Wed 1st Oct 2014 | Last updated: Tue 30th Sep 2014 at 14:53pm

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Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith

Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith

Alexander Lucie-Smith is a Catholic priest, doctor of moral theology and consulting editor of The Catholic Herald. On Twitter he is @ALucieSmith

The National Gallery’s Barocci paintings show the glory of the counter-Reformation

The Stigmatisation of St Francis (1594-95)

The richness of their theology is lost on the curators, though

Don’t believe in Downton: what life ‘below stairs’ was really like

Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery in Downton Abbey.

A new book gives an eye-opening account of the history of servants in Britain

After his surprise election, Pope Francis must maintain momentum to reform the Curia

Pope Francis greets parishioners outside Sant'Anna church (CNS)

The Pontiff’s ‘Italian identity’ and a wise choice of Secretary of State will help bring about change at the Vatican

‘Mourners for hire’ are a sign of our troubled times

Cardinal Angelo Scola celebrates the funeral mass for Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini

The breakdown of family and community life is behind dwindling numbers at funerals

Giles Fraser is wrong to say that evangelicals miss the point of the Cross

Dr Giles Fraser Photo: PA

Dr Giles Fraser is mistaken when he suggests that celebrating the triumph of the Cross is theologically illiterate

One thing is clear: someone was to blame for Christ’s death. It was no accident.

Mary embraces Jesus from the "Lamentation of Christ" by Umbrian painter Niccolo di Liberatore. Photo: CNS

During Holy Week, we should blame the sins of the world for Christ’s death while remembering he freely laid down his life for us

Pope Francis is certainly not on the wrong side in the ‘war on the poor’

The Pope kisses the feet of residents of a shelter for drug users (CNS)

Guardian columnist fundamentally misunderstand Liberation Theology

There is no ‘liberal’ Catholic social teaching

Poverty: we care a lot (AP)

Catholic care for the poor is a bit older than the Enlightenment. By a couple of millennia

I was relaxing with a beer in hand – and then out stepped Pope Francis

This morning's newspapers in Argentina (AP)

We can expect our new Holy Father to shake things up

We will need an astonishing, miraculous pope who can take the Church into a new era

All eyes are focussed on the chimney  (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

The Church needs more than an ‘obvious’ candidate – we need an exceptional one