SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Niall Gooch

December 23, 2021
Ours is a universal church with a message of hope for all mankind
December 06, 2021
We will often disagree on what justice looks like
November 17, 2021
The end of Christendom will bring many trials and difficulties for Catholics
October 27, 2021
Will the "synod on synodality" be helpful or constructive for the Church?
October 14, 2021
The length, style and quality of homilies is a subject for debate within the Church
September 25, 2021
Once we have admitted into law the principle that patients can be intentionally killed, it is very difficult to control the wider application of that principle.
September 09, 2021
On the last day of the summer term, it was prize-giving at my children’s school. The chapel was full of youngsters, scrubbed and polished and shining in their best uniforms. The Head Boy and the Head Girl wore their gowns of office. The Headmaster and the Chairman of the Governors were also dressed for the
April 24, 2021
Westminster Cathedral is not only one of the finest churches in the capital, but one of London’s best buildings of any kind. The exterior is glorious, with its neo-Byzantine domes and bold patterning. The mosaic over the west door — liturgical west, at any rate — portraying Christ the King is quite unlike anything I’ve
April 13, 2021
After Mass on Easter Sunday, a sweet elderly woman came up to us and gave each of my children £2 because they had been so well-behaved and because she wouldn’t have a chance to see her own grandchildren this Easter. I say this not to boast about my children’s behaviour in church, which is, shall
April 09, 2021
About twenty minutes’ drive from my house is St Augustine’s golf course, near Ramsgate in Kent. If you make a mess of your approach to the green on the eighteenth hole, your ball may end up in a small enclosure between the fairway and a minor road. This enclosure, bound by an elderly wooden fence
April 01, 2021
It seems very apt somehow that some of the key milestones in the easing of the Covid-19 restrictions should fall around Easter. Monday of Holy Week saw the resumption of outdoor sport and the beginning of the end of the strict ban on close-quarters household mixing. The first Monday after the end of the Easter
March 25, 2021
If you spend any time at all on social media, you have probably heard of Jordan Peterson, the Canadian academic. Until about five years ago he was a fairly obscure figure, outside of his field of psychology. He had a successful academic career in the US and Canada, and wrote a highly ambitious book of
December 26, 2021
On the 30th anniversary of its publication, a book about the Reformation explains how Christianity was robbed of its magic and mystery
December 01, 2021
The secret to overcoming the anticlimax of January is to set oneself easy goals
October 21, 2021
If homilies are to be engaging, regardless of length, a greater effort must be made, while training candidates for the priesthood, in how to speak
October 02, 2021
On 4 October 2003, the Feast Day of Saint Francis, I arrived in Santiago de Compostela, having completed the Camino Frances, the pilgrimage route which crosses northern Spain from the Pyrenees. After queuing for our certificates of completion, my walking companions and I hurried to the midday pilgrims’ Mass at the magnificent Gothic cathedral. It
August 29, 2021
The internal debate about the Latin Mass has little effect on the Church’s outreach and is unlikely to reverse the decline of Catholicism in the West
May 24, 2021
That many aspects of God’s nature and plans remain mysterious, at least during our earthly lives, has been a longstanding theme of Christian writing.
February 26, 2021
Counterfactuals are great fun -- and the beginning of the Reformation in England is packed with fascinating ones Niall Gooch likes to explore. 
August 24, 2020
Science Fictions By Stuart Ritchie Bodley Head, 368pp, £18.99 When I gave talks on bioethical issues for the charity Life, for a while a staple of our discussions was the work of the Korean scientist Hwang Woo-Suk, who achieved international fame in 2004 for his apparent breakthroughs in embryonic stem cell technology. However, our presentations
July 17, 2020
Last year we finally left the Big Smoke and settled in rural Kent, bringing to an end my many years as a reluctant town mouse. Our village is straight from central casting: it has a 12th-century church next-door to a huge Georgian parsonage; you pass between the churchyard and the latter’s considerable grounds through the
May 16, 2020
Wagner was not a Christian believer, but remained fascinated by the rituals of the faith and the way in which it appeared to satisfy our deepest yearnings
May 04, 2020
Even if the outcome of having children is greater happiness, that is not its purpose
April 09, 2020
Well, here we all are. Confined to quarters. Recluses, by order of HM Government. No Mass, no pub, no meals out, no sports matches, no public gatherings. The Sealed Knot return to barracks and summer fete committees draw stumps. West London will no longer have to endure its annual invasion by Oxbridge hearties for the
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