Mon 1st Sep 2014 | Last updated: Mon 1st Sep 2014 at 15:21pm

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Francis Phillips

Francis Phillips

Francis Phillips reviews books for the Catholic Herald.

Cuddly Claire Rayner believed it was selfish to have children with Down’s Syndrome

Claire Rayner and her husband Des earlier this year (Photo: PA)

As the mother of a girl with Down’s Syndrome, I disagree

Funerals that pay tribute to the foibles and frailties of the deceased make me deeply uneasy

A Requiem Mass at Westminster Cathedral (Photo: PA)

A Requiem Mass I was at this morning was highly unusual in one respect: there was no panegyric of the dead

Roger Scruton would approve of David Cameron’s Big Society

David Cameron delivers his 'Your country needs you' speech in Birmingham this week (Rui Vieira/PA Wire)

He could have provided a philosophic commentary to this week’s party conference

St Francis would have abhorred factory farming

A depiction of St Francis of Assisi at a church in Glen Head, New York (Photo: CNS)

And he could have taught Buddhists a thing or two about respect for animals

Priests can be victims of injustice, too

Procedures to deal with allegations of child abuse were tightened up in 2001 following a report by the late Lord Nolan, pictured (Photo: PA)

It is fatally easy to assume that priests accused of sex abuse are guilty until proven otherwise

We are spiritual beings, not superior animals

We are spiritual beings, not superior animals

The Pope’s visit has reminded us that the two per cent difference in DNA between Orang-utans and humans is vast, unbridgeable and infinite

The writer whose conversion was inspired by Renaissance art

Michelangelo's Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel could well provoke a moment of awakening (Photo: PA)

Behind all the euphoria, another piece of good news: author Leo McKinstry announces his conversion after a spiritual awakening in Venice

The Holy Father should put his feet up and have a glass of whisky

Pilgrims at the Hyde Park vigil: it was 'very united, very noisy, very peaceful'  (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

The last few days have been stupendous. Here are some of my immediate impressions

The Queen may not have produced a rosary, but she did conduct herself with dignity

Photo: PA

At 83, she has seen a great many state occasions in her lifetime

Well done, Mark Dowd. You did the Pope justice

Well done, Mark Dowd. You did the Pope justice

His documentary, Benedict: Trials of a Pope, was even-handed and sincere