Features

Burdens of office Premium

01 December 2016 | by Megan Cornwell
Catholic priests are feeling under pressure, and increasing numbers are suffering from depression and anxiety. But support for clergy with mental-health problems is patchy and piecemeal

After the revolution Premium

01 December 2016 | by Austen Ivereigh
It is lazy to dismiss Fidel Castro as either a brutal dictator or a romantic liberator. Without the US blockade, he might have remained an authoritarian ruler but a friend of the Church

Cuba: a contradictory culture Premium

01 December 2016 | by Clare Dixon
A regular visitor over 35 years finds a people ever ready with complaints but also full of pride in their achievements; of devout Catholics and convinced communists

In the footsteps of a saint Premium

01 December 2016 | by Catherine Pepinster
Pilgrims who set out to follow the extensive journeys across Spain of this remarkable saint, mystic and reformer are discovering the legacy of a dogged, enterprising woman

The Zimbabwean government’s takeover of white-owned farms was brutal and lawless. Now one family driven from their home by the President’s men is urging victims to speak out

Advent meditation / All things most holy Premium

01 December 2016 | by Sr Patricia Rumsey
In the second week of Advent, Sr Patricia Rumsey reflects on the tension between the early Christian disdain for ‘temples and altars’ and the reverence we still have for ‘holy places’

Custom made Premium

01 December 2016 | by Rose Prince
Most of our traditional Christmas dishes have remained unchanged for at least a century, roast turkey being the most recent innovation, introduced by the Victorians. In the twenty-first century, however, deviations to seasonal food customs are happening at an alarming rate, arguably more to benefit retailers than consumers.

Spreading the word Premium

24 November 2016 | by Christopher Lamb
Christopher Lamb talks to one of the men Francis has chosen to help build a more pastoral Church

The dying of the light Premium

24 November 2016 | by Michael Walsh
A conference being held today at Heythrop College reflects on Jesuit education and its vision, just as the Society of Jesus is looking to close its own intellectual powerhouse. That loss comes at a time when the Catholic Church in Britain needs its intellectual input more than ever

A saint in the desert Premium

24 November 2016 | by Simon Scott Plummer
He died alone in Algeria 100 years ago, but as an evangelist, Blessed Charles de Foucauld set a contemplative example that was to inspire a flourishing movement of today

Advent meditation / Lost in translation Premium

24 November 2016 | by Sr Patricia Rumsey
During the coming weeks of Advent, Sr Patricia Rumsey will examine some of the great scriptural texts which the lectionary puts before us during the season. She begins with the Book of Isaiah

Small chink of light Premium

24 November 2016 | by Ivor Roberts
There is widespread apprehension in Western governments at the potential policies of President-elect Trump, particularly in relation to global organisations such as the United Nations, the International Criminal Court and Nato. But he might have a beneficial impact on Vladimir Putin

The impact of asteroids Premium

24 November 2016 | by Guy Consolmagno
When I first arrived at the Vatican Observatory, I decided to take advantage of its extensive meteorite collection by doing a systematic measurement of meteorite densities.

Early polling analysis suggests that Donald Trump attracted the support of the majority of both Catholics and Protestants. Now, even those Christians who could not bear to back him are hopeful that his presidency will give voice to their growing moral conservatism

As the United States enters a period of unprecedented uncertainty, the canonisation of a radical peace activist who was imprisoned several times is becoming increasingly likely

Preaching the positive Premium

17 November 2016 | by Melanie McDonagh
Out on the stump Donald Trump spoke several times about his hero Norman Vincent Peale, the New York pastor who influenced his early life, officiated at his first marriage, and was a lodestar for his Republican predecessors, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan

Today the Pope will hand red hats to 17 new cardinals. Four are aged over 80; the other 13 are eligible to vote for his successor in a conclave...

