Thu 21st Aug 2014 | Last updated: Thu 21st Aug 2014 at 15:11pm

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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 great Catholic novel behind Puccini’s Manon Lescaut

Kristīne Opolais as Manon Lescaut and Jonas Kaufmann as Chevalier des Grieux in Manon Lescaut at the Royal Opera (ROH/Bill Cooper)

The morality of the Catholic Church underscores Abbé Prevost’s book

The enduring importance of a proper send-off

There is no reason  why a coffin cannot be driven up to a crematorium  without ceremony (PA)

We human beings are ceremonial animals and funerals are vital, even for the non-religious

Legalising drugs is the best way to promote the moral values that both Francis and I share

Pope Francis says he is pained that Christians suffer so much discrimination (CNS)

The Church teaches that drug abuse is wrong but that doesn’t mean we should support the criminalisation of drug users

Iraq’s implosion is another disaster for Christians in the Middle East

Iraqis who have fled the violence in their hometown of Mosul reach for a fruit during a food distribution at Khazir refugee camp  (PA)

As we contemplate the fate of Catholics in Mosul, this should be a time of mourning.

One of the poorest, most atheistic places in Europe, Albania is a natural destination for Francis

Albanian Catholic women at prayer in northern Albania. The Pope visits the country in September (CNS)

Francis will do great good in Europe’s only Muslim-majority country

What Christians can learn from the World Cup

Rio's Christ the Redeemer Statue glows green to help kickoff World Cup (CNS)

Brazil’s huge gulf between rich and poor should shake Christian consciences

Catholics should be wary of Hillary Clinton’s latest image makeover

Hillary Clinton: the next president of the United States?

As president, Mrs Clinton would be a fervent supporter of so-called ‘abortion rights’

Peace in the Middle East is impossible without prayer

'Prayer is a necessary precondition for peace' (PA)

Pope Francis’s initiative may not work immediately but it is an important first step

Pope Francis is right. We do love our pets more than our children

A three years female puppy, is groomed at a pet hotel in Seoul, South Korea

There are baby elephants fed on powdered milk near Nairobi while down the road human babies never see powdered milk from one year’s end to the next

Why I will be returning to Uganda

A child walks past huts at a former camp for displaced persons most of whom have now returned to their villages, in Bobi, near Gulu, Uganda (PA)

When the Ebola virus broke out in Uganda thirteen Catholics remained and gave their lives for their patients