Wed 17th Sep 2014 | Last updated: Tue 16th Sep 2014 at 19:31pm

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Francis Phillips

Francis Phillips

Francis Phillips reviews books for the Catholic Herald.

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

The BBC thinks the Pope has a ‘Nazi past’

St Peter's: the patrimony of the Church, not an emblem of papal grandeur (Photo: PA)

Footage of the Hitler Youth, St Peter’s and the Pope holding his head in his hands carries a subliminal message

Colm Tóibín wants the Church to be beautiful and exotic. But she has to impart truth, too

Pope John Paul II at Czestochowa, Poland, in 1979 (AP Photo/Stf). His message, writes Tóibín, was 'mysterious and charismatic'

Beauty left to itself becomes ugly and malevolent

Peter Mandelson is not wise, old, or grumpy enough to be a national treasure

Peter Mandelson was lauded by the Times last week as a national treasure (Photo: PA)

Here are five simple criteria for anyone wishing to achieve national treasure status. Prince Philip makes it; Peter Mandelson and Stephen Fry do not

What St Augustine would say to Clifford Longley about his Thought for the Day

Feeling spiritual: students meditate at the Midtown Yoga centre in Memphis, Tennessee (Photo: Commercial Appeal/Landov)

The author of Confessions would have found the attempt to separate religion and spirituality incomprehensible or misleading

Anne Rice, come back to the Church. We need you

Anne Rice, author of the Vampire Chronicles, says she is faithful to Christ but no longer goes to church (Photo: AP/Lenny Ignelzi)

Writers, artists and poets can show the world that the Church is more than a vast committee meeting

Talking about angels with an atheist is like admitting to a belief in aliens

The Miracle of St Michael at Chonae, a 12th-century icon at St Catherine's monastery, Mount Sinai

I told him everyone had a guardian angel, and that they were ‘all around us at this moment’. For my atheist brother-in-law, this was too much