- Strangers in a strange land
With the United Kingdom criticised for opting out of a European Union plan to resettle thousands of migrants from Africa and the Middle East, what should be the Christian response to immigration and does Scripture offer any guidance?
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- What is going on in Brentwood Diocese? Mark Lee
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From the editor's desk
For John Henry Newman, the ideal university was a community of thinkers engaged in study for the sake of it. In his 1852 series of lectures on The Idea of a University, England’s most notable Catholic intellectual rejected the idea of a restricted vocational education.
In a sense the Tunisian gunman Seifeddine Rezgui was Everyman. He was not known to be a particularly devout Muslim; an internet video shows this healthy young engineering student demonstrating his break-dancing; he wore a Real Madrid shirt. Yet he has murdered 38 innocent holidaymakers of whom at least 30 are thought to be British.
Saying that “Islam is a religion of peace”, as the Prime Minister has repeatedly done, may be a worthwhile sound bite to cool community tensions and soothe anxieties. It could even help Muslim community leaders bring about what it declares to be already the case, though there is also the danger that it could alienate them.
Last month I went to Rome. I went to give a paper on the theology of beauty and its relationship to contemporary British nature poets at a conference, titled “The Power of the Word”, which is engaged in getting poetry, theology and philosophy to talk to each other.
There was no doubt about the audio of the week. “Barack Obama sang ‘Amazing Grace’ yesterday in a eulogy for the victims of the US Charleston church shooting,” was the full report of the event under a picture in The Sun.
The United States Supreme Court’s ruling that the ban imposed by some states on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, paving the way for its universal introduction, has hit the Vatican’s conservative hardliners like a thunderbolt.
“What are you doing?” I’d been lurking round the back of Barclays Bank for about 10 minutes when I realised I’d begun to attract attention. In the car park, about 20 yards behind me, a woman stood staring uncertainly at my binoculars. “It’s just that I work at the bank, and …”