The legendary Canadian singer and performer who died last week, aged 82, was a great writer of love songs, but also a wonderful composer of prayers

Works of mercy Premium

17 November 2016 | by John Morrish
There was an interesting exchange on the panel game Pointless recently. For those who do not know it, the object of the show is for the panellist to answer questions correctly but with answers that 100 members of the public do not know. The more obscure the correct answer, the lower the number of points, the object being to amass as few points as possible.

This week the Church apologised for the way it handled adoptions 50 years ago. But how much was it to blame, and how much was the policy dictated by the mores of the times?

The former Justice Secretary tells Peter Stanford of his prison reform plans and the fallout from his Brexit role

For many years, a simple choice between two alternatives dominated the US political agenda. But the 2016 presidential campaign marked a turning point, especially in the loyalties of pro-lifers. Their new support and new thinking means no party can take them for granted any more

Ecumenical Catholic leaders have been considering whether they could learn from the Church of England about lay involvement in choosing parish clergy

Hold tight, please, on the Mercy Bus Premium

10 November 2016 | by Frank Cottrell-Boyce
A Salford priest found an original way to promote the Pope’s special year of prayer and bring a breath of fresh air back into the sacrament of Confession

In the red with Brexit Premium

10 November 2016 | by N. O’Phile
Price rises and hikes in unemployment were the focus of “Project Fear” in the European Union referendum campaign. The latter has yet to pass, but the former is already on the march and is likely to have an impact on the cost of wine.

Modern-day slavery: The greatest human rights issue of our day Premium

03 November 2016 | by Vincent Nichols
After attending the Santa Marta Group conference in Rome last week, Cardinal Vincent Nichols shares his thoughts on the scourge of human trafficking and says the issue is now a priority at all levels in the Church...

Parishioners from a local Catholic church turned out in force to welcome child migrants in south London

By making bold gestures of reconciliation and encouraging Churches to work together for social justice, Pope Francis appears to be taking a fresh course towards healing divisions

In a book published this week, Pope Emeritus Benedict emerges as an enigmatic and intriguing personality, steeped in tradition yet a very modern figure. In this extract, he reflects on the future of Christianity with warmth and confidence

Last week’s meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, an international gathering of Russia-watchers, revealed subtly different attitudes from Europe and the US to Vladimir Putin’s pronouncements. Could they contain the seeds of a less confrontational approach

The body in question Premium

03 November 2016 | by David Albert Jones
The Vatican has declared that Catholics should not scatter the ashes of loved ones or keep them at home. The belief that human remains be treated reverently is fundamental

Souped up Premium

03 November 2016 | by Rose Prince
A week ago I was enjoying a bowl of soupe de poissons with a friend. It was not fresh, but came out of a can. Agreeing with her that the saffron-and-anise-scented fish soup from Provence is one of the best ready meals you can buy, I told her about my stash of canned Breton lobster bisque, bought last year on a trip to St Malo.

From conflict to commemoration Premium

26 October 2016 | by Thomas Bruch
On the eve of Pope Francis’ visit to Sweden and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, a leading figure in the UK Lutheran community considers the state of Lutheranism worldwide

When Pope Francis arrives in the city of Lund on Monday, he will find Swedish Lutherans focused on much that concerns him, not least the need to cherish the planet. Working together for the future of God’s creation could help reconcile Catholics and Lutherans...

Our secular culture may have little place for religion, but it is surprisingly comfortable with some aspects of the supernatural, particularly with the ghostly forms that traditionally emerge at this time of year. Even the Catholic attitude to ghosts is, at best, ambivalent..

The nun and nurse tells Elena Curti how her work in palliative care has helped to shape a supportive website

Declarations of war Premium

26 October 2016 | by John Morrish
Armed conflict has always been a central preoccupation of humans, something reflected in the 20,000 words devoted to the word “war” and its compounds in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Speaking truth to nature Premium

20 October 2016 | by Laura Gascoigne
The realism and tension of the art of Caravaggio and his followers resonates with contemporary audiences. It also offers us a window on the Counter-Reformation

Donald Trump’s antics have left conservative Catholic leaders who backed the Republicans in a jam. Can a new generation of churchmen make peace with the Democrats?

