SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
May 15, 2020
May 15, 2020
On the walk to my mother’s house there is a handwritten sign on a gate that reads “Happy Easter! Jesus is risen from the dead!” It doesn’t belong to a church, just a perfectly normal suburban home, and I doubt you’d have seen something like it before the pandemic. Perhaps the coronavirus will lead to
May 15, 2020
Old-fashioned religion is well used to doubt. The Book of Job tells of a struggle with doubt of the most radical kind, while Christians from at least Augustine onwards have accepted that faith may require recurrent dark nights of the soul. In contrast, the secular religions of the past few centuries are notable for their
May 15, 2020
“I just think,” says Fr Doug Grandon, “it’s the greatest time right now that we’ve seen in generations to evangelise.” And he has a story to back up what he says: on Easter Sunday, during the recent restrictions, Fr Doug helped his neighbour Caroline return to the Church. (She has given permisison for her story
May 15, 2020
Only one editor of the Catholic Herald has ever been sent to jail. But Charles Diamond was a major figure in our history: the paper’s founder and, from 1888 to 1934, the man at the editor’s desk. The Herald was founded in the era of Cardinal Manning, when the cause of workers’ rights was at
May 15, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has shaken the very foundations of the global economy – and raised questions about basic moral principles as well as immediate practical issues. To help with both, the Vatican has created a commission to offer guidelines for a socio-economic response, one that provides “care for the whole human family facing the Covid-19
May 15, 2020
Since the 11th century, when a crescendo of Marian devotion began in the Western Church, there arose the custom of devoting 30 days to Our Lady, a time set aside to contemplate her virtues. Called a Tricesimum, these 30 days became known as “Lady Month”, but the custom did not become widespread in the Church
May 15, 2020
It happens fairly frequently that I need to explain to intelligent and otherwise well-informed outsiders what the Roman Curia is and is not. Usually, my interlocutors have a picture – roughly sketched but colourful and impressive – of the Curia as a scene from a baroque painting, with Cardinals and Archbishops and Monsignors in their
May 15, 2020
It was time for the singers. And in devastated Italy, post-Pavarotti, that could only mean Andrea Bocelli. Hence the grace-filled moment that took place this Easter, at a sacred music concert in the empty Duomo. Since the mid-1980s, when Bob Geldof gave us Band Aid to raise funds for the Ethiopian famine, any calamity of
May 15, 2020
When, in 431 AD, the Council of Ephesus proclaimed Mary as Mother of God (Theotokos), it was interested more in defending the truth about Christ than in the secondary, but happy, side-effect of promoting the veneration of Mary. “Mother of God” is a litmus test for orthodox thinking about Christ. Whichever way we turn, “Mother
May 15, 2020
Mrs America Netflix/Hulu Why make a show about Phyllis Schlafly now? Schlafly, a Catholic who campaigned against feminism and abortion, is the subject of a new series, Mrs America. It’s set in the 1970s, when Schlafly led the movement against the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have ended several legal distinctions between men and women.
May 15, 2020
Sport, the “beautiful game” in particular, is no stranger to a grand theory. These tend to come in various colourful guises, belying their platitudinous and conspiratorial natures, and all too often delivered with “bet-you-didn’t-know-this” solemnity. I have learnt to keep my own football theorising to myself, having read Ian Hamilton’s remarkable essay “On Being a
May 15, 2020
Most traditional May customs have two key elements, fortunately both still available to enjoy even in lockdown: walks and flowers. Not only the summer festival of May Day, but also the celebration of church feasts which often fall in this month – Rogationtide, Ascension Day, and Whitsun – have historically involved some form of going