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February 24th 2017

A beautiful Church for the poor

Post-Vatican II ugliness coincided with a collapse in the Church’s ministry to the marginalised. When beauty returns, so will Catholicism’s universal appeal

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A fresh theatrical production of St Joan claims that Bernard Shaw’s play is now “relevant to our time”…

The hook of Mormon

Mike Otterson is coming home…
Ash Wednesday Jl 2:12-18; Ps 51; 2 Cor 5:20—6:2; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18 ‘Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” These powerful words that are heard in the liturgy on Ash Wednesday echo over the years and remind us vividly of our mortality…

On the trail of that GKC quote

Of all the wonderful Chesterton quotations, perhaps the finest and best known is the following…
Vatican City Readers, like us writers, are perhaps getting weary from the dizzying twists and turns on divorce, remarriage and the sacraments…

Barbed-wire Christianity

As disputes continue over the mistreatment of refugees attempting the “Balkan route” into Europe, no government has been criticised as harshly as Hungary’s for its razor-wire fences and holding camps…
When archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia issued pastoral guidelines on Amoris Laetitia last July, not everyone was pleased…
Chesterton did not actually say that those of us who don’t believe in God will believe in anything, but he ought to have because it’s true…

James Jeffrey: Djibouti revisited

Addis Ababa Escaping my cramped, clammy hotel room in Djibouti just wasn’t possible one evening…
Textbooks tell you that concertos are a battle between soloist and orchestra; and it’s a mostly unfair match, won by the orchestra through force of numbers…
Tennessee Williams in The Glass Menagerie remembers a time during the 1930’s Depression when he brought home, at the insistence of his mother, a Gentleman Caller for his disabled sister, only to discover too late that the young man was already engaged…
Netflix has put Hitler: A Career online, which is a bit of a surprise…
Even an enfant terrible must grow up sooner or later…
Discovering Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, as a child, was for me a moment of genuine wonder and awe…

Briefly noted

Sacred Space: For Lent 2017 by The Irish Jesuits (Messenger Publications, £2.50)…
Continental Ambitions by Kevin Starr, Ignatius Press, £28 A modern, satisfactory survey of Catholicism in colonial North America has long been a desideratum…
Being Wagner: the Triumph of the Will by Simon Callow, William Collins, £14.99 For those who haven’t experienced Richard Wagner’s musical dramas or know about the composer’s life, this book offers a brief, intoxicating introduction…
Isabella by Giles Tremlett, Bloomsbury, £25 From ascending the throne in 1474 to her death in 1504, Isabella of Castile transformed her homeland, a “fractious, ill-disciplined nation” into a European powerhouse…

Of winners and losers

Our society tends to divide us up into winners and losers…