Columnists

The film Spotlight has just opened in many countries. It is one of the angriest films you will ever see.

One in six of all violent incidents reported to the police concerns domestic violence – an attack by someone with whom the person concerned is in a close relationship. It accounts for a third of all murders where the victim is female.

View from Rome

11 February 2016 | by Christopher Lamb
It looks bad. An outspoken abuse survivor and victims’ advocate leaves the Vatican’s child safeguarding commission. Peter Saunders, the founder of the National Association of People Abused in Childhood, had been growing increasingly frustrated with the slow pace of change.

Glimpses of Eden

11 February 2016 | by Jonathan Tulloch
It was a long time before I realised the visitor was a goldcrest. For weeks I’d caught glimpses of a tiny, drab, olive-coloured bird in the garden. Shooting in under the cherry tree, feeding frenetically but briefly on the fat balls, materialising suddenly on the bird table before vanishing again.

There’s nothing like a good debate in a busy staffroom to awaken the intellect on a dreary winter morning. This week our discussions centred on the decision of a primary-school head teacher to send a letter to parents requesting that they refrain from doing the school run in their pyjamas. Some of them apparently even wear pyjamas to assemblies and meetings.

The one item in the Creed that The Sun keenly champions is the existence of hell. Like other popular papers it often consigns murderers to “rot in hell”. Last week it was a horrible child-murderer called Robert Black, who had died in prison in Northern Ireland.

View from Rome

04 February 2016 | by Christopher Lamb
A critical task for any pope is the appointment of bishops: it is one of the concrete ways in which the Bishop of Rome exerts influence over the life of the Church throughout the world. Appointing men to lead dioceses is a delicate and laborious task which requires the papal nuncios in each country to research and compile dossiers on the dioceses and candidates.

Glimpses of Eden

04 February 2016 | by Jonathan Tulloch
The winds rose in the night. All morning, they strengthened. By afternoon, when I headed out for my walk, the trees were tossing and waving. I kept being blown from the path.

Under the bold headline, “The UK: Strong, Influential, Global”, in chapter two of last November’s “National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015”, the Government declared:

View from Rome

28 January 2016 | by Christopher Lamb
In the Terza Loggia, the third floor of the Apostolic Palace, they are preparing for some personnel changes. This is where the powerful Secretariat of State, which runs the Holy See’s network of embassies and helps the Pope in governing the Church, has its offices.

Glimpses of Eden

28 January 2016 | by Jonathan Tulloch
Fill your bird feeders and top up your fat ball dispensers, it’s time for the RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch again. This weekend the nation will spend an hour watching the birds in our gardens and parks, jotting down what we see.

Last Saturday, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that Iran had met its initial obligations under the July 2015 nuclear agreement. Many hope that this will usher in a new era of rapprochement between Iran and the West.

In an introduction that dared the reader to turn over in search of something more interesting, The Sunday Times began a leading article this week: “It is becoming a depressingly familiar story.”

From very early in the history of Christian spirituality, there have been two models for the contemplative life: the eremitic (or solitary) and the coenobitic (or communal).

View from Rome

21 January 2016 | by Christopher Lamb
In his relatively short time as the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis is able to list a series of achievements: an ­(ongoing) overhaul of Vatican finances, a rebooted Synod of Bishops and a more collegial form of governance.

Glimpses of Eden

21 January 2016 | by Jonathan Tulloch
The winter sun was setting when the wood pigeons lifted from the woods. A hundred, two hundred, three hundred of them.

Why did the revolution never happen? After the catastrophic breakdown in the world free-market financial system in 2008, it was widely predicted that the Left would seize the opportunity this offered.

When our sovereign was crowned, the Scriptures were placed in her hands with an awesome pronouncement: “We present you with this book, the most valuable thing this world affords.”

Children “don’t come with a manual”, David Cameron reminded us this week. When it comes to the fundamental issues of parenting – issues such as play, communication, behaviour and discipline

View from Rome

14 January 2016 | by Christopher Lamb
On Monday the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity starts in a year that anticipates the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation, which will be marked by a series of events throughout 2017.

Glimpses of Eden

14 January 2016 | by Jonathan Tulloch
The gorse was in bloom at the top of the hill. Unable to resist a closer look I vaulted the gate and climbed the steep slope of rough pasture to where the thorny bushes crowned the summit like the ramparts of some Iron Age hill fort.

As a show of false modesty, President Paul Kagame’s New Year address to the people of Rwanda was hard to beat. Under the little matter of the law, this tough and acutely intelligent former rebel leader should have been preparing to hand over power.

From Christmas to Epiphany our focus understandably turns towards the Holy Family. I do not know about your family, but among my clan no one is canonised, immaculately conceived or the Son of God.

There are still quiet domestic hallways, undisturbed except when the barometer is tapped as the householder passes through, where the paper flops on to the doormat each morning after the delivery boy has edged past the dripping laurel hedge.

View from Rome

07 January 2016 | by Christopher Lamb
With the awarding of a knighthood to the Conservative Party’s election strategist Lynton Crosby, David Cameron has been criticised for politicising Britain’s supposedly impartial honours system.

What a fascinating political year 2016 will be. However, once the ink has dried on that first sentence, multiple uncertainties crowd the page. Every forecast must be coated with humility.

People, particularly young people, are naturally information-seekers

29 December 2015 | by Lauren Nicholson-Ward
“Whatever happened to face-to-face conversations?” is a pseudo-question, too often bandied about when teachers like me remark on their students’ apparent obsession with their phones. But this whole notion is the product of myth and legend.

Glimpses of Eden

29 December 2015 | by Jonathan Tulloch
After weeks of wet and gloom, I woke to the sun peering in at our window. Wheeling out my bike, I took to the hills. It had been weeks since I’d come this way, and seemingly, no one else had either: ...

Contemporary society, especially in the West, is searching for a way to deal with ever more complex worlds of difference.

I had my first Scrooge encounter of the year yesterday, although I have no doubt there will be more – one of those anti-Christmas rants that interestingly never seem to make the scrooger feel any better.

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