SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Filipe D'Avillez

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April 22, 2020
Catholics have dutifully closed churches. So why is a political celebration going ahead?
February 27, 2020
The Portuguese parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of legalising euthanasia. Five different laws were approved last week, meaning that a committee will now have to streamline them into a single proposal, to be voted on again by Parliament. Following that, the law will go to President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, a Catholic. He can
January 16, 2020
Pope Francis has granted the Diocese of Coimbra, in central Portugal, a jubilee year which began on January 12 and will run until January 17, 2021. The jubilee marks the 800th anniversary of the martyrdom of five Franciscan friars who set off to Morocco to evangelise Muslims in the 13th century. It is said that
November 07, 2019
Euthanasia is a step closer to being legalised in Portugal, following elections that took place on October 6, which strengthened the three political parties favouring the measure.  The Socialist Party, the Left Bloc and PAN, an animal rights party, all increased their presence in parliament, at the expense of the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats
October 03, 2019
On Sunday, September 8, Sister Maria Antónia Pinho, known affectionately as “Tona” by the sick and poor whom she served, was strangled to death and then raped by a man to whom she had given a lift. A suspect, who had a history of sexual abuse and drug trafficking, has since been arrested. Bishop Manuel
August 29, 2019
After the Fall By Tobias Buck Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 320pp, £20/$24.50 Last month, Spanish political parties failed, yet again, to come to an understanding as to who should govern the country. The current political landscape was deeply affected by the financial crisis which has struck Spain, and much of southern Europe, over the past decade.
August 01, 2019
The Bishop of Pemba, on Mozambique’s north-eastern coast, has criticised authorities over recent deaths attributed to a Muslim insurgency in the north of the country. Around 200 people have lost their lives in an obscure wave of killings in and around Cabo Delgado, part of the diocese of which Brazilian-born Luiz Fernando Lisboa is bishop. The state,
July 01, 2019
The Spanish government is making a formal complaint to the Vatican over what they term “interference in state affairs” regarding the exhumation of Francisco Franco’s remains. Franco was buried in the basilica of the Valley of the Fallen, built during the dictatorship to honour the dead in Spain’s bloody civil war. In 2018 the Spanish
May 17, 2019
The Ku Klux Klan seems like a bit of a joke to most people today, but in the 1920s the organisation was extremely influential. In some states, such as Indiana, it operated as a political party, dominating local government and police forces. So when a group of 500 university students banded together to disrupt a
April 04, 2019
When a team of Portuguese priests won an indoor football competition, they could hardly have imagined the divisions their triumph would provoke in Lisbon’s Parliament. It was the fifth time they had won the European clergy championship for futsal (indoor five-a-side football). The Social Democrats and Christian Democrats put forward a motion to congratulate the
March 28, 2019
The Church in Mozambique is scrambling to try to help hundreds of thousands of people in the district of Beira who have been left stranded by unprecedented floods. The flooding was caused by Cyclone Idai, which hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Strong winds tore down roofs and even entire houses, with rising waters causing massive
January 17, 2019
Up to 1,000 churches of various denominations have been shut down by authorities in Angola, on the western coast of Africa. A new law determines that churches can only operate if registered with the government. To register they must be able to prove they have at least 100,000 faithful, and pastors are only allowed to
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