SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Mary Kenny

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November 21, 2019
Many people watching Prince Andrew’s television interview at the weekend will have been thinking of the impact on the Queen – watching the son she has always favoured in such a humiliating position. And then watching the reaction, which analysed the said interview as catastrophic, disastrous, a “car crash”, ill-advised and self-serving, accusing Andrew of
November 14, 2019
The controversial historian David Starkey was raised in a Quaker family and, although he is no longer a believer, I think that Quaker background plays a role in some of his views about the military. Soldiers, he said in an election podcast, are neither heroes nor victims. “Today’s soldiers are volunteers. They are doing it
November 07, 2019
Is swearing a moral issue? In the past, we were taught that invoking “the Holy Name” blasphemously was indeed an offence. But there are so many expressions of “Christ!” and “Jesus Christ!” in the public realm these days that it passes almost unnoticed. Christians are told it’s prissy to fuss and that there are bigger
October 31, 2019
The reports of 39 people – now assumed to be Vietnamese – who froze to death in a lorry container coming from Zeebrugge, and found in Essex – has been hugely distressing. A friend rang me last weekend to say she couldn’t get the sufferings of those afflicted souls out of her head. Smugglers and
October 24, 2019
Mrs Anne Sacoolas has been the object of some criticism in this country ever since it was disclosed that her car was involved in a head-on collision with a motorbike ridden by 19-year-old Harry Dunn, while she was allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road.   Harry died, and his mother and father
October 17, 2019
Fears are sometimes expressed that if Brexit goes pear-shaped, and the United Kingdom leaves the EU without a deal, terrorism could return to Northern Ireland. Some Irish news reports suggest that if a “hard border” appeared once again on the island of Ireland, the border posts themselves could be the targets of attacks by bomb
October 10, 2019
What does John Henry Newman mean to ordinary Catholics today? His intellectual works, such as his great tome The Idea of a University or even the compelling Apologia Pro Vita Sua are not always easily accessible to the man and woman in the pew, such as myself. But there are two aspects of Newman’s earthly
October 03, 2019
There was a time when the Catholic Church might decline to bestow a full Christian burial on individuals whose public lives were judged to be less than exemplary. The French writer Colette (recently portrayed by Keira Knightley in the eponymous film) was refused a church funeral because her life had been “scandalous”. The lady herself would
September 26, 2019
It took the collapse of the travel company Thomas Cook – with the many reports of British tourists stranded abroad, sometimes in dire straits – to prompt me to look up the origins of this hitherto legendary firm. The original founder was a Victorian Baptist minister who sought to bring travel to the masses, in an
September 19, 2019
Earlier this month, BBC Two showed a documentary called Seahorse: The Dad who Gave Birth, which was made in Deal, Kent, where I dwell (the documentary is available via the internet). I am acquainted with Fred McConnell, “the dad who gave birth”, as a neighbour, and as a daughter of very nice folks locally. Seahorse
September 12, 2019
It’s considered by some as the best film noir ever made – and it is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. The Third Man, starring Orson Welles, was rendered especially compelling by Anton Karas’s mesmeric Harry Lime Theme, played on the zither. The movie, directed by Carol Reed, is a haunting thriller set in the
September 05, 2019
One of the more amusing aspects of growing older is to observe the reversals of history and the shifting of concepts. How piquant to see Chinese protesters in Hong Kong and elsewhere singing God Save the Queen as an affirmation of freedom, rather than as a symbol of colonial rule. How sweet to see baking