Category: Web Watch

Barcelona’s sign of the invisible God is building

It’s unlikely that there’s a more conspicuous or remarkable example of Catholic art in the modern world than Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, described by Pope Benedict in 2010 as standing “as a visible sign of the invisible God, to whose glory these spires rise like arrows pointing towards absolute light and to…

When the language of love falls on ears that do not hear

“It’s funny, I haven’t seen any outcry from ‘pro-life’ organisations about the treatment of children at the border,” observed author and columnist Jessica Valenti last week on her @jessicavalenti Twitter account. It was, she claimed, almost as though such organisations couldn’t care less about “actual babies”. Retweeted over 70,000 times, it’s worth reflecting on in…

Traditionalism worth thinking with

Before the establishment of the Varangian Guard, when the Byzantine Emperors took to taking Vikings into their service to act as bodyguards, there were the Excubitors. In the mid-5th Century, before the last Western Roman Emperor was deposed, the Eastern or ‘Byzantine’ Emperors established an imperial guard known as ‘Sentinels’ or ‘Excubitors’. With the old…

Deep thoughts from abroad on validity of votes

After criticising Damian Thompson’s execrable spectator.co.uk podcast about the referendum in a recent Web Watch, it seems only fair to point to a far better spectator.co.uk piece on the referendum this week. ‘What really happened in Ireland’s abortion referendum’, a ‘Coffee House’ column by Wicklow-born but London-based Melanie McDonagh is marked, as perhaps inevitable nowadays,…

More Catholic than the Pope?

There’s a passage in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass where Alice meets Humpty Dumpty, perched on his wall, and is startled to find him using the word ‘glory’ to mean, in effect, ‘q.e.d.’, and says so. “When I use a word,” the scornful egg replies, “it means just what I choose it to mean…

The importance of being British taken just too far!

Perhaps few things provoke Irish eye-rolling quite so much as the clichéd tendency of our cousins across the Irish Sea to claim Irish sporting and acting successes as ‘British’, but it was especially bizarre to read last week a catholicherald.co.uk piece claiming Oscar Wilde’s deathbed conversion as an English phenomenon. In ‘The Passion of Oscar…

Medicine for a miserable world

At this stage it probably goes without saying that Gaudate et Exsultate, the Pope’s new exhortation on holiness in ordinary life, was always going to be dismissed by some as like the proverbial curate’s egg: good in parts. Writing at catholicworldreport.com, for instance, in a piece headed ‘Pope Francis “takes aim” in Gaudete et Exsultate…

The story is more about what Pope did not say

In some ways, the Vatican’s speedy disavowal of reports ahead of Easter that Pope Francis had told the elderly Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari Hell does not exist could not have been clearer. “The Holy Father Francis recently received the founder of the newspaper La Repubblica in a private meeting on the occasion of Easter, without…

There’s nothing new about attacks on the Pope

Given how fractious the Catholic internet has been of late, it can be surprising to find someone you might expect to have joined the camp of those attacking the Pope expressing an impressive docility, and a recognition that being Catholic is not simply a matter of believing Catholic things but of union with the Pope.…

Excommunication of remarried: was it ever a reality?

There’s been a lot of debate in English Catholic journalism over the last week or two about a Cambridge lecture by Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich. The lecture itself, ‘Pope Francis’ revolution of mercy: Amoris Laetitia as a new paradigm of Catholicism’, conducted under the auspices of the Von Hügel Institute for Critical Catholic Inquiry, can…