“I CAN’T EVEN DO IT,” exclaimed Michael Rosen, “the tongue-twister of it!” He was on a Radio 4 programme that I caught by chance, The First Jazz Poet.

Melanie McDonagh’s Notebook Premium

11 October 2017 | by Melanie McDonagh
When it comes to chastity or honour, most people can’t see what the problem is

I found myself staying in the house of a fervent Catalan nationalist a couple of years ago in the completely walled old town of Montblanc.

Articles keep appearing in the Tory press warning that the Conservative Party is in terrible trouble.

Saints, like angels, traditionally come in “categories”. There are cherubim, seraphim, powers, thrones, dominations, angels and archangels, and, similarly, there are apostles, martyrs, confessors, doctors, bishops, monarchs (kings and queens), popes, Religious and virgins.

There is something ineffably poignant about the coverage of the poor woman in the parish of Holy Redeemer, Slough, who has been attending funerals of complete strangers for the last 14 years and turning up for the buffet afterwards.

Barry Larkin committed suicide in 1995. No one in his family or among his friends knew he was chronically depressed.

September is the month of creation, and I’ve been wondering how widely Laudato si’ has been read since it was promulgated in May 2015.

I went to Germany last week to find the Holy Grail but on the way I stopped off at Aachen to take a look at the chapel that Charlemagne built for himself shortly after the year 800.

The most awful thing about an empty nest is this: there are no half-measures.

Our seemingly perpetual Euro-drama has reached Psalm 2:1 levels – “Why do the nations” – or, in this case, does the nation – “so furiously rage together?”

This is not a cheerful column. In the past few weeks a very dark topic has come up for me and I want us all to think about it. It is “the seal of the confessional” …

Gender politics, I have to confess, leave me cold and the latest aspect of it – gender fluidity, or neutrality, leaves me even colder.

“Of course,” Cormac once confided, “it’s a little sad to think that when my obituaries come to be written, they will concentrate on the abuse affair.”

Muslim Viking cheesemongers had not until recently entered into my perspective on European history.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has, alas, been unwell for some time but he dealt with his illness in the only way possible for a man of his ebullient temperament, by getting out and about.

Having a Mass celebrated in one’s living room is a rare experience, one my family has been blessed by several times over the years, when we have been visited by a Jesuit friend from Africa.

Latest Issue

Digital/PDF Version

PDF version (iPad-friendly)

Previous Issues
Latest Tweet
Share Us
Tablet Subscription

Manage my subcription here


Sign up for our newsletter

Sign Up