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October 6th 2017

How online propaganda is tearing the Church apart

The Catholic cyber-wars have broken out and the casualties are piling up

Sins of the flesh have come full circle

I knew quite a few older journalists who had reported on Vatican II (1962-65), then described as “Vatican-ologists”: they were a merry and optimistic lot who welcomed the aggiornamento (bringing up-to-date) of the Catholic Church, as did, I believe, the general public…

The agnostic evangelist

Jordan Peterson’s two-and-a-half hour lecture entitled “Introduction to the Idea of God” has been viewed nearly 1.6 million times in the nine months it has been online…
How attractive are you? The question was sufficiently important for the Times to publish two articles in January and to devote a leading article to the issue…

Worshipping in the real Bridesheads

Attendance at monthly Masses at Milton Manor in Oxfordshire is usually by invitation only, in the form of a telephone call from the current heir, Anthony Mockler…
Take heart! When that secular, vulgar, sex-fuelled reality programme, Big Brother, was down to its last three survivors, two of us were practising Christians – one Catholic, one Evangelical – who had borne open witness to Christ throughout…

The aid world’s biggest folly

Aid agencies are under pressure…
Amoris Laetitia “This is a document that demands a careful reading and reflection from Catholics everywhere, and it is sure to bear great fruit … Rather than try to draw immediate conclusions from the text, we are urged to reflect upon it and to ponder, patiently and carefully, what the teachings will mean for the Church and for her ministry to families.” – Press statement, 2016 Women priests “If I were founding a church, I’d love to have women priests…
The former chief sex crimes prosecutor for the Catholic Church, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, was in New York this past weekend on special assignment…
It is frustrating to think that I could go to my grave with a number of riddles still unanswered…
In 2001 I enjoyed modest success on the London Fringe with my first play, Dancing Bears, a comedy in which a (fictionalised Old Labour) retired foreign secretary of little brain is honey-trapped into boasting of a treasonable association with an Eastern Bloc diplomat during the Cold War…
Eugene O’Neill is America’s greatest playwright and Long Day’s Journey into Night, at Wyndham’s Theatre, is his greatest play, an act of exorcism, written in tears and blood, and so autobiographical that he didn’t want it published until 25 years after his death…

Music: Gorillas in the operatic mist

There must be people who have never seen the world’s most frequently staged opera, Carmen; and for those few, Barrie Kosky’s new production at the Royal Opera House will be unfathomable from the start – when the iconic gypsy diva comes on wearing, for no obvious reason, a gorilla suit…
Don’t go to Venom: Killer and Cure, at the Natural History Museum in London if you have a phobia about spiders, wasps or snakes; your skin will be crawling the whole way through…
Television comedy is a fine art that is very hard to get right…
If films reflect the culture they are born in, then what do coming-of-age stories look like in our own time when narcissism and misery prevail among the young? (If you think I’m exaggerating, then please read psychologist Jean Twenge’s iGen)…
With God in Russia by Walter Ciszek SJ and Daniel Flaherty SJ, Harperone, 403pp, £15 Originally published in 1964 and recently reissued, this account of a priestly life spent in Soviet prisons and Siberian labour camps for 23 years has become a modern classic…
The Heirs of Patriarch Shaker by Augin Kurt Haninke, Nineveh press, 362pp, £18 The Heirs of Patriarch Shaker is a history of the Syrian Orthodox Church – an autocephalous miaphysite body with a mostly ethnically Assyrian congregation – during the 20th century, the most trying period in its two millennia of existence…
A History of the Church in 100 Objects by Mike and Grace Aquilina, Ave Maria Press, 256pp, £20 Mike Aquilina is a force to be reckoned with…

Our most common sin

Classically, Christianity has listed seven sins as “deadly” sins, meaning that almost everything else we do which is not virtuous somehow takes its root in one these congenital propensities…