SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Melanie McDonagh

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October 06, 2016
Jonathan Riley-Smith was a distinguished historian, perhaps the most eminent contemporary historian of the Crusades, but of all his achievements, not the least was the way he died. It wouldn’t be true to say of him that nothing in life became him like the leaving of it, but in the last three years of his
August 11, 2016
There are some people, lucky things, whose prayers are nearly always heard. A friend of mine, Herbert McCabe, a distinguished Dominican theologian at Blackfriars Oxford, was one of them, and he made the mistake of telling me so. This was brilliant: a hotline to heaven. So whenever things were really tricky, I would get on
July 14, 2016
The extraordinary turn of events whereby Britain acquired a new Prime Minister, Theresa May, nine weeks before anyone expected, owes a great deal to the circumstances surrounding the withdrawal of Andrea Leadsom from the race. And that, in turn, is almost entirely because of the furore that followed her observation in an interview with The
May 19, 2016
Hah! Not only does Christianity offer you eternal life, it also prolongs your life on earth, at least if you go to church. Win-win. There have been lots of studies to suggest that churchgoing is good for you; the latest is an analysis of a study of 75,000 middle-aged nurses in the US between 1999
April 07, 2016
There was a time when I thought I’d never say this, but I’m worried that I’m, how shall I put it, turning Protestant. The awful thought dawned on me when I realised that although my parish church has a Door of Mercy – going through which, with appropriate prayers, would give me an indulgence –
February 18, 2016
There are several significant anniversaries this year, but the big one is coming up next year: in 2017 it will be 500 years since the start of the Reformation, a circumstance I may mark by wearing black or purple for the duration. The Reformation in England happened much later, but 1517 is indeed the point
January 14, 2016
My mother has been very ill – and still is – so the most natural thing to do is to badger God about it. So I do, and indeed I recruit as many people as I can to do it too. Some are better than others at it – though no one comes anywhere near
January 14, 2016
King Henry VI may not be a canonised saint but the miracles attributed to his intercession are legion
December 22, 2015
Our Christian duty in January is clear, we must carry on celebrating
December 22, 2015
Right in the middle of the Twelve Days of Christmas we get – well, the feast of Saints Melanie (sic) for one thing – but also New Year’s Day. It was a really big thing in the Middle Ages, the day when people exchanged presents, rather than Christmas Day. And funnily enough, even pre-1752, when the year
November 25, 2015
The campaign to “Repeal the 8th” – that is, the bit of the Irish constitution that explicitly gives protection to the unborn child – is well under way, long before the general election is announced in which the issue may well play a part. It’s already apparent that the coverage of the issue is going
November 25, 2015
The campaign to “Repeal the 8th” – that is, the bit of the Irish constitution that explicitly gives protection to the unborn child – is well under way, long before the general election is announced in which the issue may well play a part. It’s already apparent that the coverage of the issue is going
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