SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Fr Dominic Allain

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April 01, 2021
On the tenth anniversary of Grief to Grace UK's founding, Fr Dominic Allain writes of the organisation's mission to support abuse survivors, particularly survivors of clergy abuse.
September 04, 2020
As one of the Quarter Days of the medieval year, Michaelmas had important significance for rents, leases and employment. If you are preparing to return to school, university or the legal world, the name Michaelmas might still denominate your term. Otherwise, this once important feast has only a residual impact on the cultural landscape of
August 06, 2020
“Vanità di vanità, ogni cos’ e vanità,” we sang to a hauntingly sad melody. St Philip Neri used to make his novices sing this song and we, as their 20th-Century counterparts, were taught it by Dr Mary Remnant for performance in one of her lecture recitals at the London Oratory. The evening was billed as
July 17, 2020
I suspect that the clergy had a fundamentally different experience of the Covid lockdown from the laity. We may speak airily of how “our churches were closed” and how “we” had no access to the sacraments for months, but in reality no priest had to experience months without the Mass or the Blessed Sacrament as
June 20, 2020
His eyes stare out of the grainy black-and-white photo with an intensity I found frightening when, as a child, I first saw it on a prayer card. Later I began to imagine that perhaps this look was something to do with the romance of the desert. In my mind the nobleman who made the desert
May 15, 2020
I am hoping that one of the first things that can be swiftly restored to our faith practice is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. A priest behind a protective screen is surely no more risky than the situation of a supermarket cashier? I know some priests have tried improvised solutions, but the general guidance was that
April 09, 2020
There’s a Carry On pun in which Kenneth Williams’s highly strung character’s excuse that he was “once a weak man” is interpreted as though “weak” were an adjective of time. For some reason it sprang to mind when I heard the news that the Catholic Herald was going to become a monthly magazine. I have
April 02, 2020
“Dowry’’ has a strange, medieval ring about it. I first heard the word in the Prayer for England at Sunday evening Benediction, and in the Lourdes Hymn. Perhaps that’s why it evokes the Catholicism of my grandparents’ generation; the Catholicism, too, of the remnant who kept the faith when the state claimed rights over the
March 26, 2020
I am sure saying so will not win me many friends, but I wish clergy and laity alike would stop taking to the media to tell us what a wonderful opportunity we are living through and implying that digital sacraments are the Lord’s latest plan. For example, the cardinal who declared that the forthcoming Holy
March 12, 2020
The full moon shines high above, casting its lustre on the strange landscape and silhouetting the jagged ridges of the mountains so that they look two-dimensional, like stage scenery on some vast set.  Above, stars and planets gleam in a perfectly cloudless sky. The heavenly bodies seem strangely close to the serrated mountain peaks. I
March 05, 2020
Canon Law and the Ceremonial of Bishops require that when sacred places have been violated by sinful, scandalous actions, acts of reparation must be performed to restore them. How appropriate, therefore, that after violations of the temple that is the human body through scandals of clerical abuse, some kind of public act of reparation should
February 27, 2020
With Sunday’s Gospel of Jesus in the wilderness, tempted by the Devil, the Church reveals the familiar topography of Lent. Even as I say it, I am aware that something within me begins to see the 40-day fast in terms of a confrontation. Jesus versus the Devil. Me versus the world, the flesh and the
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