Thu 31st Jul 2014 | Last updated: Thu 31st Jul 2014 at 16:39pm

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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 resilient French Church shows that Catholicism survives no matter how repressive the regime

The Basilica of St Martin in Tours

In Tours a fine basilica was built on the site of a vast medieval church knocked down during the Revolution

The Loreto Sisters gave Wangari Maathai her campaigning spirit

Professor Wangari Maathai (AP Photo/KEYSTONE/Salvatore Di Nolfi)

The late Nobel Prize winner never forgot her debt to the Loreto Sisters

Secular society is like a plant without roots

Tristram Hunt, MP and historian, says identity rests partly on tradition (Photo: PA)

Because we know less and less of the past, we know less and less of ourselves, and who we are

The day I saw a saint’s blood become liquid

The waving of the handkerchief is the traditional sign the liquefaction has happened (Photo: PA)

Ten years ago in Naples on the feast of St Januarius I prayed as I had never done before

Downton Abbey is a fantasy of the past. That’s why we love it

The costumes, the architecture and references to the First World War serve only as window-dressing

In it we watch the only aristocrats on earth who seemingly never care about money

Johann Hari’s apology relies on Catholic expressions of penance

Confession involves an act of contrition which is meant to signify a change of heart (Photo: PA)

Indeed, he could not help but mention the Pope

The 9/11 flag-burners oppose what is true and beautiful

Servicemen in London hold wreaths honouring the victims of 9/11 (Luke MacGregor/PA Wire)

What struck me about these extremists was the sheer ugliness of their attitude

Despite his brilliance, St Augustine did produce a few duds

St Augustine: the Shakespeare of Theology (Photo: CNS)

But he was a wonderful writer and preacher: his Confessions ranks as one of the greatest books ever written

Anthony Powell’s masterpiece will change your life

Simon Russell Beale played Widmerpool, left, in a Channel 4 adaptation with Miranda Richardson

A Dance to the Music of Time ‘is just like life itself: the same people keep weaving their way in and out’

People are so rude in the abortion debate that it’s almost pointless trying to argue

Nadine Dorries speaking in the Commons earlier today (PA photo)

And yet if ever there was a need for rational argument, then now is the time