SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Magazine
October 11, 2021
Charlie Hart
However bleak and overshadowed life might seem, lurking among the ruins are moments of true beauty –proof that ‘nothing pleaseth but rare accidents’
October 11, 2021
William Cash
William Cash travels to the holy island of Iona where celebrating Mass today owes much to the mother of Princess Diana
October 07, 2021
Cressida Connolly
Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout Viking Penguin, £14.99, 256 pages ________ The best-known and certainly the most dramatic novel about a former spouse is probably Rebecca. Not every story about an ex features murder, infidelity, madness and arson (much as we may wish it to). Nonetheless, exes engender lasting feelings, irritation, resentment and occasional bursts
October 07, 2021
Archie Hill
You might think poets make natural martyrs. Passionate, idealistic, enraptured by visions of artistic immortality; throughout history, barricades and prisons have been crammed full of poetic talent. But the best poets are, by necessity, listeners and observers, detached from the action where martyrs are found. When they strive for heroic death, more often than not
As we grow closer to the poor, little by little we gain their confidence and can advise them in the most terrible moments of this earthly pilgrimage. We can give them the comforting words of faith and we often succeed, not by our own merit, in putting on the right path people who have strayed
October 03, 2021
Sister Mary Jean
How many millions of miles rosary beads have travelled through troubled fingers only God and his Mother know. How many miracles of grace it has worked in the lives of those who were faithful to this devotion, it must keep the angels busy to record. How many times it has pulled back from the gates
October 02, 2021
Arabella Byrne
Matrix by Lauren Groff  William Heinemann, £16.99, 272 pages __________ The 12th-century poet we know as Marie de France was, scholars argue, the greatest writer of short fiction before Boccaccio and Chaucer. Her lais – tantalisingly short romances written in octosyllabic couplets – are thought to rival the best that those great men had to
October 02, 2021
Niall Gooch
On 4 October 2003, the Feast Day of Saint Francis, I arrived in Santiago de Compostela, having completed the Camino Frances, the pilgrimage route which crosses northern Spain from the Pyrenees. After queuing for our certificates of completion, my walking companions and I hurried to the midday pilgrims’ Mass at the magnificent Gothic cathedral. It
October 01, 2021
Anthony Cazalet
Religious relics and devotional merchandise can be macabre, thought-provoking, whimsical and, in some cases, downright entertaining. In Italy, one can visit reliquaries housing the mummified head of St Catherine of Siena or the uncorrupted tongue of St Anthony of Padua before buying blue plastic keyrings of the pierced St Sebastian – what my cheeky godson
October 01, 2021
The Catholic Herald
A synod on synodality may seem like an oxymoron but that is what is beginning this month. Pope Francis wants to rethink how the Church is run, and a synod – an assembly of the Church – is one way he hopes to address the issue of greater lay involvement in decision-making. The synod was
October 01, 2021
Justin Doherty
The spectre of so-called “assisted dying” is rearing its head again, as the British Medical Association controversially changes its stance to “neutral” and Baroness Meacher’s private member’s bill is soon to have its second reading. The sad case of Alta Fixsler, a brain-damaged Hasidic Jewish girl, reveals not only that euthanasia without consent is already
September 30, 2021
Father Anonymous
Now is the time for the bishops to come into their own. The Pope, in his motu proprio  – Traditionis Custodes – on restricting the celebration of Mass in the extraordinary form, the Tridentine rite, has said that any would-be celebrant must first obtain the permission of the local bishop. Hearteningly the signs are that
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