SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith

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April 28, 2020
Even the monastic life is usually passed in community. But lockdown has made us all hermits
April 02, 2020
Accountability and Leadership in the Catholic Church By Brian Dive Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 220pp, £61.99/$78.95 Brian Dive is a management consultant, and his book is subtitled What Needs To Be Improved. We all know that there is a leadership crisis in the Catholic Church (though some may deny it) and Dive’s book is to be
March 19, 2020
The Anointed By Michael Arditti Arcadia Books, 286pp, £16.99/$24.95 The Bible is said to be the world’s bestselling book, and it is also the world’s most teasing one. It tells us so much, yet it always leaves us wanting more. Perhaps because the biblical authors had a different set of priorities to ours, and their
December 05, 2019
Thursday December 12 is general election day in Britain, but it is also, by coincidence (or perhaps providence), the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our Blessed Lady appeared to St Juan Diego, an indigenous inhabitant of New Spain, as it then was, on the morning of December 9, 1531, at the Hill of Tepeyac,
December 05, 2019
Mexico City: Cradle of Empires By Nick Caistor Reaktion, 240pp, £14.99/$20 Mexico City has not had a very good press. One of the largest cities on earth, it is a byword for urban sprawl, pollution, traffic, poverty and crime. And yet, and yet … the huge urban area of the Federal District (as Mexicans usually
November 21, 2019
The Seal of Confession has long been a matter of public controversy. But Catholics, especially priests, have shown a remarkable solidarity in defending the seal – the obligation of a priest to never, under any circumstances, reveal the sins that are confessed to him. The subject is back in the news because the Independent Inquiry
November 07, 2019
Of Gods and Men: 100 Stories  from Ancient Greece and Rome  Edited by Daisy Dunn Apollo, 640pp, £25/$35 The word “anthology” originally meant a collection of flowers; thus a literary anthology is a sort of greatest hits compilation, and springs from the surely  eternal desire to reduce a world to a single book. In this
October 17, 2019
The Second Sleep By Robert Harris Hutchinson, 320pp, £20/$26.95 A new book by Robert Harris is a joyful event, for he has repeatedly proven that he has the gift of finding “what oft was thought, but ne’er so well expressed”, and building a novel on the results. What if Hitler had won the War? That
September 26, 2019
The BBC’s Inside the Vatican relies, we are told in its somewhat breathless publicity, on unprecedented access to the inner workings of the Vatican City State. But viewers hoping for a fly-on-the-wall documentary that would tell them something they did not already know, or which could not be gleaned from other readily available sources, would
September 12, 2019
Understanding World Christianity: Mexico By Todd Hartch Fortress, 268pp, £19.99/$29 The history of Christianity in Mexico is certainly eventful. The Constitution of 1917 placed severe restrictions on the practice of religion, under the guise of separating Church and state. As Todd Hartch makes clear in this lucid, well-researched and informative book, the Constitution (which has
August 29, 2019
Jerusalem: City of the Book By Merav Mack and Benjamin Balint Yale, 272pp, £20/$30 Is there anything new that can be said about Jerusalem, the most contested city on earth, where three religions coincide and, indeed, collide? And yet this book, by a pair of Israeli writers, does precisely that: it creates for the reader
June 25, 2019
God knows, better than anyone, what people are like, and the revelation of God is expressed in a way designed to help our frail human minds receive it. Long before we were people of the book, we were people of the image. Before I could read, my favourite book was the Children’s Bible, and how