A Tale of Two Cities—And of Two Churches

From Web Exclusives

You will recall the lapidary opening of Dickens’s famous novel of London and Paris in the period of the French Revolution. Headed ‘Book I—Recalled to Life: Chapter I: The Period” it begins: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. . . .” For reasons that will quickly become . . . . Continue Reading »

Why Scotland and Ireland Went Different Ways

From Web Exclusives

In St. Andrews on Thursday, September 18, I voted in the Scottish referendum and the following morning flew to Ireland to give a lecture in the International Centre for Newman Studies at University College Dublin. The subject was Religion, Science and Philosophy, but it was hardly possible not to begin with a few remarks about the previous day’s “No” to Scottish Independence vote (55.3 percent). Whatever the significance for those in Scotland, and whatever the interest across the world, for many politicians and commentators in Ireland this was a surprise and a disappointment. Continue Reading »

Scotland on the Eve of the Referendum

From Web Exclusives

On September 18, over four million Scottish residents will have the opportunity to answer the question, “Should Scotland be an Independent Country?” If the majority vote yes, this will initiate a process leading to independence

A New Pope for a New Chapter in an Old Story

From Web Exclusives

The general expectation when the cardinals filed into the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday afternoon was that it was likely to be a long conclave. The assumption was that it would take some time for the various groupings”Italian/non-Italian; European/non-European; Northern/Southern, Western/Eastern hemispheres”to assess the relative scale of support for each, and to order and re-order their priorities. … Continue Reading »

The Conclave and Cardinal Ravasi

From First Thoughts

It is hard to know when a new pope will be elected. Prior to entering into the formal conclave this afternoon the cardinals have already had several days of collective discussion, before which they had plenty of opportunity, since the announcement of Pope Benedict’s abdication, for informal . . . . Continue Reading »

For Cardinal O’Brien, A Sad End

From Web Exclusives

“If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well, it were done quickly.” So speaks Macbeth of the murder of the king, but the words might well be self-applied by someone who finds themselves in the situation faced by Cardinal O’Brien, when he learned of the news stories reporting accusations against him of inappropriate behavior… . Continue Reading »

Goodbye to Cardinal O’Brien

From First Thoughts

The resignation of Cardinal O’Brien as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, within a month of the date on which his formal resignation would normally have taken effect, is both shocking and sad, for he was a well-known and well-liked figure within the Catholic Church in Scotland, in . . . . Continue Reading »

Against Erotic Entitlements

From the April 2012 Print Edition

There is a general form of reasoning to which I shall give the name argumentum ad consummationem, which runs as follows. Major premise: Sexual attraction and love are determinants of human happiness and should be consummated where sincerely felt. Minor premise: You cannot choose to whom you are . . . . Continue Reading »