Latest Issue: 4 October 2014
4 October 2014
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  • Family values the Church can learn

    At least in the West, expectations are high that the extraordinary synod of bishops which Pope Francis will open in Rome tomorrow will move the Catholic Church in a more liberal direction on a range of issues, not least regarding divorce and remarriage.

  • The Gospel: Helping hand or penal code

    The Catholic Church normally prefers an image of serene and seamless unity, where decisions are reached at the top by prayerful consensus. The current situation is shockingly different. It seems even the Pope’s closest advisers are happy to conduct their disputes in public.

  • ‘I felt I had done wrong and I must go’ Elena Curti

    The Bishop of Arundel and Brighton resigned this week after a Sunday newspaper revealed that he broke his vow of celibacy. His departure is a blow for the diocese and the wider Church

  • Cameron feels the heat Julia Langdon

    The Conservatives had an inauspicious start to their conference, losing one MP to exultant Ukip and having a minister involved in a sex scandal. The week heralded further problems for David Cameron, as our observer detects in the second of her reports

  • The synod without a script Massimo Faggioli

    As the Synod on the Family opens tomorrow, the fifth in our series looks at some of the 253 participants from around the world, and examines the gamble – perhaps a defining moment of his pontificate – Pope Francis has taken in encouraging open dialogue and debate

  • When life means life Melanie McDonagh

    Whether divorced and remarried Catholics should be allowed to receive Communion will be a key topic at the Synod on the Family. Here, a writer argues for the status quo

  • In the footsteps of Francis Ursula Mott

    Secular Franciscans attempt to model their lives as closely as possible on Christ in such a way that their preaching is more by example than through words, and they respond to human needs as they find them

  • Making Make-Believe Real: politics as theater in Shakespeare’s time Garry Wills, reviewed by Clare Asquith

    How did she do it? Illegitimate, excommunicated, head of a disputed national Church, and, worst of all, a single woman – Elizabeth’s survival on the English throne for 45 years is one of the most remarkable political balancing acts of history.

  • The living world Laura Gascoigne

    “THE SOUND of water escaping from mill dams, willows, old rotten planks, slimy posts and brickwork. I love such things. These scenes made me a painter.” From this famous statement sprang the romantic myth of John Constable (1776-1837) the natural-born artist who drew his inspiration direct from the River Stour.