From the editor's desk

Milestone on the road

11 February 2016
A line from the Salve Regina – “after this our exile” – took on particularly poignant meaning for Catholics who heard it sung at Vespers in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace on Tuesday night. For it was the first time in 450 years a Catholic service had been held there.

Really making prison work

11 February 2016
How society treats those who break its basic rules is a litmus test for how genuinely civilised it is, a test that the British prison system has consistently failed to pass over many decades. Hence the newly announced government initiatives over prison reform, especially concerning young offenders, are as surprising as they are welcome.

The Prime Minister’s biggest political headache is not about the terms of Britain’s membership of the European Union, though that is what has been preoccupying him, but the degree of anti-European feeling in his own Conservative Party both in the House of Commons and in the country.

Politicians are best measured by what they did and why they did it, rather than by outcomes. By that assessment Baroness Williams of Crosby, known universally as Shirley Williams, deserves the highest marks.

Europe is in a deep quandary about migrants. For six years people have been fleeing civil war in Syria, and the numbers are increasing by the day as Islamist terrorists increase their grip on the country.

A decision on whether Britain should retain its nuclear weapons and remain a nuclear power, or whether to retire its four Trident missile submarines as they wear out and not replace them is edging closer.

On reading his own obituary published by mistake, Mark Twain remarked that news of his death “was greatly exaggerated”. The Church of England may feel the same way when it hears about a book ...

There is nothing new in the National Health Service being “in crisis” – the condition is chronic. Resources are strictly limited; demands on them are not. Its current problems relate to a clumsy attempt

At the dawn of the New Year the European migrant crisis suddenly turned darker and nastier, challenging settled liberal assumptions and threatening to destabilise political establishments across Europe.

The singer David Bowie died as he had lived. He turned his music, his lyrics, his voice, his last illness, above all his appearance, into a single art form. His last album, Blackstar, and particularly its second ...

The present state of party politics in Britain is not good for the country. The Conservatives are showing how much the Liberal Democrats kept them well grounded when they worked together in coalition.

In his New Year Message, the Archbishop of Canterbury made what he may have thought was an inoffensive plea for British people to extend love and understanding towards refugees, recalling that as...

Canoeists paddling past a flooded Yorkshire shopping centre might make a suitably sardonic image for a topical Christmas card next year. And if addressed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, it might contain an appropriate adaptation of his famous phrase 'mending the roof while the sun is shining'...

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has convened a meeting of leaders of all the Anglican Churches across the globe in an attempt to find common ground on which to base the continuation of the Anglican Communion. It is well worth fighting for; his bold initiative is timely. As an expression of Christian solidarity between Churches of the Western world and sister Churches in developing

Now the deal must be made to stick Free

17 December 2015
Climate scientists have expressed more than a suspicion that recent exceptional rainfall in Britain, leading to widespread flooding, damage to property and resulting human misery, can be attributed to changes in the weather due to human activity – global warming.

Beauty points the way to God Free

17 December 2015
Beauty, as Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote in The Brothers Karamazov, is “mysterious as well as terrible. God and the Devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.”

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