Latest Issue: 27 September 2014
27 September 2014
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25 September 2014 by Jan De Volder

As the Islamist group Boko Haram is said to be surrounding the city of Maiduguri in the latest stage of its campaign of violence against Christians and Muslims alike, an expert on the country considers why the authorities are powerless to halt its progress

25 September 2014 by John Haldane

The SNP leader Alex Salmond won the admiration of the Catholic bishops but a respected commentator predicts that the Church’s relationship with his party may now turn sour

25 September 2014 by Liz Dodd

The Catholic charity Depaul UK aims to recreate a sense of family life for the thousands of homeless young people who pass through its care. Now, as it marks its twenty-fifth anniversary, the organisation is embarking on an ambitious expansion of its services

25 September 2014 by Margaret A. Farley

The Catholic Church is steadfast in its opposition to same sex unions but in the fourth of our series looking ahead to next month’s Synod on the Family, a theologian claims there is no good reason to confine marriage to heterosexual couples

25 September 2014 by Julia Langdon

The Labour Party conference began in the aftermath of the Scottish referendum, amid concerns that Britain may join the US in bombing the Islamic State. Here, in the first of her conference season reports, our observer finds a leader short on ideas to match the gravity of the times

25 September 2014 by Stephen Bates

There is nothing like team sport for creating a spirit of harmony and that is just what happened when a cricket XI from the Vatican played another from the Church of England on a beautiful autumn day in Canterbury

25 September 2014 by Jack Valero

Following the canonisation of Josemaría Escrivá, the Opus Dei movement now has a second leading figure on the path to sainthood. To be beatified in Madrid today, he is Alvaro del Portillo who, as a senior member of movement in Britain explains, played key role in defining and defending the lay vocation

25 September 2014 by Guy Consolmagno

A TWO-DAY symposium at the United States Library of Congress, entitled “Preparing for Discovery”, to discuss the possible impact on society of finding life in space, was my destination this month.

Previous issues

18 September 2014 by Christopher Lamb

The leading proponent of relaxing the ban on Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics tells Christopher Lamb that the Church too often appears rule-bound

18 September 2014 by Nicholas King

In the third of our series looking at issues to be discussed at the forthcoming Synod on the Family, a leading biblical scholar suggests that if bishops were to study carefully the scriptural texts on the family, marriage, children and divorce, they might be in for a shock or two

18 September 2014 by Chris Ryder

When a towering player in the tragedy afflicting Northern Ireland died last week, he was mourned more by former enemies than by one-time supporters. A seasoned observer of the conflict says this is a legacy of one of the most remarkable political U-turns of recent times

18 September 2014 by Rober Fox

The latest threat by Islamist extremists to murder a captured British aid worker has thrown into sharp relief the ethical dilemma posed by the British and American Governments’ policy of refusing to pay ransoms for their kidnapped citizens

18 September 2014 by Marcus Tanner

Tomorrow, Pope Francis makes a one-day visit to Albania, until recently among the most isolated places in Europe. The majority of the country’s citizens are Muslim but it is determined to present itself as a model of interfaith tolerance – in contrast to its troubled past

18 September 2014 by Daniel O’Leary

Increasing numbers of prophetic voices within the Church see evidence of God’s creative dynamism in the process of evolution. As this approach grips the Catholic imagination, it opens up vibrant new possibilities for evangelisation

18 September 2014 by Jonathan Tulloch

Some major world cities will ban cars on Monday to highlight the damage caused by our love affair with the automobile. It is, for one avowed non-motorist, a glimpse of God’s default setting of the human pace

18 September 2014 by Patrick Nicholson

Syrian refugee children have lost at least three years of schooling because of the war that is tearing their country apart. Now, as Patrick Nicholson reports, a Caritas programme is helping to bring them back to the classroom

18 September 2014 by Jeremy Cain and Anne Marie Lavelle

Schools are at the heart of faith outreach work that is taking the ancient town of Hartlepool by storm, as organisers Jeremy Cain and Anne Marie Lavelle explain

18 September 2014 by Jeremy Sutcliffe

A growing number of overseas families, including Catholics, are choosing to educate their children in Britain. The popularity of British boarding schools among foreigners has revived an educational way of life which had been in decline, reports Jeremy Sutcliffe

18 September 2014 by Peter and Charlotte Vardy

Education reforms have sidelined religious studies in schools. Peter and Charlotte Vardy ask how the current situation came about, and call on Catholic schools to do more to promote the subject

18 September 2014 by Zoë Bennett

A unique part-time doctoral programme offers those involved in pastoral care a chance to explore the theories underpinning the practice of their professions, as Zoë Bennett explains

18 September 2014 by Isabel de Bertodano

This month, foreign-language teaching has become a compulsory part of the primary school curriculum for the first time. Isabel de Bertodano looks at how schools are adapting to the new government requirements

18 September 2014 by John Morrish

The other day, I saw an interesting new beer in my local pub and bought a pint. It was extremely expensive, and I wondered why, until I noticed that the label on the tap described it as a “craft” ale.

18 September 2014 by Mary McAleese

Miss O’Friel was my A level English teacher at St Dominic’s School on the Falls Road in Belfast, writes Mary McAleese. Civil war was breaking out on our doorstep and not only was I at school in one of the prime flashpoints for the war, I was living in Ardoyne, where tensions remain high to this day.

