McCarrick – the real choices

Popes Benedict and Francis’ failure to impose sanctions on then-Cardinal McCarrick was understandable, writes Austen Ivereigh   Whatever your view of Archbishop Viganò now — a prophet raised up by God to purify the leadership of the Church, or a vengeful and mendacious official driven by ideology — the question of what Popes did or…

Francis in the lions’ den

It is not hard to guess why the Vatican’s communications supremo, Monsignor Dario Viganò, thought it was a good idea for Pope Francis to have 12 meetings with a French atheist sociologist over much of 2016. The Catholic Church’s commentariat can be an echo chamber, and Francis needs to reach out beyond its walls. Dominique…

A canny leader with a gentle touch

As Archbishop of Westminster for nearly a decade, 2000 until 2009, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor began his term of office embroiled in a major scandal over an abuser priest, but rode through it to become a much-loved public figure in Britain, known for his soft Irish lilt, jovial good humour, and deep compassion. He was well known…

Doing what we should, not what we can

Even as the fate of the baby Charlie Gard again hangs in the balance there is healthy discussion and disagreement about his tragic case among Catholics who might normally agree on other matters. Yet I want to suggest that, despite these differences, we share a common concern. But first, I struggle to grasp how some…

The death of liberal Britain

An announcement last Wednesday night, drowned in the saturation coverage of London’s appalling tower-block fire, deserved not just to make the news but to trigger a national examination of conscience. Sadly, it hasn’t. Tim Farron, an evangelical Christian, decided to stand down as leader of Britain’s third party, the Liberal Democrats, because “to be a…

All that glitters…

One way of looking at the Francis pontificate is that he’s universalising what the Latin American Church agreed to at its famous continent-wide gathering in 2007, held at the Marian shrine of Aparecida in Brazil. The signature tunes of the Latin American Church to come out of that meeting – missionary discipleship, pastoral conversion, an…