While factions fight, children die Premium

20 October 2016 | by James Roberts
The seemingly intractable conflict between the Assad regime and the disparate forces ranged against it has brought torment to the innocent – most visibly in the besieged city of Aleppo

The election of Venezuelan Fr Arturo Sosa Abascal as the new superior general of the Jesuits presents the order with both an opportunity and a threat

Faith in the search Premium

20 October 2016 | by Guy Consolmagno
The Seti Institute in California uses an array of radio telescopes to look for signals from intelligent extraterrestrials. Meeting as part of its science advisory board last month, I heard director Jill Tarter insist that its work was based on rational science, not “faith”. I disagreed. “You can’t prove yet that alien life exists,” I explained.

Bob Dylan - who was announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature this week - will always be associated with his assertion that the times were changing but, now that it is possible to look back from his 76th year, it is clear that the man himself has changed as much as the times themselves..

Why unity matters Premium

12 October 2016 | by Julie Etchingham
Justin Welby talked to Julie Etchingham during his latest visit to Rome about what links and what divides the Catholic Church and the Anglican Community

Last week’s visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Anglican primates and bishops to Rome marked 50 years of ecumenical dialogue. But one important issue remains unsolved

Politics turn topsy-turvy Premium

12 October 2016 | by Julia Langdon
With the end of the party conference season, MPs and their attendant pundits return to the bearpit of Parliament with little clear idea of what the future holds for the United Kingdom. What is certain is that the old order is overturned both in Westminster and out in the constituencies

Shape of things to come Premium

12 October 2016 | by Elena Curti
Jesuits gathering in Rome for the election of their leader have been in discussion about the future direction of the Society of Jesus. Inspiration is being taken from a former leader and the present Pope

Red hats for the new guard Premium

12 October 2016 | by Christopher Lamb
The announcement of 17 new cardinals shows how the Pope is shifting power in the Church to the developing world and setting the scene for the election of his successor

They will survive Premium

12 October 2016 | by John Morrish
What Is the appropriate way to refer to those who have lived through traumatic events, illnesses and crimes? Take, for instance, the ill-starred Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. On the front page of its website it declares: “We will support victims and survivors to share their experience of sexual abuse.” Victims and survivors: are those two separate things? No: it all depends on your standpoint.

Following the Jesuit trail Premium

06 October 2016 | by Elena Curti
Rome has a special place in the hearts of the members of the Society of Jesus who are meeting there to elect a new leader and consider the state of the order and its work. They are praying, pondering and debating in a city full of the tangible fabric of their history

Too much, too late Premium

06 October 2016 | by Terry Philpot
The Government’s inquiry into sexual abuse of children – initiated by the Prime Minister when she was Home Secretary – is in yet more disarray after the loss of its leading counsel. Here, an expert urges those in charge to learn from the Church’s more practical action

Through the glass, brightly Premium

06 October 2016 | by Joanna Moorhead
A new exhibition in Shrewsbury seeks to restore the neglected reputation of one of Britain’s most impressive stained-glass artists who was also a Carmelite nun

One of Israel’s foremost writers, and often fiercest critics, talks to Peter Stanford about why Jesus and Judas appear in his latest novel, and why he connects with Jesus the Jew

Inside the lions’ dens Premium

06 October 2016 | by Christopher Lamb
Pope Francis’ visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan last weekend revealed his tactics regarding his role on the world stage: a new-style peace envoy combined with some old-style diplomatic negotiations. But the stakes are high

Bubbling over Premium

06 October 2016 | by N. O’Phile
We Brits have always been better known for our wine consumption than wine production. As long ago as the ninth century, popes were complaining about alcohol-fuelled Anglo-Saxon pilgrims causing trouble in the Saxon quarter around St Peter’s. Statistics for last year show us ranking sixth in the world for overall wine consumption.

JESUITS: 36TH GENERAL CONGREGATION
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