World Day of the Poor

THIS SUNDAY was designated earlier this year by Pope Francis as the first World Day of the Poor and it will be an annual observance on this Sunday in November. The announcement and the message were made in June on the feast of St Anthony of Padua (of whom we

Continue reading

How to Get Things Wrong

Well known verses from the second chapter of the book of Isaiah (repeated in the book of Micah) are sometimes used as a canticle in the Divine Office, in Morning Prayer which we say at the beginning of Mass in our religious communities: ‘They shall beat their swords into ploughshares,

Continue reading

(Re)Thinking Europe

LAST WEEKEND the Holy See hosted in the Vatican an important international conference entitled (Re)Thinking Europe – A Christian Contribution to the Future of the European Project. It was sponsored by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community. Among those who went from here were Francis Campbell,

Continue reading

The Abortion Act 1967

These are extracts from a statement issued last week by the Bishops of England and Wales and of Scotland to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act: ‘Over the last fifty years, the bishops of our countries, along with many other people, have spoken consistently in favour of

Continue reading

Commemorating the Reformation

THIS MONTH sees the five hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation in Europe. At the end of October 1517 the German Augustinian monk and professor Martin Luther published his Ninety Five Theses (allegedly also nailing them to the door of a church in Wittenberg) which began his

Continue reading

The Meaning of Subsidiarity

ONE of the distinctive things about Catholic Christianity is that we have something to say about virtually every moral or political issue in the world. Back at the end of 1996 in their teaching document The Common Good our bishops in this country memorably wrote, ‘Nothing is beyond the scope

Continue reading

Going Back to 2004

BACK IN 2004 the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales issued a very important teaching document, one of the most impressive documents of this kind to come from any of the churches in this country in recent years, the product both of deep theological reflection and of the experience

Continue reading

God Loves a Cheerful Giver

MANY YEARS AGO I remember my late father, who was a Presbyterian from Northern Ireland, telling me that apparently at church services led by the Revd Dr Ian Paisley people were told by the legendary preacher just before the collection was taken that he didn’t want to hear any money

Continue reading

The Achievements of Cardinal Murphy O’Connor

BECKENHAM is not in the dioceses of Westminster, Arundel and Brighton or Portsmouth, the three jurisdictions which linked the priestly ministry of Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, who died at the beginning of this month; but there are various reasons why we should particularly pray for his soul and give thanks

Continue reading

God and the Atom

OVER THE SUMMER all of us, whatever our religious beliefs, have been anxious about the growing tension in the Korean peninsular. The determination of the ‘Democratic Republic of Korea’ to become a nuclear weapons state, expressed in tests and trials condemned by the international community and in defiance of the United Nations, matched

Continue reading