Fri 25th Jul 2014 | Last updated: Fri 25th Jul 2014 at 15:57pm

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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

Italy is now ‘in the abyss’ – and the Vatican will not escape this disaster

Berlusconi has lead Italy into an economic abyss Photo: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire

Italy is facing its worst crisis since the Second World War

At last, Berlusconi is to resign. But it’s a mystery he lasted so long

Berlusconi endures a voting session in the Italian parliament earlier this week (Photo: PA)

Italians saw in Berlusconi what they saw in Mussolini – an anti-establishment figure who defied the law

Closing the embassy to the Holy See – the one cut the Irish government enjoyed

Irish leader Enda Kenny Photo: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP/Press Association Images

Closing the embassy makes no economic logic – rather it is down to a ‘cooling of relations’

How great tragedy inspires great art

Alice Thomas Ellis’s life was overshadowed by tragedy, and so makes great reading in this, the month of death

Perhaps Hugh Grant will find that perfect love at last

Hugh Grant, a father at 51. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Now that he’s a father, the heart-throb actor might finally discover what love really is, a love that can never be replaced

Europe’s leaders are acting like the hapless ministers of pre-Revolution France

George Papandreou, the Greek prime minister, has proposed a referendum on the bailout (Photo: PA)

And when the inevitable finally comes, the Greeks who suffer most will be the least guilty

Don’t start tinkering with the monarchy, Mr Cameron!

The rightful James III/VIII. But England has an Anglican monarchy and we are better off leaving it well alone

For the sake of political posturing and ending ‘discrimination’ against women and Catholics, David Cameron is opening the monarchy up to secularisation. It is political vanity for which future generations will pay a high price

I will pray for Gaddafi on All Souls’ Day

The treatment of Gaddafi’s corpse was a disgrace – and now he is with God we can pray for him, as we pray for all the dead

Iris Murdoch – one of the 20th century’s greatest writers, perhaps, but was she a philosopher?

Iris Murdoch’s fiction still stands up 30 years after its publication, but what about the moral questions it posed?

St Augustine is a guide to what it means to be human

St Augustine and his mother, St Monica, by the French painter Ary Scheffer

His theology derives from experience: he is the great enlightener of the need for grace