SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Dan Hitchens

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January 16, 2020
Franz Jägerstätter’s life and death raise one question above all: why did he do it? Why did this Austrian farmer refuse to fight in Hitler’s army, and why did he stick doggedly to that decision even when told he would face the death penalty for doing so? Jägerstätter’s martyrdom – he was declared Blessed by
October 31, 2019
Last month, two new laws were passed for Northern Ireland. The laws did not originate in the Assembly; no Northern Irish party won an election with a manifesto proposing them; no referendum was held on them. Instead, Westminster MPs came up with the laws and passed them in July. The first redefines marriage, so that
October 31, 2019
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which has been running since 2014, is gradually assembling the most detailed picture yet of how British institutions have provided sanctuary for sexual predators. IICSA’s scope takes in not just the Catholic Church, but also the Church of England, local government, residential schools, children’s homes and young
September 12, 2019
In 2007, the government shut down Catholic adoption agencies. They didn’t put it like that, of course: they just insisted that, as a result of the Equality Act, agencies would be legally required to place children with same-sex couples. As a result, agencies which wanted to stay Catholic had to close their doors. It was,
July 25, 2019
It’s a sunny morning in London on the feast of Corpus Christi and, not coincidentally, I’m standing outside the presbytery of Corpus Christi Church waiting for someone to answer the door. Somewhat to my surprise, it is opened by the man I’ve come to interview: Cardinal Francis Arinze, who is in town to celebrate Mass. The former
May 09, 2019
On the evening of May 24 last year, 2,000 left-leaning Christians gathered for a candlelit vigil outside the White House. The group’s leaders, including the Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry – fresh from his starring role at Britain’s Royal Wedding – read out a statement against Donald Trump’s presidency. “We reject ‘America first’,” they announced, “as
May 01, 2019
A group of academics and priests have accused Pope Francis of committing the canonical crime of heresy. The group, which includes the prominent Dominican theologian Fr Aidan Nichols, have put their names to a letter arguing that the Pope has “denied truths of the faith”. They say that his words, when combined with his public
March 21, 2019
The Government has distanced itself from an official letter which claimed that Christianity is a violent religion. The letter was sent to an Iranian convert to Christianity who had claimed asylum. Iranian converts can face heavy legal penalties. The asylum seeker said he had converted partly because Islam was violent, whereas “In Christianity there is
February 14, 2019
Last month, Fatima Shah took her daughter out of school. Shah, along with other parents, was shocked to find her child being taught about homosexuality and transsexuality. A programme called “No Outsiders” had been launched at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham. Officially, the programme is merely about welcoming people. But the parents say it includes
January 24, 2019
In October 2017, Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, announced a zero-tolerance policy for aid organisations. It followed revelations of sexual harassment and use of prostitutes by the staff of major NGOs. Mordaunt said that the Department for International Development (DFID) would cut funding to any organisations which failed in safeguarding or financial probity. This
January 24, 2019
“It looked like just an ordinary handwritten letter on the outside. But when I opened it and read what it said, the horror of what it could entail became clear.” That’s Fr Andrew Browne, speaking to the BBC last week about a delivery to his church in High Green, Sheffield. The letter began, in handwritten
January 17, 2019
Last week was a busy one in the secular West’s confrontation with its Christian heritage. In Amsterdam, the Free University summoned Piet de Vries, a theologian who criticised “cheating, divorces, sex before marriage and homosexual relationships”, to explain himself to its board. The university was reportedly considering taking measures against de Vries. In the US,
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