SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Niall Gooch

December 23, 2020
“I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.” So says Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle towards the end of CS Lewis’s The Silver Chair, in his brave speech resisting the enchantment of the evil witch
December 21, 2020
Niall Gooch is hopeful this Christmas – at least, he hopes he is. Hope is one of the great Christian virtues. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he is faithful that hath promised”, as Hebrews chapter 10 puts it. We surely need some hope after this year. At the
December 09, 2020
In 1971, a petition was sent to Pope Paul VI, asking that Catholics in England and Wales be allowed to continue hearing the old Latin Mass, which had been formally replaced by a new order of Mass in English following the Second Vatican Council. The new Mass was simpler and more comprehensible but many felt
November 18, 2020
In many countries, Catholics have been protesting against the suspension of public Masses. There have been demonstrations in France, as reported in the Catholic Herald, as well as in Italy and the United States, and petitions are being circulated in Ireland and here in England. British Christians were able to resume worship to some degree
November 15, 2020
I have had to do something to cleanse my brain of thinking about American politics. What a time it’s been for political news junkies. The presidential contest had a dramatic narrative arc that could almost have been written for television. The Democrats were confident in victory as Election Day dawned, buoyed by polling that showed
November 05, 2020
Current children’s bedtime reading chez Gooch is number seven in the Famous Five series, Five Go Off To Camp. Reading the book, I was struck by one thing in particular: the Five are accompanied on their camping trip by one Mr Luffy, a middle-aged teacher from Dick and Julian’s boarding school who is coming to
October 28, 2020
“I’ve always thought the need to know the news every day is a nervous disorder.” As a recovering news addict, I am fond of this amusing aphorism by the conservative philosopher Michael Oakeshott. In particular, I wonder whether we perhaps hear much more news from Rome than is good for us. This may be a
October 22, 2020
In 2005, I worked for the pro-life charity LIFE, students who were sympathetic to us would ask how they could best contribute to the cause. I would suggest three ideas. Firstly, become very wealthy and give lots of the money to pro-life organisations. Secondly, become a scientific researcher or data analyst in order to analyse
October 15, 2020
From tiny acorns, mighty oak trees grow. I am not normally a great one for making New Year’s Resolutions. But I made one this year and it has turned out very well. At the start of 2020, I resolved not to lose weight or finish my novel or learn a new language – although I
October 09, 2020
Last summer a BBC journalist, Jess Brammar, caused a minor stir on Christian Twitter when she posted a short film of a Corpus Christi procession on Oxford Street in London, asking her followers what was going on. It seemed to me to be an honest question, born of genuine curiosity, rather than one of mockery
September 28, 2020
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia had an unlikely, but enduring, friendship. The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the US Supreme Court on 18th September reminded me that she had been part of one of the most unexpected and delightful friendships that I have ever heard about. The other half was her
September 22, 2020
We need the culture war. You may have seen on social media, or in the papers, some of the fierce debate about the Netflix TV film Cuties. It was released on Netflix in the US and the UK on 9th September, having already been shown in France, where it was made. The film features young
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