From the editor's desk

At the crux of the House of Commons debate on the renewal of the Trident submarine fleet this week, Britain’s new Prime Minister was asked: “Is she personally prepared to authorise a nuclear strike that could kill 100,000 innocent men, women and children?”

Laicite is not a helpful framework Premium

21 July 2016
French policy towards its racial and religious minorities contains many ambiguities and contradictions that are hard for the French to understand, let alone outsiders.

Theresa May can seize the moment Premium

14 July 2016
After a nervous interlude when Britain appeared to have neither a Government nor an Opposition, a new national leader has emerged who can command trust and respect. Theresa May, the country’s second female Prime Minister, may never attract the devotion that Margaret Thatcher gained for herself.

Catholic higher education in Britain has reached a critical juncture. Heythrop College in the University of London, universally renowned as a centre of academic excellence in philosophy and theology, is facing closure. Enormous energy and goodwill has gone into attempts to rescue it, to no avail.

History will judge whether the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, was exaggerating when he told the European Parliament that Britain had “collapsed – politically, economically, monetarily and constitutionally” in the aftermath of the EU referendum.

Francis must put his foot down Premium

06 July 2016
Shortly before Christmas 2014 Pope Francis told members of the Roman Curia that they often suffered from “the pathology of power”, which produced a “superiority complex”.

Moment of truth for UK and Europe Premium

29 June 2016
The recent referendum on European Union membership has been taken by some as a signal that racial and xenophobic abuse has been legitimised.

June is a favourite month for Gay Pride marches, and this year they have taken on particular poignancy because of the massacre at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Many gay people saw this attack as homophobic.

With its menacing assertiveness tinged with touchy paranoia, post-Soviet Russia dominates the agenda of Western geopolitics and diplomacy. This problem even extends into the realm of sport. Now it has taken on a theological dimension.

The vocation of the politician is noble, said Aristotle, for its purpose is to work for the happiness of the people. British political life has suddenly and shockingly been brought face to face with this ancient truth by the tragic and violent death of the Member of Parliament for the West Yorkshire constituency of Batley and Spen, Jo Cox.

The American sage H.L. Mencken once observed that “there is always a well-known solution to every human problem – neat, plausible, and wrong.” He could almost have been commenting on the decision to hold a UK referendum on membership of the European Union and the subsequent campaign.

Pope Francis has announced new procedures for the disciplining and dismissal of bishops who failed to protect children from being sexually abused by clergy. Although technically they could have been investigated under existing church legislation, the lack of precision about the offence and the clumsiness and slowness of the process were crying out for reform.

The parallels between current political upheavals in Britain and the United States were wittily pinned down by William Hague, former Tory leader, when he called those fighting to pull Britain out of the European Union “the Trump campaign with better hair”.

Let priests decide on the mass Premium

02 June 2016
French-speaking Catholics are about to face the same aggravation that overtook their English-speaking co-religionists at the end of 2011. That is when the new English translation of the rite of Mass was imposed in place of the translation that had been in use for 40 years.

The fortieth anniversary of Richard Dawkins’ most influential scientific work, The Selfish Gene, has been marked with interviews and profiles that celebrate his fame as a controversialist rather than as a biologist – and his recovery after a recent minor stroke.

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.

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