SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
February 20, 2020
February 20, 2020
Four hundred and fifty years ago, Pius V issued a papal bull excommunicating Queen Elizabeth I. In this week’s cover story, Jack Scarisbrick asks if it was a mistake. Also in this issue, Jon Anderson examines Cardinal Marx’s shock decision to stand down as leader of the German bishops. Fr James Jackson, FSSP, begins his Lenten series. Bonnie Lander Johnson solves your Lent
February 20, 2020
Four hundred and fifty years ago, on February 25, 1570, Pope St Pius V issued the bull Regnans in Excelsis excommunicating Elizabeth I, Queen of England. He did not mince his words. Since “He who reigns on high” (Regnans in Excelsis) had appointed Peter and hence every successor “ruler of all peoples and kingdoms”, Pius
February 20, 2020
Last week brought us the much-anticipated “post-synodal apostolic exhortation”. Is there any less lovely combination of words on the Vatican beat? This one though, Querida Amazonia, was lyrical and poetic, and Pope Francis chose to style it in the form of dreams which he has. Four of them to be precise: social, cultural, ecological and
February 20, 2020
Acknowledging that this Sunday is, traditionally, Quinquagesima, and that Lent is around the corner, let’s peek at the Collect for the upcoming Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time.    Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, ut, semper rationabilia meditantes, quae tibi sunt placita, et dictis exsequamur et factis. A biblical source for part of the oration could be John
February 20, 2020
I work in a school, so for me this week marks the half-term break. Variously called Easter Term at Stonyhurst, Lent Term at Downside and Spring Term at Ampleforth, the name matters not. What matters is that pupils and staff can now take a break – from work and from each other. This half term
February 20, 2020
Trump and the Puritans By James Roberts and Martyn Whittock Biteback, 320pp, £20/$29.95 “God wanted Donald Trump to be president.” That is how Sarah Sanders, the former White House press secretary and a vocal Evangelical, explained President Trump’s close relationship with the Christian community. Unfazed by his divorces, alleged extramarital affairs and uncouth remarks, followers of
February 20, 2020
Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas and a Catholic, has declared that the Lone Star State will not accept any new refugees in 2020. His announcement comes after President Trump signed an executive order last September saying that states and municipalities must give written consent to agencies before refugees can be resettled. In the face
February 20, 2020
Rompere gli schemi: it’s an Italian expression that means something between “to break the mould” and “to upset the balance”. It’s what Pope Francis has done, again, with his post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Querida Amazonia.  Lots of ink has been spilled since its publication last week in efforts to figure out whether Francis has merely temporised
February 20, 2020
Seventh Sunday of the Year Lv 19:1-2, 17-18; 1 Cor 3:16-23; Mt 5:38-48 (Year A) “Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy. You must not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. You must not exact vengeance, nor must you bear a grudge against the children of your people. You must
February 20, 2020
It’s a year since the Vatican’s summit on the sexual abuse crisis and almost 10 years since Benedict XVI, following the revelations of clerical abuse in Ireland, advised: “Above all the Church must direct her efforts towards concrete measures for healing the survivors of these egregious crimes.” I am in Rome for meetings, trying to
February 20, 2020
Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has plunged into chaos, with Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK) suddenly resigning as party leader and announcing she will not be a candidate for Chancellor in next year’s federal election. After little more than a year in office, AKK, an active Catholic and a member of the Central Council of German Catholics,
February 20, 2020
Sanditon, now airing on PBS and available on DVD in Britain, is based on Jane Austen’s unfinished novel of 1816-1817. “Unfinished” creates the impression of a novel lacking perhaps only a conclusion – a somewhat generous assumption. A few hours’ reading from the Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen gives the lie to that belief. Sanditon runs
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