SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
December 19, 2019
December 19, 2019
The Great Al-Tahira Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Bakhdida remains charred black inside, five years after the Islamic State plundered and set it aflame; however, in 2020 the Syriac Catholic cathedral will be restored as Iraq’s largest Christian community fights to rebuild and regain what was lost. “It is a very significant church because it was
December 19, 2019
What should you wear at Christmas parties? And how should you look presentable without looking vain? I stumbled upon the answer at the inaugural Idler of the Year Awards, recently held by the Idler magazine in Pushkin House, a charming, 18th-century building in Bloomsbury. The Idler celebrates not so much lethargy as the need to
December 19, 2019
Paul Tillich (1886-1965) was born to a minister of the Prussian State Church in what is now Poland. He and his family moved to Berlin when he was young, and he studied successively at the universities of Berlin, Tübingen and Halle-Wittenberg.   Receiving his Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Breslau in 1911, Tillich
December 19, 2019
Cryptic across 1 Was Jesus called thus after a dodgy healing tale? (3,8) 8 In Nevada, east of 17Dn, small number meet the Pope (6,1) 9 Concerning the First Lady, it’s official (5) 10 Council of Rome, without hesitation, rejected the former S African contingent (5) 11 Don somehow escaped from an oddball long-haired tobacco
December 19, 2019
Ordinary Form Divine Office Week IV Sunday, December 22: The Fourth Sunday of Advent Is 7:10-1; Ps 24; Rom 1:1-7; Mt 1:18-24 Monday, December 23: Weekday of Advent, St John of Kanty Mal 3:1-4, 23-24; Ps 25; Lk 1:57-66 Tuesday, December 24: Weekday of Advent 2 Sm 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16; Ps 89; Lk 1:67-79 Wednesday,
December 19, 2019
Christmas Eve is observed differently according to local cultures and traditions but it remains essentially a vigil ahead of the major feast of the Nativity. In Russia, it is marked by fasting until midnight, for instance, and in Germany it is traditional to eat only a simple dish, such as sausage and potato salad. Yet
December 19, 2019
“O admirabile commercium: O marvellous exchange! Man’s Creator has become man, born of a Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” Thus the antiphon for First Vespers of January 1 expresses the mystery of the Incarnation. And the “Mass” part of the Christ-Mass
December 19, 2019
The Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Advent in the Novus Ordo is also the Postcommunion for the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The Annunciation was the moment of the Incarnation of our Lord.  Therefore, during Mass in the Ordinary Form on both Annunciation and Christmas,
December 19, 2019
Christmas – Mass During the Night Is 9:1-6; Ps 96; Titus 2:11-14; Lk 2:1-14 The Old Testament readings for the Christmas season are an expression of overwhelming joy. We can identify with their message because we, as sinners, have known the darkness that searches for light. In our frailty we have sometimes experienced life as
December 19, 2019
The Great Discovery (by Ulf and Birgitta Ekman, Ignatius Press, 280pp, £13.89/$17.95) is an engrossing book written jointly by a Swedish couple, formerly prominent Lutherans, who read and prayed their way into the Church over many years. They cite many signposts on their journey, not least the discovery of the role of Our Lady and
December 19, 2019
When Bishops Meet By John W O’Malley Harvard University Press, 223pp, £20/$24.95 How many bishops does it take to change the course of Catholic history? The answer, as John O’Malley’s spirited new book explains, can vary. Attendance rates during the early sessions of the Council of Trent were pitiful: somewhere in the region of five
December 19, 2019
Prince Albert By AN Wilson Atlantic, 430pp, £30/$35 Publishers love subtitles as a means of catching prospective buyers. So AN Wilson’s delightful biography of the Prince Consort has to have one: The Man Who Saved The Monarchy. It’s valid, because Wilson himself makes the claim, but it’s tiresome too, inviting the question “Really?” The monarchy