I wish some bright young writer – or some bright older writer, indeed – would produce a book on the theme of ‘The Strange Death of the SDLP’. The collapse of the Social Democratic and Labour Party in Northern Ireland is one of the major electoral events, surely, of 2017. It also seems to be one of the most unexplained...

When St John Paul II visited Ireland in 1979, Derry’s Bishop Donal McKeown recalled this week, he said that each generation “is like a new continent to be conquered for Christ”.It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that efforts at conquest have been lacking – or at least unsuccessful – for those generations who have...

We’re in something of a Catch-22 situation here. If you draw attention to sacrilege you might end up playing into the hands of the sacrilegious. They’re looking for attention. If you pay no attention to it at all, you could give the impression that you don’t really care when the sacred objects of your religion are misused.Last...

The purpose of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in August 2018 is to fully present the teaching of Amoris Laetitia, the apostolic exhortation on love in the family, of Pope Francis. In the midst of certain controversies since its publication in April 2016, it is often forgotten that it was written after, and consequent upon two Synods of...

The word “Protestant” is generally misunderstood. Martin Luther’s protest that led to the Protestant reformation was not, in fact, a protest against the Roman Catholic Church; properly understood, it was a protest for God. God, in Luther’s view, was being manipulated to serve human and ecclesial self-interest. His protest...

Fr Vincent SherlockHe pulled in to get petrol. The back seat of his car was filled with bits and pieces from his home – the bits, over and above, what the van had taken away earlier that day. The young petrol attendant, seeing the packed car said: “Are you the new man?” The priest, telling the story afterwards, told us...

A Continental European friend remarked to me that “Ireland is much more European than Britain – I’ve found that the Irish are much more at ease with their Continental neighbours than the British.”If this is true, it is in no small measure due to the deposit of culture built up over the centuries between Irish culture and...

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