Analysis and Comment

The Two Popes: a mixed bag theologically and politically, with bravura performances Comments 0

Monday, December 9th, 2019
The Two Popes

Netflix’s The Two Popes may be best described, borrowing a turn of phrase from Fredric Jameson, as “nostalgia for the present”. Biopic and historical dramas are traditionally reserved for people who are dead, so I felt suspicious about watching a movie about two popes who are alive. It feels premature and slightly reminiscent of Barack Read more

Dishonesty and the abortion debate Comments 0

Monday, December 9th, 2019

In 1956, two American physicians, J. A. Presley and W. E. Brown, colleagues at the University of Arkansas School of Medicine, decided four recent admissions to their hospital were significant enough to warrant a published report. “Lysol-Induced Criminal Abortion” appeared in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. It describes four women who were admitted to the Read more

Top emitters must commit to a U-turn at COP25 Comments 0

Monday, December 9th, 2019

Epitomizing the disconnect between scientific warnings and human action, global temperatures are now on track to rise by an unacceptable 3.2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels by 2030 while greenhouse gas emissions hit all-time highs. As the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP25 Read more

A tale of two cathedrals Comments 0

Monday, December 9th, 2019

This is a tale of two cathedrals. It’s a story of two bishops, a tragedy and even a prince. There’s more than one battle in this long saga and only one of the cathedrals will have a happy ending. Both buildings were severely damaged by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and aftershocks, and both sit Read more

Conscience and Vatican persecution of Fr Seán Fagan Comments 0

Thursday, December 5th, 2019

Marking the opening of the new legal year in October, the Vatican’s diplomatic representative in Ireland, Archbishop Jude Okolo, reminded legal practitioners that justice “rests on respect for human rights, assuring that people’s natural and objective rights are not trampled upon”. Indeed. The institution Archbishop Okolo represents displays a breathtaking disrespect for human rights, trampling Read more

Solving the problem of decreasing church attendance frequency Comments 0

Thursday, December 5th, 2019

A phenomenon is impacting churches. Maybe your church is an anomaly. But most churches—regardless of size and denominational affiliation—are experiencing a decrease in attendance frequency. Attendance frequency measures how often a person comes to church. For example, an “active” member was once considered someone who came twice, or even three times a week. Today an Read more

US bishops urged to bring people back to the Church Comments 0

Thursday, December 5th, 2019

Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles did not just bemoan the fact many young people are leaving the Catholic Church. He told the US Bishops church leaders need to make it a priority to bring them back. The bishop, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, who is known for his Read more

China ‘re-evaluates’ classic religious texts Comments 0

Thursday, December 5th, 2019

The Chinese Communist Party has affirmed its determination to control religion by issuing new translations and interpretations of “classic” religious works. The aim is to provide a state-ordained basis for spiritual life. The move signals a profound shift in the Communist Party’s approach to religion, where it is moving from political management to uncompromising constraint. Read more

Opportunities of the digital reformation Comments 0

Monday, December 2nd, 2019
digital reformation

Whenever world-changing episodes in history unfold, new technologies are often in the background. Jesus arrived in history “when the fullness of time had come” (Gal. 4:4), and it was exactly the right time for his good news to catch fire. The new “technology” of Roman roadways made possible the rapid spread of Christianity in the Read more

Are children hardwired to believe in God? Comments 0

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

University of Oxford developmental psychologist Dr. Olivera Petrovich has spent years researching a single question: Are children predisposed to belief in a transcendent being? This research, much deserving of greater exposure, intrigued me, since I have engaged atheism’s most prominent modern proponents. I chaired three of atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins’s debates with his Read more