When Faith bears unpredictable fruit
The View   There are billboards for Hozier’s new album, Wasteland, Baby!, all over the place. In a Guardian Question and Answer session the singer (Andrew Hozier-Byrne) revealed that he has Seamus Heaney’s last words tattooed on his arm. Seamus Heaney had texted ‘noli timere’ which means, “do not be afraid”, to his wife, Marie,…
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Christians and Muslims: forging an honest peace
The View   The Pope’s recent visit to the United Arab Emirates highlighted the issue of relations with Islam. It has been a recurring theme of this pontificate. It was also a major concern of Pope Benedict, although he was unfairly caricatured as anti-Islamic after his much mis-quoted Regensberg Address in 2006. Far from attacking…
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What’s so irresistible about gossiping?
The View   Two recent incidents nudged my conscience. The first was a young woman who told me that something from one of my talks had lingered with her and she had tried to implement it. The topic mentioned was moral licensing, in the sense of feeling that I am such a good Christian that…
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Young Catholics urgently need to know fullness of Church teaching
The View   Being Catholic means being neither right-wing nor left-wing. It means embracing the social teaching on the Church on major issues and using prudential judgement in less important areas. There is a growing phenomenon of young men and some young women who tend to be right-wing economically but also to oppose abortion. Let’s…
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Making space for a healthy economy
If you are fed up of seeing advertisements for mince pies and other Christmas items in budget German supermarket chains since September, I have a suggestion. Take a stand against commercialism and start planning your Bright Friday event now for November 23. Bright Friday is the brainchild of Martina Lehane Sheehan. She dreamt it up…
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The valuable art of being alone without experiencing loneliness
The View   The BBC is making a series of programmes about loneliness as a result of a study involving 55,000 people that it conducted. The findings are somewhat counter-intuitive. Young people are lonelier than older people. Some 40% of respondents aged between 16 and 24 years old said they experience loneliness often or very…
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Faith renewed and spirits lifted by the World Meeting of Families
The View   Although the scandals in the US concerning criminal sexual abuse by clergy cast a grey and dispiriting shadow over the World Meeting of Families, there were still many uplifting and inspiring aspects to it. I know that thousands of prayers have been offered by faithful Catholics in the hope that the Church…
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Time’s up for the death penalty
The View   During St John Paul’s pontificate, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) was amended regarding the death penalty. Capital punishment was hedged about with so many conditions that the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity were considered to be “very rare, if not practically non-existent”. In…
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Ruffini’s appointment harks back 
to the greatest ‘yes’ ever proffered
The View   The appointment of Paolo Ruffini as head of the Vatican Dicastery for Communications should be an occasion for rejoicing, as the respected 62-year-old journalist is the first layperson to be appointed as prefect of a Vatican department. The historic nature of the appointment may be overshadowed because the post has not gone…
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We must find the 30,000 young people who voted ‘No’ and re-build from there
The View   The referendum defeat poses significant questions, not just for the pro-life movement, but for the Church. While abortion is not just a Catholic issue and some of the most active retain campaigners were atheists and agnostics, belief in the sanctity of life is a core value for Catholicism. Although I am completely sure…
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