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March 9th 2018

The pope that England made

It had never happened before and has never happened since…

The freedom to be unfashionable

Jacob Rees-Mogg put the matter in a balanced – if somewhat orotund – way: he did not consider that a burka added to any woman’s “pulchritude”…

Just the thought made me sweat

In hindsight it was inevitable…

A truce that cannot hold

Too many Catholic leaders have treated Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s alleged crimes as an isolated issue…

The new idea of a university

There is a heatwave, and it is clear that Victorian buildings, however beautiful, are not ideal places in which to work in such weather…
Last week, on the 25th anniversary of Veritatis Splendor, I looked at how St John Paul’s encyclical of 1993 took up the challenges created in the aftermath of Humanae Vitae 25 years earlier…

Cartoon: by Kipper Williams

Diary: by Andrew M Brown

“Soft refreshing rain” – those words popped into my head when the first thunderstorms of this summer broke…
A friend of mine texted me last week to say that she’d found a nice church round the corner from her office and had just “popped in for a lunchtime Communion service”…
The Prince of Wales is known for his interest and involvement, through the Prince’s Trust, in helping young people make a good start in life, not just in gaining skills but by building confidence…
No one has ever come up with a convincing explanation of what makes a conductor and an orchestra a good fit; but when the chemistry works, you know it…
“Pope Francis is a true rock star.” Who says? An actual rock star…
Dorothy Day: An Introduction by Terence C Wright, Ignatius, 162pp, £12 The author, an academic at the St John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, has written an excellent short introduction to the life of this most human of women, whose Cause has been introduced…
Historical Noir by Barry Forshaw, No Exit, 220pp, £9.99 As we rush headlong into an uncertain future that seems at once both disorientating and lacking a moral centre, writers are increasingly looking back and setting their novels in an earlier time; a place where mobile phones don’t buzz and the truth is still something worth fighting for…
Making Oscar Wilde by Michèle Mendelssohn, OUP, 360pp, £20 In January 1882, Oscar Wilde toured America with a trunkful of lace-trimmed velvet coats and low-cut Byronic blouses…
The Magdalene in the Reformation by Margaret Arnold, OUP, 312pp, £25 Who is Mary Magdalene? Is she Apostola Apostolorum, the first to proclaim the risen Christ? Is she the penitent sinner, a former prostitute whose encounter with Jesus led to a transformation of her life that makes her a paradigm of repentance? Is she the one who sat at the feet of her Lord while Mary did the serving, offering a feminine model for contemplators of divine mysteries? Or is she the hidden wife of Jesus who bore him descendants who would go on to rule France and hide the Holy Grail? Setting aside preposterous conspiracy theories, Mary Magdalene has been understood by Christians through the centuries as all of the others, therefore offering various models of holiness within the Church, especially – but not only – for women…

The power of a compliment

Thomas Aquinas once suggested that it’s a sin not to give a compliment to someone when it’s deserved, because by withholding our praise we’re depriving that person of the food that he or she needs to live on…