SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Andrew M Brown

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April 05, 2018
There was one sort of taboo which writers of television crime dramas rarely broke, and that was to focus the plot on the abuse or killing of children. Instead they preferred to thrill the viewers with what film censors call “scenes of peril” usually involving the murder, or lurid torture-and-murder, of women. That was considered
March 29, 2018
The Radiance of Her Face by Dom Xavier Perrin, Angelico Press, 93pp, £10 The original French title of this short but profound devotional book, first published in 2006, gives a clue to its nature: Regards sur l’Immaculée (“Gaze on the Immaculate Mary”). Xavier Perrin is a Benedictine monk of the Solesmes Congregation from Brittany. He
March 01, 2018
Edward Pearce, the Telegraph parliamentary sketchwriter (1979-87) and Moral Maze panellist who died last month, was known for his witty invective. Matthew Parris quoted him on Jim Callaghan: “If you were hanging from a ledge by your fingers, he’d stamp on them.” Colleagues we spoke to for the obituary remembered him as quirky and chippy,
January 25, 2018
The broadcaster Andrew Marr has written A Short Book About Painting to try to address the question: what does it mean to do something (painting) well and why does it matter? Marr has been an amateur painter since his teenage years, but after a frightening stroke in January 2013 his hobby gained much greater urgency.
November 30, 2017
What is the point of the contemplative life? Wouldn’t you be better running an orphanage than stuck inside a monastery praying all day? On the other hand, who can calculate the effect of all the prayers that are voiced on our behalf? And the lives of contemplative Religious send out ripples. I found this for
October 12, 2017
At 8.20am on Friday September 15 my wife and seven-year-old daughter were part of what ISIS later called “a gathering of crusaders”. They were in the carriage in which a bomb nearly went off at Parsons Green Underground station. I was at home about to leave for work when I noticed four missed calls (the
September 07, 2017
How do you survive as a Christian believer – and even preserve something of that faith in your children – in a society where Christianity is so drastically on the wane? The Church is being pushed to the margins, the practising Catholic population is ageing (despite bursts of youth enthusiasm), and Britain (according to a
July 20, 2017
Is there any room today for the prophet or the oddball? In politics, even Boris Johnson, who used to cheer everyone up, is no longer the unifying entertainer he once was. Since attaching himself to Brexit he has become a divisive figure. According to the Spectator, his Tory enemies are out to nobble him. Boris
June 08, 2017
What is it about artists that causes them to behave badly? A case in point is Eric Gill, the great sculptor and calligrapher. He is the subject of an exhibition, Eric Gill: The Body, running until September at the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft. The museum addresses the scandal about Gill head-on. It informs
April 20, 2017
Fay Weldon’s new novel, the absurdist satire Death of a She Devil, is certain to be a bestseller. It returns to the theme that was the background to her masterpiece, The Life and Loves of a She Devil – gender politics, or the war between the sexes. It is the subject of the moment. Television
March 16, 2017
Drug addicts are always picked on in times of anxiety and so it is today. The hardline right-wing approach is seen at its most extreme in the war on drugs waged by President Duterte of the Philippines and condemned by Catholic bishops. After he was elected last year Duterte visited a slum in Manila and
February 09, 2017
The small chapel at Warriston crematorium in Edinburgh is furnished neutrally with rows of conference-style seats, large amounts of pale polished wood, an electric organ in the corner at the back and a plain wooden cross that hangs from a hook on the wall, presumably so that it can be taken down if necessary. The
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