SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Francis Phillips

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October 08, 2020
I have just been reading a most inspiring book: uplifting both in the honest stories of the search for meaning and faith that fill its pages and in the superb photographs that accompany them. Titled Another Life is Possible (Plough Publishing House, £28.99), it has been created by Clare Stober, with photography by Danny Burrows.
October 05, 2020
Angelico Press has published another imaginative work from their unconventional list of authors. This time it is The Gentle Traditionalist Returns, by Roger Buck. Described by its author as “a comic book without pictures”, it is designed as a fable, to show how New Age thinking in all its subtle and seductive forms is waging
October 02, 2020
Sophia Institute Press has collected a sparkling collection of the occasional essays written recently for Crisis Magazine by New York’s most well-read priest. Our Peculiar Times: Catholic Wisdom for Times of Crisis by Fr George Rutler is a pleasure to read by all those who value Fr Rutler’s distinctive blend of humour, irony and erudition.
September 24, 2020
Many people in this country don’t know about the significance of the apparitions at Fatima that took place in 1916 and 1917. Thus Fatima: 100 Questions and Answers about the Marian Apparitions by Paul Senz (Ignatius Press) is to be welcomed. It is aimed at the general reader, for whom the name Fatima (unlike Lourdes)
September 23, 2020
It was the feast day of Saint Maximilian Kolbe on 14th August. Coincidentally, I was at Mass that morning to hear our parish priest, the son of Polish refugees after the War, speak very movingly of the Saint’s life, his apostolic work as a Franciscan friar in Poland and Japan, and his heroic death in
September 22, 2020
I read William Cash’s article in the July Herald magazine, Canterbury Trails, with pleasure. I feel a slight but enduring affinity with St Thomas Becket when, as an undergraduate, I joined a troupe called the Pembroke Players who performed TS Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral in Germany and Poland during one long vac. I had
August 25, 2020
When someone we love dies, it gives us an instantaneous and stark reminder of what mortality actually means – for us and for our loved ones. Reading Norman Lebrecht’s book, Why Mahler? when on holiday last week, it was hard to reconstruct the composer’s grief at the harrowing death of his young daughter from diphtheria
August 14, 2020
Recommended to me several years ago, I have at last got round to reading the late historian John Lukacs’ Last Rites, published in 2009 when he was aged 85 (he died in 2019, aged 95). I hesitate to use the word “maverick” of  Lukacs as it is overused and imprecise, but it is safe to
August 14, 2020
Having blogged about Cluny Media’s 2020 republication of What I Believe by Francois Mauriac, I subsequently read a novel from their list of Cluny Classics: Mauriac’s Genetrix, also republished this year. The story of a mother’s malignant, possessive love for her middle-aged son, it was first published in 1923 and demonstrates its author’s sombre view
August 13, 2020
It is good news that Cluny Media has decided to republish this year François Mauriac’s classic statement of his faith, What I Believe. First published in 1962 when the famous French, Nobel prize-winning, novelist and man of letters was aged 77, it brings together in a mere hundred pages all the spiritual leitmotifs of Mauriac’s
August 13, 2020
The Scandal of the Scandals: The Secret History of Christianity by Manfred Lutz (Ignatius Press), with its arresting cover image of a robed figure gesticulating from a pulpit, made me at first wonder if it was unearthing new scandals in the Church’s long history not yet discovered by her enemies. In fact, this lively volume,
July 31, 2020
Every story of conversion is of interest as each convert has their own unique experience of faith to relate. Nonetheless, Ian Murphy’s Dying to Live (Ignatius Press), with its subtitle, “From Agnostic to Baptist to Catholic”, has a particular readability. This comes from his roller-coaster description of the spectacular nudges of grace he receives and
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