Features

The Society of Jesus gathers in Rome tomorrow, for only its thirty-sixth general meeting in nearly 500 years, to elect a new leader and to rethink its global mission

Representatives meeting in the Aula of the Jesuit Curia, just steps from the Vatican, to elect a new Superior General will participate in a process akin to a papal conclave, complete with singing “Veni Creator Spiritus”. A former participant explains the method of voting

Modern communications technology means that Jesuits meeting for their thirty-sixth General Congregation are better prepared than ever in discerning the promptings of the Holy Spirit on the important matters facing them..

The Anglican Centre in Rome celebrates its fiftieth anniversary next week with a visit by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to the city and to Pope Francis. The centre’s work, says its director, is driven by the impulse to unity implored by Christ

Voice for the poor falls silent Premium

29 September 2016 | by Francis McDonagh
It began as a Catholic response to the spread of fascism in Europe, exposed colonial atrocities in Africa and Asia, and spoke up for the environment and against the stigma of Aids. As Progressio prepares to shut its doors, a former staff member charts its changing fortunes

Taking the biscuit Premium

29 September 2016 | by Rose Prince
Loyalty is not a quality usually associated with the cut-throat world of television but last week the presenter Mary Berry gave the genre a rare and welcome sprinkling. Careers of television personalities are so fickle, that wallets must often be put before finer judgement.

Breaking down the wall Premium

22 September 2016 | by Jeroom Heyndrickx
Pope Francis’ appointment of Pietro Parolin as his Cardinal Secretary of State has seen an encouraging improvement in Sino-Vatican relations. But diplomacy is still proving tricky

At the hour of our death Premium

22 September 2016 | by Jonathan Riley-Smith
Before he died on 13 September after a long illness, a distinguished historian wrote this advice to others who are dying

Clues to our future lie in our past Premium

22 September 2016 | by Nick Spencer
The UK decision to leave the EU has triggered an intense national debate about what kind of country Britain is and aspires to be. The key to the answer lies in our Christian heritage

A mind changed Premium

22 September 2016 | by Peter Stanford
The broadcaster who reversed his stance on gay marriage tells Peter Stanford about the personal consequences

Words of war Premium

22 September 2016 | by John Morrish
Most people believe in social justice, don’t they? But be careful how you express that belief or you are likely to be on the receiving end of one of the insults of the moment.

At a time when the West faces unprecedented dangers, Donald Trump threatens to abrogate treaties and take the US into isolationism. Illiberal movements in Britain and across Europe echo his anger. Yet we live in an age when collaboration between nations was never more needed

In the past year, Northern Irish politics have arrived at an equilibrium, but then the EU referendum vote changed everything. Now there is deep concern that the hard-won peace and prosperity will be damaged by the overall UK decision to leave

Putting God on the agenda Premium

15 September 2016 | by Rebecca Jenkins
Although criticism of the former Bishop of Durham, who died on 4 September, was often coruscating, he never responded in kind. But very few knew what his struggles with the press and some in the Church of England cost him, as his daughter recalls

This year’s annual meeting of the Catholic Theological Association revealed tensions between academics and bishops over the future of Heythrop College. Some saw it as a clash between two strands of theology: one, outward-facing and challenging; the other, inward-looking and unquestioning

Scientists communicate with images. We want to know not simply one value, but how each value compares with other values measured in other situations: other times, other samples, other planets. Picturing our data as spots on a grid is worth a thousand numbers...

The gender agenda Premium

08 September 2016 | by Mary Anne Case
Pope Francis told Polish bishops in July of his concern about the contemporary preoccupation with ‘gender theory’. Others argue that the rival notion of complementarity is of greater concern, having been largely invented by recent popes

The tide is turning Premium

08 September 2016 | by Stephen Bates
The response to the Bishop of Grantham’s announcement that he is gay reveals that the Church of England has shifted in its stance, particularly under Archbishop Welby

Hangover after the party Premium

08 September 2016 | by Francis McDonagh
The downfall of the Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff follows not only an end to her own idealism but a refusal to listen to the advice of liberation theologians

No winners in the Grouse wars Premium

08 September 2016 | by Mary Colwell
September marks the start of the season of creation, placed on the liturgical calendar by Pope Francis, and running until the Feast of St Francis of Assisi. It is a time to celebrate the richness and wonder of the planet, but also one when natural species are set against each other

Mix ’n’ match Premium

08 September 2016 | by N. O’Phile
Of all the myths that surround wine, none is more pernicious than the received rubric that stipulates white wine with fish and red with meat.

As the body count rises in the Philippines' war on drugs, a Catholic priest is trying to create a space where healing takes precedence over killing. On 1 September, Father Luciano Feloni, an Argentine priest who is pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Caloocan City, on the edge of Manila kept a close watch as 20 drug users from his parish surrendered to local police...

