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July 28th 2017

Why Rome is doing battle with American culture

The Pope's advisors have taken aim at US Christianity. Here's why this matters

This September, more than 12,000 grandmothers and grandfathers are expected to gather in the tiny village of Knock in County Mayo…
Anybody watching Poldark will have noticed three things about epistolary communication in the late 18th century…

‘It’s now or never’

When I first met Martin Banni in 2014, he had just fled northern Iraq’s Nineveh Plains, which had been seized by ISIS in a single night…
During my spell at the Ministry of Justice last year, I was allowed to visit some of Britain’s most infamous prisons…

A holy man in the hell of war

Like so many caught up in the conflict that came to be known as the Great War, Fr Willie Doyle was buried where he fell, without a marker, just another casualty among millions…
In the 1895 apostolic letter Longinqua Oceani, Pope Leo XIII assured the Catholic world that “we highly esteem and love exceedingly the young and vigorous American nation”…
The English language can rarely capture the richness of German compound nouns…
When Donald Trump won the US election last year, the next day’s Ellon Times carried the headline “Aberdeenshire business owner wins presidential election”…
Last month the Prime Minister appointed my former judicial colleague Sir Martin Moore-Bick to chair the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire…
As an act of sisterly solidarity, I’m trying hard to sympathise with the BBC women who are paid visibly less than their colleagues…
The full title of Committee, the verbatim musical at Donmar Warehouse, is The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee Takes Oral Evidence on Whitehall’s Relationship with Kids Company…
The First Night of the Proms isn’t so formulaic as the Last, but nonetheless it runs to something like a pattern – usually starting with a bright, decisive and (important this) not overlong new work by someone credible and British, followed by a solid piece of standard repertoire and something signifiying one of the year’s themes…
The Big Sick Cert 15, 120 mins, ★★★★ Is cultural tradition a comfort or a trap? Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick is not the first film to ask that question, but it takes an unlikely route – via a hospital ward – to get to an answer…
A friend at work read the TV guide and said: “Killer Women with Piers Morgan? I believe in punishing prisoners, but that’s just cruel.” Such comments are wrong and unkind and I cannot condone any spite towards Mr Morgan, whose show appears on ITV1 on Thursdays at 9pm…
In his youth, the late-flowering historical novelist Alfred Duggan (no relation) resembled a “dashing, Restoration rake”…

Briefly noted

The Light Shines On in the Darkness by Robert Spitzer SJ (Ignatius Press, £15)…
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, SJ by Silas Henderson, Ignatius Press, £12 Aloysius Gonzaga’s father was not best pleased when his teenage son announced that he wanted to join the Jesuits…
On the Third Part of the Secret of Fatima by Kevin Symonds, En Route Books, £26.96 This book is a quite comprehensive treatment of a difficult subject, and one that breaks significant new ground with regard to the third part of the secret of Fatima, an issue over which conspiracy theorists have burned much midnight oil…
Liberty Intact by Michael Tugendhat, Oxford, £50 An unforeseen consequence of the 1998 Human Rights Act, which brought the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into English law, is that people feel that the rights granted in the Act are in some way foreign…

Angels and the city

Several years ago Hollywood made a movie, City of Angels, about an angel named Seth whose job it was to accompany the spirits of the recently deceased to the afterlife…