SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
David Oldroyd-Bolt

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December 12, 2019
The past two weeks have been a more than usually musical fortnight. It began with the world premiere of Michael Maxwell Steer’s Romantic Variations for Alto Saxophone and Piano (the present writer playing the latter instrument) and culminated in an event at which Sir James MacMillan and I were “In Conversation”, as part of his
June 06, 2019
Claus von Bülow, the Catholic Herald’s former theatre critic, has died aged 92. He made his debut on our books pages in 1998, with a review of Stalingrad by Antony Beevor. In 2002, he began to review plays, lacing his columns with pungent social observations. Reviewing six new plays from the Nordic countries, he criticised
June 06, 2019
Having a few hours spare one afternoon, my fiancée and I decided to visit the Cobbe Collection of keyboard instruments at Hatchlands Park, near Guildford in Surrey. Visiting the collection has been on my to-do list for as long as I can remember. It comprises the largest collection of its type, with 42 keyboard instruments
May 08, 2019
Asia Bibi, the Christian mother-of-four who spent eight years awaiting execution for blasphemy, has left Pakistan and joined her children in Canada. Although the Pakistani authorities refused to confirm either her departure or destination, Bibi’s lawyer, Saif ul Malook, confirmed to the BBC that she had already arrived in Canada. Two of her children are
May 07, 2019
Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche, has died in Paris, aged 90. In a statement on L’Arche’s website announcing Vanier’s death, its leaders said: “Jean passed away peacefully today . . . In recent days, while remaining very present, he had declined quickly. “We all know Jean’s place in the history of L’Arche and Faith
May 02, 2019
I went last weekend to the inaugural Buckingham History Festival. It was held by the University of Buckingham, under the aegis of its vice-chancellor, Sir Anthony Seldon, and Professor John Adamson, director of the Humanities Research Institute, across its campus in the town. How unlike most modern universities this exemplary institution looks. Rather than the
April 24, 2019
A three-year study by the Universities of Lancaster and Strathclyde has concluded that going on pilgrimage to places such as Lourdes has considerable benefits for one’s mental and physical health by acting against workplace stress. Dr Leighanne Higgins of Lancaster University led the study, which conducted interviews with pilgrims and found that “emotional tourism” can
April 18, 2019
It is in the approach to Easter that our Church’s musical life becomes richer than at any other time in the liturgical calendar. As Jens F Laurson described so well in this magazine’s April 5 issue, Bach’s St Matthew sits, unapproachable, atop the Parnassus of Passiontide settings. Perhaps it is the tradition of hearing the
April 12, 2019
“The Church cannot be bullied into changing her doctrine if change contradicts the spirit of the gospel,” Cardinal Woelki has said. In an article for Die Tagespost, which will likely be seen as a stern rebuttal to those prelates who suggest that dogma ought to be altered to reflect current social mores, the cardinal adds:
April 04, 2019
1. North Korea It is impossible to know precisely how many Christians live in North Korea: they are considered enemies of the state because they believe in an authority greater than the Kims, so must keep their religion completely secret – often from one another. It is estimated, however, that there are between 200,000 and
March 29, 2019
Almost fifty celebrities have signed an open letter threatening to boycott the American state of Georgia should its Governor sign a bill making abortion illegal when a foetal heartbeat has been detected. The law, HB 481, is known as the Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act and was passed in the state senate recently. The
March 21, 2019
More than 400 people took part in the Rite of Election at Westminster Cathedral earlier this month. At Masses presided over by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who was assisted by his auxiliary bishops, 219 candidates and 200 catechumens attended the Rite of Election over Saturday and Sunday. In his remarks to the congregation, Cardinal Nichols drew
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