Wed 22nd Oct 2014 | Last updated: Wed 22nd Oct 2014 at 14:39pm

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Francis Phillips

Francis Phillips

Francis Phillips reviews books for the Catholic Herald.

A courageous writer who questioned everything – except his atheism

Christopher Hitchens, who died last week PETER FOLEY/LANDOV/Press Association Images

Christopher Hitchens was a magnanimous man who had many Christian friends

Evelyn Waugh did not love the splendour of a high Mass but rather a priest’s humble absorption in a low Mass

Evelyn Waugh and his wife pictured in 1950 (Photo: PA)

I like to think he would have approved of Mass in the Ordinary Form, too, now that we have an accurate translation

What Mary Portas can teach us about evangelisation

Mary Portas, with David Cameron Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Like high streets, the Church will have to change to revitalise

Should priests be firmer with non-practising Catholics?

Archbishop Martin says that cultural Catholics should have the maturity to leave the Church altogether if they do not believe in it (Photo: CNS)

Priests vary on how they respond to requests for baptisms or church weddings from Catholics who do not go to Mass

My new Sunday Missal is the Christmas present I will cherish most

Catholic Truth Society's altar missal (this one, in white, was presented to the Pope). Photo: Pierpaolo Finaldi

Not everyone, though, is happy about the new text. For me it brings back a sense of the sacred

Alec Guinness and the Spanish mystics

Guinness rehearses Alan Bennett's Habeus Corpus (PA photo)

In his diary he says St Teresa of Avila’s autobiography must be ‘one of the greatest given to the world’

In 1960 Cardinal Siri urged women not to wear trousers. I think he may have had a point

A model wears Chanel trousers in 1964 (AP)

When women wear trousers, he wrote, it flattens out the natural distinction between the sexes

Should I give up alcohol forever?

A friend has suggested I join the Pioneers, whose members abstain from alcohol for life as reparation for alcoholism

Two million Russians venerate Marian relic believed to boost fertility

Mother of God's belt comes to Moscow

The belt of the Mother of God, believed by the Orthodox to have been worn by the Virgin Mary, has been brought to Russia from Mount Athos

‘Dr Death’ comes to Britain with a message of despair

Euthanasia activist Dr Philip Nitschke has been touring Britain telling people how to plan their own death (Photo: PA)

No amount of reassuring chat can disguise his advice that we should keep deadly drugs in our sock drawer