From the editor's desk
Bishops pull their punches Premium18 May 2017
Not for the first time, an election issue given top priority by the Catholic bishops of Scotland fails to receive even a passing mention in an equivalent statement from their episcopal colleagues south of the border. The Scottish bishops’ pre-election message is unambiguously in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament, hence against the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent.
Evil that cannot be redeemed? Premium18 May 2017
This Sunday not many preachers will be eager to choose the death in prison of Moors murderer Ian Brady as the subject for their weekly sermon.
The establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Myanmar, formerly called Burma, turns the spotlight on a gradual but highly significant development in international relations – the role of the Vatican in promoting peace, harmony and human rights, especially now in the East.
Congratulations are due to Br Guy Consolmagno SJ, Director of the Vatican Observatory and a Tablet columnist, for helping to set up this week’s ground-breaking conference on science and religion. And for making clear what it was not about.
The world may be nearer to nuclear war than at any time since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. North Korea has an undoubted willingness to use nuclear weapons, not only defensively but aggressively, and it would only take one misjudgement to push it over the brink.
It is 20 years since Tony Blair stormed to a landslide victory that ended Sir John Major’s political career. The scale and nature of Blair’s victory inevitably invited the question whether the Conservative Party, which had so obviously run out of ideas in government, could ever return to power.
End the war on welfare Premium27 April 2017
It is axiomatic that the acid test of a decent society is that it does not neglect the most vulnerable. Britain is in danger of failing this test. The welfare state, invented in wartime to banish permanently the five “giants which stalked the land” – poverty, disease, squalor, ignorance, idleness – has reached a crisis not only of resources but of purpose.
Challenges face French favourite Premium27 April 2017
The dilemma facing the people of France next weekend has been neatly summed up by one commentator as a choice between “hope and anger”. Hope is represented by Emmanuel Macron, who, having come top in the first round of the French presidential election, now faces a run-off with Marine Le Pen.
Nothing is certain in British politics, but the start of the 2017 General Election campaign is a good moment to assess the probabilities. And they strongly favour Theresa May. Whether they favour the people of the United Kingdom is another matter, likely to be hotly disputed between now and 8 June. They undoubtedly favour democracy itself. In a number of respects the parliamentary system has been weakened by recent events. An election should pull things together....
Compassion may be all we can do Premium13 April 2017
Although horrible things have been happening in the bafflingly complex conflict in Syria, a simple reduction of it in terms of good and evil can lead to even greater confusion.
Without hope, what is there? Premium13 April 2017
The primary virtue at Easter might seem to be faith, needed in order to hold fast to the reality of Christ’s miraculous Resurrection in an age which rejects the very possibility. But there is a neglected virtue which ought to be at the core of an Easter spirituality, namely hope.
The Conservative Government led by Theresa May has made support for hard-up families – those “just about managing”, to use Mrs May’s famous expression – one of its key policy objectives.
Now to focus on corruption Premium06 April 2017
The fiftieth anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio – it appeared at the end of March 1967 – has come and gone without receiving the attention it deserved. It was overshadowed by Humanae Vitae, which appeared 15 months later, and by the furore that surrounded the reiteration of the papal ban on artificial birth control.
Britain is manifestly worse off, manifestly damaged, by the act of leaving the European Union. As Brexit begins, the opinion is circulating in the capitals of continental Europe that when Britain leaves it must be left palpably worse off than if it had stayed.
Backbench revolts in Westminster can look like political game-playing. But current unrest among MPs about proposed changes to the funding of state schools is different. This pressure comes from the grass roots.
Does the concept of “fake news” logically imply the existence of real news? Otherwise, all news is fake. Good news, bad news, indifferent news: none of it is to be believed. This is the world view that appears to be methodically and unscrupulously promoted by Donald Trump.
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