The summits of sheer stupidity

Mainly About Books by the books editor   I have been wondering over recent days what Achille Ratti, later in life Pope Pius XI, would have thought of the recent images of toe-to-heel climbers, some 300 of them, ascending Mount Everest to take a selfie at the summit. In the course of this insane “bucket-list…

Dublin way back then

A Different Dublin: The 1960s through the lens, photographs by Bill Hogan (Currach Books, €19.99) Bill Hogan was a cinema projectionist in different cinemas across Dublin in the 1960s. He worked largely at night, so most of the daylight hours were his own to indulge his developing interest in street photography. He was largely inspired…

What to read about Medjugorje

Medjugorje, which has grown into one of the most popular pilgrimages for Catholics around the world in recent decades, lies in the southern Herzegovina region of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which Catholics make up a mere 14% of the population. For many centuries, this area of Eastern Europe was under Ottoman rule,…

Mainly about books

Recently our local amateur drama group was courageous enough to mount a production of Dion Boucicault’s Victorian melodrama The Colleen Bawn. I don’t use the word Victorian casually, for this was one of the Queen’s favourite plays; she had drawings she had done of the scenes in her personal art collection. She loved the theatre,…

In search of an 
essential Christianity

The Naked Hermit: A journey to the heart of Celtic Britain by Nick Mayhew-Smith (SPCK, £19.99) Readers may recall a six-part television series Britain’s Holiest Places from about seven years ago. This was presented by Nick Mayhew-Smith who had written the book that inspired the programmes of the series. Here, however, he deals with a…

Recent books in brief

Contemplating the Camino – An Ignatian Guide by Brendan McManus SJ  (Messenger Publications, €4.95 / £4.50) This little pamphlet is intended not as a guide to the actual trails from France across the north of Spain, so much as an aid to the inner, mystical path of which it is an exemplar. The author takes…

Recent books in brief

Deeper into the Mess: Praying through Tough Times by Brendan MacManus SJ and Jim Deeds (Messenger Publications, €9.95 / £8.95) This little book is the follow up to the authors’ earlier title Finding God in the Mess. It answers the question readers might have posed: having found God in the mess of life, what do…

Entertaining angels, unawares

Angels: A Visible and Invisible History by Peter Stanford (Hodder & Stoughton, £20.00) “Angels and ministers of grace defend us!”: when Hamlet encounters the ghost of his father on the parapet of Elsinore he appeals to the angels to preserve him, which is quite in keeping with the Catholic cast of Shakespeare’s imagination, poised as he…

Monte Cassino: a crime against civilisation

Mainly About Books By the books editor   The other day there came into my hands a unique book, quite unknown I think to readers outside Italy. It is called Monte Cassino under Fire: War Diaries from the Abbey, by Eusebio Grossetti and Martino Matronola, edited by Faustino Avagliano (Abbazia di Montecassino, 2018). My father…