SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
January 09, 2020
January 09, 2020
It’s a new year, and we are told by the media that it is time for a New You. Someone who is better, wiser and – most insistently – thinner. Publishers traditionally pump out January diet books urging self-restraint after the season of mince pies and merrymaking. But this time I am not mournfully spearing
January 09, 2020
The 1830s were a tempestuous time for American Protestantism, from the fires of the Second Great Awakening to the ongoing march of Unitarianism. Adding to the general excitement, a self-described biblical prophet, William Miller, came up with two dates for Doomsday in that fraught decade. When neither eventuated, Miller declared himself a failure, and retired
January 09, 2020
Cryptic across 5 Blessings of Sixties music – duet is not in tune (10) 8 Left hospital department after period of abstinence (4) 9 Awe to a few is unnerving (8) 10 Muslim law runs through Kurdish arias (6) 11 Get going after Victoria vacated, to be taken in by relative (6) 12 Philistine place
January 09, 2020
Ordinary Form Divine Office Week I Sunday, January 12: The Baptism of the Lord Is 42:1-4, 6-7; Ps 29; Acts 10:34-38; Mt 3:13-17 Monday, January 13: Weekday in Ordinary Time or St Hilary 1 Sm 1:1-8; Ps 116; Mk 1:14-20 Tuesday, January 14: Weekday in Ordinary Time 1 Sm 1:9-20; 1 Sm 2:1, 4-5, 6-7,
January 09, 2020
Bizarrely, two new phrases crept into usage in the English language over the Christmas period. One was “Slapgate”, a noun that refers to the moment when Pope Francis repeatedly slapped the wrist of a woman who clasped his hand and pulled him towards her, almost dragging him off his feet. The other was “Pope-slapping”, a
January 09, 2020
As usual, my monastic Christmas, celebrated with the community of St Cecilia Abbey, Ryde, in the Isle of Wight, brought me many graces, but chief among them was to assist at the death of one of the community: 93-year-old Mère Stéphanie Mathieu. On Christmas Day at the end of Mass I left the altar with
January 09, 2020
Both East and West have calendar issues. In the Eastern Churches, some follow the old Julian calendar and some the newfangled 16th-century Gregorian. In the Western Church some follow the Roman Rite’s traditional calendar while others that of the novel Novus Ordo. At no time of year are these differences more pronounced than the time
January 09, 2020
The Baptism of the Lord Is 42:1-4 & 6-7; Acts 10:34-38; Mt 3:13-17 (Year A) As soon as Jesus was baptised he came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And a voice spoke from heaven, ‘This
January 09, 2020
Last Letters By Freya and Helmuth James von Moltke (translated by Shelley Frisch) NYRB, 432pp, £14.99/$18.95 In any society the number of people who are prepared to suffer for their beliefs and principles is generally very small. This is especially true in times of persecution, as was the case in the Third Reich, where overt
January 09, 2020
Believers: Faith in Human Nature By Martin Konner, Norton, 336pp, £22/$28.95 As everyone from Teilhard de Chardin to Albert Einstein has taught us, religion and science do not need to be in conflict. Just as the greatest philosophers often reach a point where religion is the only answer, so scientific discovery eventually runs into questions
January 09, 2020
The Theology of Benedict XVI: A Protestant Appreciation Edited by Tim Perry Lexham Press, 272pp, £20.99/$25.89 The theology of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is not the easiest thing to get a handle on. There is, first, the sheer volume of it. During his tenures as a theology professor, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine
January 09, 2020
Ashes in the Snow (Amazon Prime) is a little movie, but “little” doesn’t mean small. Ashes focuses on the personal trials of an adolescent girl, Lina Vilkas (Bel Powley), amid the shattering events of World War II. The film opens in Kaunas, Lithuania, 1941, with Lina, a self-taught artist who dreams of art school but