Most people assume that saints are sustained by their vibrant faith, which carries them through toil and trouble. Mother Teresa, who will be canonised tomorrow, worked heroically, despite letters revealing her secret ‘dark night’ of the soul

Mother Teresa’s steely determination, total commitment and toughness were evident to those who met her and worked with her in the slums of India

Where compassion and destitution meet Premium

01 September 2016 | by Luci McGovern
For one young English volunteer, a gap-year experience in Kolkata with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity was an experience that shaped her future

One of the world’s longest insurgencies has come to an end with a deal between the Colombian Government and the rebel group Farc. Here, a former hostage, held captive for six years, explains why she backs the deal and the efforts at reconciliation

Pledged to listen Premium

01 September 2016 | by Michael Sean Winters
The new head of the Vatican Congregation for Laity, Family and Life is an American whose appointment is part of Pope Francis’ attempts to increase the US representation in Rome. His pastoral experience will be needed to deal with some of the Church’s most neuralgic issues

The row over burkinis is a reminder not only of the attitude of Islam to women’s bodies but also of the presumptions about the female form in Christianity, Judaism and secular society

Getting into a jam Premium

01 September 2016 | by Rose Prince
A writer friend of mine is a very good cook. Food, she says, is a great distraction. She might just be sitting down at her desk all ready to tackle a new chapter, when suddenly she remembers that biscuit recipe snipped out of last week’s Sunday paper.

Second place won’t do Premium

18 August 2016 | by Martha Pskowski
The Olympic Games in Brazil will be followed next month by the Paralympics, which throw down a challenge to prejudice across the world but especially in the host nation

Martyred for Christ Premium

18 August 2016 | by Jimmy Burns
On the Feast of the Assumption 80 years ago, a group of priests was executed in northern Spain by Republicans. Yet the nation remains divided over the legacy of the Civil War and the anniversary of its outbreak has not been widely commemorated

Bishop Kevin Farrell, appointed to lead the new dicastery of family, marriage and the laity, brings a variety of experiences and aptitudes to his task...

The US presidential campaign has become one of the most bitter on record as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump vie to be elected commander in chief in November. Catholic voters, especially the swing ones in key marginal states, could be the passport to the White House...

The scene of the terrible murder of Fr Jacques Hamel, at daily Mass in a small town, recalls the roots of Christianity and is a reminder of how so many people experience the Church

In a deprived corner of the UK, Christian meditation is a frequently used tool to counter the ravages of drink, drugs and homelessness, thanks to a former roadie for punk band The Damned

Many of the unprecedented number of Christians fleeing violence across the Middle East have taken refuge in Jordan, where fellow Christians are struggling to help them

When you wish upon a star Premium

18 August 2016 | by Mark Faulkner
The holiday season owes its origins to holy days and the pilgrimage tradition. Today, even in the most unlikely of escapist destinations, more than a hint of ancient ritual survives

Hot stuff Premium

11 August 2016 | by N. O’Phile
Apart from the skill of the winemakers, the reason for success is always the weather conditions

Glimpses of Eden Premium

11 August 2016 | by Jonathan Tulloch
When Jesus told us to consider the lilies, chances are he was referring not to the variety of hothouse flowers, but simple arable weeds – the flowers of the field.

Keeping faith with champions Premium

10 August 2016 | by Filipe d'Avillez
The man in charge of ministering to the spiritual needs of the competitors at the Olympics in Rio tells Filipe d’Avillez why the Church can learn from their discipline and dedication

Revelati­ons about the Irish national seminary, and the Archbishop of Dublin’s apparent loss of confidence in it, are casting doubts on the future of the institution

Questions of inclusion Premium

10 August 2016 | by Massimo Faggioli
The announcement of the commissioners who will study the possibility of a female diaconate indicates that Pope Francis wants to promote broad discussion of the issues and encourage significant contributions from women themselves

Read the signs of the times Premium

10 August 2016 | by Daniel O’Leary
Many people feel hopeless in the face of disaster after disaster, from the death of MP Jo Cox to the slaughter of innocents in Nice. But amid the chaos, there is space for hope

Not an end, a beginning Premium

10 August 2016 | by Sheila Isaac
A-level students will be told their results on Thursday. On what can be one of the most nerve-wracking days of their lives, it is essential to be prepared with strategies to deal with the grades they achieve

Over-egging it? Premium

04 August 2016 | by Rose Prince
Pregnant women are easily scared. In their very first antenatal appointment they will be told which foods to avoid. The list has grown since I had my first child. Then it was blue cheese and dairy products made with non-sterilised milk.

The brutal murder of a parish priest at his altar has focused attention on the delicate relationship between Church and state in a land still divided over the place of religion in society

From a legacy of persecution and martyrdom, the Church has emerged as a settled part of French life, with the curé a respected figure in the community, as an English priest serving in a French diocese explains

The Pope’s visit to Krakow was potentially awkward, but Francis was determined that the meeting of younger Catholics from around the world should present a positive vision of the future

Vultum Dei Quaerere: Sisters doing it for themselves Premium

03 August 2016 | by Patricia Rumsey
Pope Francis’ apostolic constitution on the contemplative life for women, published last month, offers encouragement and challenges to Religious and contemporary society

Sir David Goodall Premium

03 August 2016 | by Dominic Milroy OSB
Sir David Goodall who has died aged 84, was never more stretched as a diplomat than in the five years from 1982 to 1987, when as Deputy Secretary in the Cabinet Office and then as a Deputy Under-Secretary in the Foreign Office, he worked at the very centre of Margaret Thatcher’s Government.

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