Thousands of cans of Stella Artois had been prepared for distribution gratis to the world's press attending the Eucharistic Congress in Lourdes in 1981.

In the present climate in Australia, Catholic bishops cannot win a trick.

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DURING THE POPE’S visit to Ireland, I was staying with a friend from a missionary order at its house in Dublin.

In the light of the continuing furore in the Catholic Church over child abuse by priests, urgent questions have to be asked about clerical celibacy.

As I do at this time every year, I’m picking up my pen in Orkney and thinking about the political season to come.

THREE SMELLS remind me of Oliver Bernard: the strong tobacco he would tamp into his curved pipe; the aniseed of Ricard, his preferred drink; the woodsmoke from the fire at his one-room cottage in Norfolk.

I have found some of the responses to Pope Francis’ letter about child abuse in the Church very odd indeed.

IT IS one of the melancholy aspects of human nature that we are most inclined to castigate the sins to which we are at any time least prone.

“Bye bitch,” shouts my teenage daughter loudly as she runs out of the house, slamming the door noisily behind her; and fleetingly, and not for the first time, I hope the neighbours haven’t heard her.

A ride on the Number 38 bus in London proves to be a transport of delights.

We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognise anything as certain and that has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.” Pope Benedict often returned to the theme of “the dictatorship of relativism” during his pontificate. Even Pope Francis has taken it up. The phrase is catchy. But it strikes me, though, that “the dictatorship of relativism” is a misdiagnosis of our age.

I know it’s high summer in Europe but the fact that it took 10 days for the resignation of Archbishop Philip Wilson to be accepted in Rome highlights some serious problems.


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