From the editor's desk

Becket’s lesson for today Premium

26 May 2016
It is easy to mock fascination with sacred relics, particularly, in the case of a fragment of St Thomas Becket’s elbow now going the rounds in Britain, when historical events it commemorates strike a discordant note in the modern world.

With a recent past such as that of Europe, the rise of the far Right is profoundly worrying. The presidential election in Austria this week saw the narrow defeat of a candidate who has said that “Islam has no place in Austria”. Austria has had a far-Right fringe to its politics for decades.

The Royal College of Midwives is calling on the Government to recruit more midwives for the NHS, as there are not enough. That is its proper job. The RCM is also demanding a change in the law to decriminalise abortion right up to the moment of birth.

Is the BBC a cherished national institution and major curator of the nation’s cultural assets or just one more mass media provider of information and entertainment, among many? The Government’s White Paper on the future of the BBC’s royal charter was widely expected to take the latter view.

A Europe that deserves to survive Premium

12 May 2016
David Cameron’s rather clumsy presentation of the case for British membership of the European Union was instantly over-simplified into a warning that a British exit could lead to a Third World War. He left himself open to the mockery of the other side because he overstated his case while failing to explain the subtle ways in which British influence in Europe is an aid to continental stability.

If there was one singular message from the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, it was that civilisation needs religion if it is not to lose its way completely. His objective was to explore and enhance the role that Catholicism could play in that relationship. Nowhere did he set that forth more explicitly than in his address to church and civic leaders in Westminster Hall during his state visit to Britain in 2010.

Leaders must stamp out bigotry Premium

05 May 2016
The Labour Party is convulsed by an internal crisis over anti-Semitism – whether it exists in the organisation, and if so, how widespread is it, and what to do about it. What has inflamed the controversy is the slow and rather off-hand reaction of the leadership.

Even the sky was blue, at least for some of the time. Such a sunny tribute to Leicester City Football Club seemed entirely appropriate as the population basked in the glory of the team’s triumph as champions of the Premier League this week.

Kung pins hope on Francis Premium

28 April 2016
Professor Hans Küng, long regarded as the enfant terrible among Catholic theologians though he is now an illustrious 88-year-old, has asked Pope Francis to open a theological dialogue on the subject of infallibility.

Immigration has emerged as a key battleground in the European Union referendum campaign. This could have worrying consequences for peace and stability in the multiracial and multicultural society that Britain has become. There is a sense among the leaders of the Leave campaign that most of the other arguments they have advanced are beginning to look less convincing. In particular the (much disputed) Treasury forecast that an average

There is still a case for a just war Premium

21 April 2016
Just war theory has never been more necessary in international affairs, at precisely the moment when some people are questioning its relevance. It is the moral anchor for the international law of armed conflict, without which the law is left to the mercy of the most powerful states to interpret in whatever way suits them.

There is no sign that the British Government is softening its attitude towards refugees fleeing conflict and persecution in the Middle East. It has repeatedly been criticised for tardiness and lack of generosity by religious leaders of all denominations, but it still seems to be doing as little as possible...

It would be right to describe the publication of Amoris Laetitia by Pope Francis as a minor earthquake, though one preceded by plenty of warning tremors. And while the Catholic Church’s foundations may have been shaken, the walls and roof are still standing.

Like a graceful swan, the Catholic Church may seem to glide serenely above the surface, while below and out of sight, its legs are paddling madly. At least one of those legs may be represented by the Catholic voluntary sector – the hundreds of bodies with tens of thousands of members who work tirelessly for the betterment of humanity, and which, even when technically ecumenical, have the name Catholic in their DNA.

Whole communities have had their futures threatened because the owner of Britain’s main steel manufacturing plants, Tata Steel, has announced that it did not see a viable role for the British steel industry. Some 40,000 people are employed in the industry and many more are dependent on it.

Refusal that shames Britain Premium

31 March 2016
The conviction of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic for genocide has brought the concept to the fore, just when the British Government refuses to acknowledge that this is precisely what is happening to Christian and other minorities in Syria and Iraq.

Commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising seemed to cause some unease in political circles in Ireland, not least because Britain and Ireland have buried the hatchet and built a healthy working relationship.

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