SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Books
December 17, 2015
Jack Carrigan
The Blue Touch Paper by David Hare, Faber and Faber, £20 It’s good to check in sometimes on the secular mindset of the London literati. David Hare has been a well-known name in British theatre for the past 40-odd years, reflecting aspects of contemporary culture, if from a rather lofty perspective. In this memoir he
December 17, 2015
Miguel Cullen
Windharp Edited by Niall MacMonagle, Penguin, £20 The Irish poetic tradition stretches back to the first fili, a class of elite poets that existed until the Irish caste system was demolished by the English in the Renaissance. Top-ranking fili were known as ollams – the first Chief Ollam of Ireland was Amergin Glúingel, whose status
December 17, 2015
Staff writers
Going Up the Holy Mountain by Gary Hastings (Columba, £12.50). Hastings, currently rector of St Nicholas Collegiate Church, Galway, has written a spiritual guidebook for those in quest of God, using Croagh Patrick as an extended metaphor for this pilgrimage. Each chapter is divided into subsections for readers to explore. These should be seen as
December 10, 2015
Staff writers
Archbishop Pole by John Edwards (Ashgate, £75). As the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Reginald Pole had a tragic destiny. Edwards has written a life that does full justice to his subject’s complex ecclesiastical and political roles, both as a Plantagenet nobleman and a cardinal. Although focusing particularly on Pole’s last years, between 1556
December 10, 2015
Jonathan Wright
When Silence Speaks by Tim Peeters, DLT, £12.99 It might be imagined that the life of a Carthusian – dominated by silence and solitude and away from the cares of the world – is always one of peace and contentment. Assuredly, the rigours of the order can lead men to moments of extraordinary spiritual depth
December 10, 2015
Stav Sherez
The Ghosts of K2 by Mick Conefrey, Oneworld, £20 In the summer of 1996 a ferocious storm descended on K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, engulfing the many climbing teams spread out across its perilous ledges. By the end of August, 13 climbers were dead in what would prove to be the worst season in K2’s history.
December 10, 2015
Francis Phillips
Eleven Cardinals Speak on Marriage and the Family edited by Winfried Aymans, Ignatius/Gracewing, £15 The essays in this book were written before the October family synod. An excellent initiative on the part of Ignatius Press, they reflect the unchanging teaching of the Church from different perspectives around the world. These cardinals, from Europe, Africa, India
December 01, 2015
Michael Duggan
Augustine by Robin Lane Fox, Allen Lane, £25 In San Gimignano on an April Sunday in 1966, around the age of 20, Robin Lane Fox was introduced to the story of St Augustine by his uncle, who took him to see the frescoes in the church that bears the saint’s name. Nearly 50 years later,
December 01, 2015
Sister Janet Fearns
The Gift of Grief by Andrew Stringfellow, Redemptorist, £7 One evening in 2014, I stepped out of the bus, looked to see if the road was clear for me to cross – and cried. Without realising, it was the first time that I had taken that particular bus at that particular time since I left
December 01, 2015
Fr Anthony Nye SJ
Abounding in Mercy edited by Daniel Cronin, St Pauls, £8.95 Canon Daniel Cronin has asked a number of well-known Catholics how they see the Year of Mercy. Their answers are brief, pithy and personal. This little book could be taken day by day, article by article, for personal reflection and prayer. The editor has performed
December 01, 2015
Staff writers
Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey (DLT, £9.99). Subtitled Making Peace with an Evolving Faith, this candid and humorous book explores the common experience of feeling that nothing is “quite right” and that “nothing is where it belongs any more”. Bessey, a Canadian, married with four young children, uses incidents, setbacks and lessons from her
September 24, 2015
Jonathan Wright
Not In God’s Name BY JONATHAN SACKS, HODDER, £20 A familiar anthropological prism is deployed in Jonathan Sacks’s book. People crave a sense of identity, they frequently find it in groups, and this can result in the best and worst of human behaviour. We are kinder, or at least more tolerant, to those within our