SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
February 27, 2020
February 27, 2020
Pope Francis did not attend a traditional penitential service with priests of the Diocese of Rome due to a mild cold, the Vatican has said
February 27, 2020
It has become a familiar scene. Two parents, expecting a child, go for a scan. They imagine that the doctor or nurse will be on their side; but they receive another kind of response, as it’s quietly but firmly hinted that they might like to book an abortion. Often – though not always – this
February 27, 2020
Pope Francis visited the southern Italian port city of Bari at the weekend to highlight a major gathering of Catholic bishops from 19 Mediterranean countries. He didn’t pull any rhetorical punches while he was there. Home to the relics of St Nicholas, revered by Greek and Russian Orthodox alike, Bari has become an ecumenical hub
February 27, 2020
Aficionados of GK Chesterton must be feeling a palpable sense of relief at the news that a plan to bulldoze his former home and replace it with flats has been thrown out by the local council. South Bucks District Council dismissed proposals by Octagon Developments to demolish the house, called “Overroads”, in Grove Road, Beaconsfield,
February 27, 2020
Utah’s state Senate (pictured) voted unanimously to decriminalise polygamy last week. The bill, which passed the Republican-controlled Senate with a vote of 29-0, will now go before the Utah House of Representatives, where it is expected to meet significant resistance. Around 30,000 people live in polygamist Mormon communities in Utah, which are not affiliated with
February 27, 2020
Spain’s Catholic bishops are resisting moves to legalise euthanasia in their traditionally Catholic country, as part of a radical reform package by the newly installed Socialist-led government. The government holds only a narrow parliamentary majority – which Bishop Luis Arguello, secretary general of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, says could be significant: “This new government’s weakness
February 27, 2020
The Portuguese parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of legalising euthanasia. Five different laws were approved last week, meaning that a committee will now have to streamline them into a single proposal, to be voted on again by Parliament. Following that, the law will go to President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, a Catholic. He can
February 27, 2020
Arriving in Newcastle lifts the soul for those of good taste and good faith. The Central Station, once decaying and spattered in pigeon dung, has been transformed into an uplifting cathedral for trains. Thanks to the new Japanese locomotives that shoot you to and from London in less than three hours, both the places I
February 27, 2020
In recent years, fasting has made something of a comeback. Nine years ago, the Bishops of England and Wales asked Catholics to once again return to Friday abstinence from meat. Programs like the rigorous Exodus 90 emphasize fasting as a spiritual discipline. Perhaps the pendulum of history is swinging back, as it tends to do.
February 27, 2020
Lent is a time when we dwell on our own sinfulness and seek the grace of repentance. We should not dwell on the sins of others. Sometimes, however, they are unavoidably brought to our attention. Last week brought a new “fallen idol”: Jean Vanier, revered founder of the l’Arche community. Vanier was hailed as an
February 27, 2020
The results of L’Arche’s investigation into their founder, Jean Vanier, were devastating on three levels. The news that the man praised the world over as a “living saint” had a series of sexually coercive and abusive relationships with at least six women over decades stunned the Catholic world. And not only the Catholic world; in
February 27, 2020
I have decided that the most exacting form of Lenten penance is something which is a darned nuisance. Going without may involve disappointment and trials of resolve but if it also involves an interruption to routine and a challenge to ingenuity then, because we live in an age of entitlement, it seems harder. In the