SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Lessons From the Archives

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July 22, 2021
A week after Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, liturgical scholar Dom Alcuin Reid predicts what he will do about the liturgy. A monk of the Monastere Saint-Benoit in Frejus-Toulon, France, his book The Organic Development of the Liturgy carried a preface by then-cardinal Ratzinger. His 2007 article Summorum Pontificum a restoration after a gross impoverishment
July 21, 2021
Reviewing a book called Inquisition: The Reign of Fear by Toby Green, Quentin de la Bedoyere warns against apologetic attempts to rationalize the Spanish Inquisition. He was the science editor of the Catholic Herald, and the son of Michael, who edited the newspaper from 1934 to 1962. The review was titled “Inquisition apologists are missing
July 18, 2021
Though it has just been rejected by his successor, Benedict XVI’s motu propio Summorum Pontificum made many people happy when he issued it in 2007. Liturgical scholar Alcuin Reid celebrated the statement as a needed application of the real intentions of the Second Vatican Council. He had reason to say this. A monk of the
July 12, 2021
The Scottish accountant, novelist, and Catholic convert, Bruce Marshall escaped Paris just two days before the Germans invaded, served in the army through the war, and then returned to France when the war ended. Perhaps best known now for Father Malachy’s Miracle and The World, the Flesh, and Father Smith, he also wrote spy stories
July 05, 2021
The highly praised novelist, columnist for The Spectator, The Oldie, and The Catholic Herald, creator of cookbooks, and Duckworth’s fiction editor, Alice Thomas Ellis was both a smoker and a contrarian. Here, writing in 1993, she writes as both. She expresses skepticism about the expertise of doctors some will feel relevant at the moment. Cat
June 29, 2021
Writing in 1940, the Catholic Herald columnist Douglas Jerrold describes his understanding of what it means to be on the political Right. For more on the writer, see How the Left Slanders the Right.  The article, titled “The Sword of the Spirit: The Fatal Division of Camps,” appeared in the issue of 2 August 1940.
June 26, 2021
Writing in a 1947 series on "The Church and the World Crisis," Caryll Houselander suggests the problem is with us as much as with the world. "The collapse of materialism around us does not imply the collapse of materialism within us," she writes. "For that, we have habitually made too many acts of faith in the treasure we hope to lay up upon earth."
June 23, 2021
Writing in 1940, the Catholic Herald columnist Douglas Jerrold describes the ways in which he thinks the English left misrepresented the Right. Jerrold has been described as a “romantic anticapitalist” in the style of Hilaire Belloc, with doubts about democracy and sympathies for Franco and (like George Bernard Shaw) Mussolini. He believed himself to be a
June 22, 2021
Describing her as “a distinguished Anglican writer,” the Catholic Herald asked the mystery novelist and playwright Dorothy Sayers to contribute to a forum on the fiftieth anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum. A note at the end warned readers that the article had been taken over the telephone and might include “deviations from Miss
June 20, 2021
“Lessons From the Archives” offers article taken from the Catholic Herald’s unparalleled archives, mostly but not entirely on the state and the future of the Catholic Church. Note that not everything that will be posted here is necessarily something the editors today agree with. It’s an historical source as well as an theological, apologetic, and devotional
June 19, 2021
The czarist government had sent him to jail in Siberia because he was a Catholic priest, not Orthodox. After the Russian Revolution, when he’d become head of the Russian Catholics, the communist state persecuted him as a Christian. Fr Leonid Feodorov died on 7 March 1935 of what were called “natural causes,” but were the
June 17, 2021
The editors of the Catholic Herald, in the lead editorial in the issue of 16 January 1942, have been discussing the challenges of Christian unity, which the war had heightened. Now, they say, others have shifted their attention from dogma to “the outward effects of differing Christian standpoints.”  They then write:   Whether this weakening
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