SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Jon Anderson

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June 29, 2017
The deal between the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist Party to maintain the new government at Westminster has focused attention on a party little known outside Northern Ireland. The DUP’s social conservatism – particularly its opposition to abortion and gay marriage – has led to protests, and its image is still largely defined by its
March 30, 2017
The Irish Church has lost its fervour, yet retains its fierce independence. But without outside intervention, it will continue to flounder
March 30, 2017
Pope Francis is due to visit Ireland in August 2018. His trip will probably include a historic journey north of the border. But what he is likely to find is that Irish Catholicism remains in serious long-term decline. Years of scandal have led to dwindling congregations, an increasingly hostile public climate and a Church that
November 17, 2016
One of many surprises from this year’s presidential election has been the collapse of the Religious Right, once one of the most powerful lobbies in the Republican Party. Donald Trump’s successful campaign has mostly ignored the movement’s traditional power-brokers, who have spent most of this year arguing among themselves about whether he was a supportable
September 08, 2016
Even though the Catholic Church continues to grow worldwide, the latest annual report from the German bishops’ conference makes grim reading. The detailed figures it contains illustrate the Church’s continuing decline in one of its historic powerhouses, and the problems in Germany are replicated across most of Europe. None of the indicators are encouraging. Although
February 25, 2016
Those who want to overturn the ancient discipline are energetic, well organised and influential. But can they persuade Pope Francis to make such a radical change?
February 25, 2016
The Catholic Church is once again embroiled in arguments about whether priestly celibacy has a place in today’s world. As Catholicism in most Western countries faces a rapidly ageing priesthood, a severe shortage of vocations and declining congregations, abolishing or at least relaxing the ancient rule has become a major item on the agenda of
November 12, 2015
The world’s largest male religious order is suffering an identity crisis and a decline in vocations. Can the first Jesuit pontiff lead it out of the doldrums?
October 15, 2015
Its Church is dogged by empty pews, scandals and a hierarchy beguiled by the latest social trends. Soon it could become little more than a heritage agency for ancient churches
October 01, 2015
Old-style socialists like Jeremy Corbyn may be atheists but they are less likely than the liberal Left to be ideologically opposed to religion
September 17, 2015
Author and actor Eric Bogosian has created a work of history that reads more like a spy thriller
June 04, 2015
The Irish Catholicism that used to define so many English cities now seems as remote as Newman and Manning
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