Pastor Iuventus

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January 18, 2018
I am reading a fascinating book about Plato and the Sophists by the great Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper. Lest that sounds pretentious, I hasten to point out that it’s a small book and it isn’t a very regular occurrence these days. A PG Wodehouse on the train is more my usual line. What makes Pieper’s
January 11, 2018
The transition from Christmas to Ordinary Time takes place for me during a few days in Walsingham. The shrine and village are both very quiet, and I can linger alone in the little Slipper Chapel, surely one of the most atmospheric and intimate places to pray in the whole of England, as the winter’s light
January 04, 2018
As a teenager, I read Rumer Godden’s In This House of Brede, a novel about a highly competent career woman who joins an enclosed community of nuns. It describes her subsequent struggles adapting to the world of the monastery and facing what today we should call her “demons”. But actually they are her unhealed past,
December 21, 2017
“Late have I loved you, beauty so ancient and so new.” St Augustine’s heartfelt cry of recognition that he has at last found his heart’s desire is surely one of the most famous of all passages in the writings of the Fathers. He explains: “You were within, but I outside, seeking there for you, among
December 19, 2017
The ancient liturgical cycle expresses the Church’s longing for the Messiah
December 14, 2017
The beautiful Gospel of the Annunciation, of the angel’s salutation to Mary and the announcement of the promised Saviour, echoes throughout Advent meditation. It is proclaimed for the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the Fourth Sunday of Advent, and will be the staple of many a carol service. The late Fr Cormac Rigby, erstwhile
December 07, 2017
Our increasingly technological age has given us the mindset that waiting for anything is a pointless inconvenience which must be managed into non-existence for true human thriving. This begets in us a damaging hubris which can colour our thinking and obscure the truth about the world. Thank God, I have never had to wait months
November 29, 2017
I make another visit to the Surrey-Hampshire border and to the Sisters of Our Lady, Star of the Sea. An estate agent in the village of Grayshott would probably describe the convent as “A former presbytery built in the early 20th C with adjoining integral church set in attractive grounds with extensive views over the
November 23, 2017
I have a strange mixture of sensations every time I land at Leonardo da Vinci airport in Rome. On this occasion I have a brief flashback to the very first time I landed there, and to the sight of the sun-browned landscape of late August. It all looked so foreign: the wall of heat encountered
November 16, 2017
I found in a secondhand bookshop a pristine hardback copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It had an inscription in the flyleaf; it had been presented to someone by his parish priest. The book was clearly unopened. I cannot know the history of this particular volume, but it struck me that just as
November 09, 2017
November 13 marks the 110th anniversary of the death of the poet Francis Thompson. I will pray for his eternal repose because he was a troubled soul, but few have sublimated their struggles more beautifully. Thompson’s poetry first gave me an imaginative insight into the doctrine of God’s immanence with lines such as: But (when
November 02, 2017
At the end of an intense week spent ministering to those who have survived clergy sexual abuse, one small phrase in St John’s account of the feeding of the 5,000 took on a new connotation for me. Seeing the vast crowd coming towards him, Jesus asks Philip where they can get enough bread to feed
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