11 September 2014 by Johan Bonny

In the second in our series looking forward to the forthcoming Synod on the Family, the Bishop of Antwerp argues that the Church must take some bold initiatives if it is to restore its credibility

11 September 2014 by Kevin McDonald

Bishop Bonny writes with great passion and deep concern. He speaks very directly out of his pastoral experience, arguing that there needs to be real collegial discussion of the controversial issues relating to marriage and sexuality.

11 September 2014 by Liz Dodd

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is to create a new monastic community at his London residence of Lambeth Palace. Like many experiments with innovative models of religious life, it will combine aspects ancient and modern

11 September 2014 by Riccardo Larini

Enzo Bianchi is the founder of an ecumenical community in Italy who was recently appointed by Pope Francis to play a formal role in the Holy See’s discussions with other Churches. Here, a former member of the Bose community looks at Bianchi’s life and work

11 September 2014 by Joanna Moorhead

Personal engagement is high on the agenda of the woman charged by the Government with turning around the lives of Britain’s most dysfunctional families. A cradle Catholic, she tells Joanna Moorhead of the inspiration of Cardinal Basil Hume and the importance to her of the Church’s social teaching

11 September 2014 by Jim Gallagher

Next Thursday, Scots will decide whether they want their country to leave the UK. Polls have shown the two sides neck and neck, and the votes of Scotland’s Catholics could make the difference. Here, a Scottish academic looks back at the campaign

11 September 2014 by Joe Wheat

‘Crossing the Threshold’ is a project initiated by the bishops of England and Wales that evangelises by the straightforward means of giving people easier access to the established treasures of church life

11 September 2014

The Labour MP and pro-life activist espoused causes from equality to an elected House of Lords, and fostered a sense of a Catholic community at Westminster

04 September 2014 by Duncan MacLaren

With less than two weeks to go before Scots vote to decide whether their country should leave the UK, a charity worker and academic explains how Catholic Social Teaching underpins his hopes for the emergence of a new independent Scotland

04 September 2014 by Denis MacShane

Police, prosecutors and local officials all failed in their duty to protect 1,400 girls and young women from Asian abusers. Nor are politicians free from blame, admits one of the town’s MPs during the 16 years of denial

04 September 2014 by John Armitage

This month, East Enders remember the London Dock Strike, which ended 125 years ago. The unlikely figure at the centre of the negotiations between the dock companies and the strikers’ leaders was a frail 81-year-old cardinal

04 September 2014 by Hannah Roberts in Rome

Last weekend, the Pope sent a special blessing to the people of Castel Gandolfo to mark the festival celebrating their Madonna. But the town is suffering because Francis does not stay at his summer residence, and livelihoods are at risk

04 September 2014 by John W. O’Malley

The first in a series of articles looking at the issues to be discussed at the forthcoming synod argues that what is decided will be less important than how the decisions are made. It will be the key test for Pope Francis’ vision of the Church

04 September 2014 by Dominic Asquith

As both the militant Palestinian group Hamas and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emerge weakened following the truce in Gaza, a former leading British diplomat in the region assesses the prospects for a lasting peace

04 September 2014 by Rose Prince

Shuffling into a railway arch by one of London’s busiest road intersections is a queue of hungry people. But this is no Vauxhall soup kitchen. Instead the crowd is an eclectic mix. There is a barrister, loudly discussing his latest case, a few people in bike gear, a group who have just emerged from the Tea House Theatre and a young man – my son in fact – who is on a quest to find the best burger in town.

28 August 2014 by Jonathan Tulloch

Scots are soon to vote on independence. This week, in the first of two articles examining the implications of the ballot for the two countries, a writer steeped in the cultural and linguistic links between Scotland and England argues that they are indivisible

28 August 2014 by Gerard Russell

Iraqi Christians fled their ancestral homes in Mosul and Nineveh in fear of Islamic State. A former diplomat, who has toured their refugee camps in Kurdistan, describes here why he believes the community may yet survive

28 August 2014 by Melanie McDonagh

Is it unreasonable to ask elderly people where they would prefer to die and how? Some individuals think so, judging by the adverse reaction to an initiative from NHS England

28 August 2014 by Michael Pollitt

Pope Francis has chosen slavery as the theme of the forty-eighth World Day of Peace on 1 January 2015. But campaigners say a British anti-slavery bill is missing a vital element

28 August 2014 by Philippa Hitchen

Catholic and Evangelical Christians will be meeting in Germany next week. Francis is leading the way with a new approach based on empathy and a shared vision of evangelisation

28 August 2014 by Austen Ivereigh

The close collaboration between Bishop Tony Palmer and Pope Francis was ended abruptly earlier this year by the bishop’s sudden death. Back in May he spoke to the Pope’s biographer about their shared goal of unity

28 August 2014 by Rose Prince

ON SUNDAY in a rural Andalusian village, all the shops should be shut. Except there is one stall, set outside a busy local bar, breaking the normally strictly observed trading principles. A woman, probably in her mid-thirties, is selling produce from her garden: boxes of sweet-flavoured grapes, figs, eggs, jams and honey.