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February 17th 2017

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I once asked a free-market economist how he would analyse the Irish famine, which is sometimes seen as an example of too much free trade: while people starved, ship-loads of food were leaving Ireland weekly…
When I get in touch with Rosa Pich by Skype during Holy Week, I discover that she is on holiday with 12 of her children in Torreciudad, a shrine dedicated to Our Lady in northern Spain…
Informed Catholics are likely to dismiss the animal rights protesters who stormed a church in Italy earlier this year, demanding that the Church recognise that animals have souls and should be treated like Christians…
In February I accepted an invitation to a “National Peace Symposium” at a mosque in Morden, to be held the following month…
First it was Tim Farron and then Andrew Turner…
Forty-five years is a long time to wait for anything…
When China’s last empire, the Qing dynasty, ended in 1911, Christianity there entered what many scholars call the “Golden Age” of the missions…
Homophobic bullying plainly exists and is contrary to the teaching of the Church – so what could be wrong with a document on combatting it? As the Catholic Education Service (CES) discovered last week, things aren’t quite as simple as that…
Theologically speaking, the stock of the angels in the Church has been falling pretty steadily since its Berkshire Hathaway-like peak in the 5th century, when the celestial hierarchy was outlined by Pseudo-Dionysius the Aeropagite in an all-too-brief treatise…
The death of the Moors murderer Ian Brady hasn’t brought out the best in us, has it? “Monster of the Moors is Dead” is the Daily Mail headline…
The moment the Royal Court announced it was staging Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman, the whole season sold out and a West End transfer was guaranteed…
Given how little money there is these days to keep serious music up and running, it’s remarkable that wherever you go in the world somebody’s either building or campaigning for a glamorous new concert hall…
Jim Sheridan’s handsome yet flimsy melodrama The Secret Scripture (★★, cert 12A, 109 mins) turns out to be a tale of two actresses, one great, one getting there, neither quite given the script they deserve…
I have to say a word in defence of All Round to Mrs Brown’s, the BBC One series that has just ended (but can be found on iPlayer)…
Arriving in Durham late one March afternoon, I realised that if I was quick I could just make Evensong at the cathedral…

Briefly noted

Gospel Values for Catholic Schools by Raymond Friel (Redemptorist, £12.99)…
Fatima Mysteries By Grzegorz Gorny and Janusz Rosikon, Ignatius, £27 Fatima Mysteries: Mary’s Message to the Modern Age is a large and heavy book…
Letters to a Young Muslim By Omar Saif Ghobash, Picador, £12.99 This is a thought-provoking book, written by the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Russia to his two teenage sons…
Defenders of the Unborn By Daniel Williams, OUP, £23 Daniel Williams’s Defenders of the Unborn is a fascinating, revealing and even-handed account of the early history of the pro-life movement in America…
My first love was literature – novels and poetry…