The first cardinal of Burma shares the joys and challenges experienced leading the Church in the newly democratic country...
Pope Francis’ proposal to examine the possibility of women joining the diaconate took people by surprise. But, asks an expert, is it merely a device to fudge an age-old question?
Prison reform: 'I've never met someone who didn't have a little bit of something good in them' Premium19 May 2016 | by Peter Stanford
The author of this week’s radical report on prison education talks to Peter Stanford about her ideas
Last week David Cameron was overheard describing Nigeria to the Queen as ‘fantastically corrupt’. A Nigerian businesswoman acknowledges the charge but argues against the hypocrisy that tolerates one rule for the rich West and another for the world’s poorer countries
Christians and Muslims have been persecuted at the hands of Hindu nationalists associated with the ruling BJP party. But, according to one recent visitor, the tide could be turning
On balance, I’m out Premium19 May 2016 | by Melanie McDonagh
Although the claims have ranged from threat of world war to the continuation of Hitler’s dream, the serious arguments have significantly raised public awareness. Our columnist has weighed them all, but the question of immigration and border control has finally swayed her
This Sunday marks the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, a festival celebrated with particular fervour by Evangelical Churches. As Churches continue to explore each other’s traditions, Evangelicals are turning increasingly to Catholic spirituality to deepen their faith
It’s inside the Vatican, and among a number of fellow bishops, that Francis faces his biggest critics, says Christopher Lamb Premium12 May 2016 | by Christopher Lamb
The stalling of the release of an audit into the financial affairs of the Holy See is another sign of challenges to Pope Francis’ efforts to reorganise the Vatican
Today's political landscape is unlike any set of circumstances I have known in 45 years of reporting, says Julia Langdon Premium12 May 2016 | by Julia Langdon
Last week’s election results produced mix cheer for the major political parties. However they are but a prelude to next month’s EU referendum
The undeniably convenient screw cap is rapidly replacing natural cork as the preferred closure for wine. Almost 70 per cent of all wine sold now has a screw cap. Though in France it is still hard to sell a screw-top wine, here in Great Britain it is getting harder to find natural cork in the mid-price range.
Activist whose protests against the Vietnam War landed him in jail, but who always found ways to channel his outrage into a form of creativity
The verdict of unlawful killing by the inquest into the deaths of 96 football fans at Hillsborough was a watershed moment for everyone in Liverpool. But forgiveness is another matter
‘Truth will make us free’ Premium05 May 2016
I watched the Hillsborough service, held at St George’s Hall in Liverpool after the inquest finished, on TV with a friend, writes Kevin T. Kelly. Mobility problems meant I was not able to attend.
The Pope’s new apostolic exhortation on the family calls for seminaries to include a wider engagement with marriage and family life in the preparation of candidates for the priesthood. The rector of Oscott welcomes these ideas and considers ways in which they can be put into practice
The Pope’s recent apostolic exhortation emphasises the need for the Church to be sensitive in the way it applies its teaching on marriage and relationships. A moral theologian finds precedents for this approach in diverse areas – from money lending to homosexuality in animals
Pope Francis’ visit to Lesbos last week was not only a bold humanitarian gesture – it may prove to have been a significant moment in Catholic-Orthodox relations
The dilemmas of conscience and integrity that Shakespeare wrote about are familiar to Christians today, especially to those suffering in the Middle East and Pakistan
Fantasies of freedom: EU referendum highlights English fear of being small part of something bigger Premium21 April 2016 | by Nicholas Boyle
Those campaigning for Britain to leave the EU emphasise the loss of sovereignty that membership entails. But the fear of being part of a larger entity is a very English complaint...
Building a just peace Premium21 April 2016 | by Philippa Hitchen
This month a conference in Rome urged the Church to revise its teaching on just-war theory – the ethical concept that sanctions the use of military force. Under pressure that has been growing for years, a doctrine first developed by Augustine of Hippo may be set to change
The possible existence of Planet Nine, first broached in January, has become a hot topic of speculation. Just last week, one tabloid announced that comets perturbed (pulled out of their orbits) by Planet Nine would soon lead to the demise of life on Earth! (Astronomer Phil Plait ran an amusing rebuttal in the New Scientist.) But is there actually a Planet Nine?
Vin McMullen, who died on Palm Sunday, was a truly remarkable man. From the most unpromising start in life he rose to become educator, author, voice for the voiceless and inspiration to many. He also made a crucial contribution to the development of Cafod at a turning point in its history...
The once lethal rivalry between Rangers and Celtic football clubs will be recalled tomorrow at a cup tie in Glasgow. But with the success of new laws against sectarian behaviour, how seriously should we take the apparent tribalism between fans today?
If you were to have asked people a few years ago what sort of life they wanted, they might have said “successful” or “happy”. Today, they say they are seeking an “authentic” life. Some call this the “age of authenticity”. But what does “authentic” mean?
Last week a Northern Irish woman received a three-month suspended sentence after Belfast Crown Court found her guilty of procuring her own abortion. The decision was divisive, leaving pro-choice groups arguing against “antiquated” abortion laws and pro-life campaigners criticising the sentence as too lenient. Here four pro-life groups share their response to the ruling...
'Blasphemy' court case suggests that religion is no longer the opiate of the masses for Putin and Russia12 April 2016 | by Sean Smith
A Russian man who claimed that 'God does not exist' during a heated exchange on a social media website is in danger of becoming the first victim of a new law that hints at the rising influence of the Orthodox Church on the Kremlin...
Apostolic Exhortation on the family: Pope Francis is calling for a new openness on the part of the Church Premium08 April 2016 | by Christopher Lamb in Rome
With his document on the family, Pope Francis has let a chink of light into the Church’s window. No longer is it acceptable to 'throw stones' of doctrine at those struggling in their personal lives and things are not just about the rules. What used to be black and white are various shades of grey...
With the people Premium07 April 2016
Catholic charities are playing an increasingly important role in the life of the Church and, with the decline of local government services, in society at large. This is a key conclusion of a new report by the Theos think tank, which outlines (below) its findings on how charities embody Catholic Social Teaching
W.C. Field’s boast that he never drank anything stronger than gin before breakfast catches the faint air of colonial decadence that until recently hung round gin. No other spirit has spawned so many acts of parliament – eight in all. Little wonder its road to respectability has been long and rocky.
Christopher Lamb in Rome
Francis' recent meeting with Bishop Bernard Fellay is the latest evidence of a Pope who places personal reconciliation ahead of doctrine, says Christopher Lamb
Long-serving priest and formidable negotiator for Catholic education in England in the twentieth century, honoured by the Pope, and who once led a prime minister through a picket line. His crowing achievement was the development of a new university in Liverpool...
Following the conviction last week of Radovan Karadzic for genocide and war crimes, a former British Ambassador to Yugoslavia recalls the Bosnian Serbian leader he knew. Western leaders, he says, should be more outspoken about similar persecutions – this time of Christians – elsewhere
When I was a smoker, I recall that Budget Day always meant an increase in tax on tobacco. But I never stockpiled cigarettes to save money. Perhaps this indicates that no matter how much the price of a fix is increased, the addicted will always absorb it.
When rebels took up arms to oppose British rule in Ireland 100 years ago, church leaders were caught between fixed church teaching and changing public opinion
The Scottish poet George Mackay Brown drew inspiration first and foremost from his native Orkney Islands. On the twentieth anniversary of his death, his friend and biographer recalls her meetings with him there and the long road that led to his conversion to Catholicism
The Catholic-raised star of the Easter film, Risen, talks to Peter Stanford about struggling with faith
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