
The bullet holes are still there in the room in Santiago Atitlan, in the highlands of Guatemala, where Fr Stanley Francis Rother was murdered on July 28, 1981…
Over supper a few nights ago I had a conversation with Damien (not his real name) which roamed around the relationship between science and philosophy…

‘We have to be a very quiet Church’

In Abu Dhabi, the Catholic community of St Joseph’s Cathedral and St Thérèse Church nestles beside Anglican, Orthodox and Evangelical churches…
Catholics make up an increasing proportion of Conservative voters and supporters, as well as activists like myself…

A new way to help persecuted Christians

Thursday afternoon, standing in front of a class of Year 10s, I was struck again by “the look”…
In a televised election debate on Sunday, September 3, the moderator asked the two candidates for chancellor, Angela Merkel and Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz, whether either of them had been to church that day…

When a Catholic charity kills

The Brothers of Charity, a Belgian religious order, have for most of their 200-year history been utterly uncontroversial: quietly, and often heroically, caring for the sick – especially the mentally ill – in a growing number of countries (today it stands at 30)…
Visiting a music shop in London, I was pleased to see that you can still buy those little white plaster busts of the great composers – Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, etc – that I remember from my schooldays…
‘Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory,” says the baron to his son in Disraeli’s Contarini Fleming…
Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s Follies, one of the great American musicals, looks back to the golden age of vaudeville and the glamour of the famously beautiful Ziegfeld Follies, with their long legs, furs, feathers and fantastic headgears…
The Last Night of the Proms is more a socio-cultural phenomenon than just a concert, with an interesting ambiguity in the degree to which its ritual of flags and patriotic songs is innocent high spirits or the smiling face of something sinister…
If there exists, in insular London, an artistic “sceptre”, to use John of Gaunt’s phrase in Richard II, then it has changed hands many times and is now grasped by the Austrian dealer Thaddaeus Ropac, who has recently set up shop in Mayfair’s Ely House, which shares its name with where John of Gaunt died…
When I was a boy, we had a GP who always looked sicker than you did…
In film history, the priest has been among the most common and enduring characters, and to a large extent has been played by actors of Catholic background…

Briefly noted

The Exodus by Richard Elliott Friedman (HarperOne, £20)…
Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard, Souvenir Press, £15 This important book should be read by everyone who has followed the recent war of words between President Trump and North Korea…

What Darwin got right and wrong

Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker by AN Wilson, John Murray, £25 Charles Darwin remains one of the most discussed thinkers of the Victorian age, a towering figure whose ideas straddled and connected the worlds of science, culture and religion…
Not Yet Twilight by Josef Pieper, St Augustine’s Press, £15.50 Interesting lives are generally not to be expected of philosophers…

Our struggle with riches

A number of years ago I attended a funeral…