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

Discovering our common home Premium

26 October 2016 | by Martin Lönnebo
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

Ghost stories Premium

26 October 2016 | by Melanie McDonagh
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

An ordered end Premium

26 October 2016 | by Elena Curti
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.

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.

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