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Today’s Catholic must-reads

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The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has launched a booklet explaining the purpose of the Pope’s visit to Britain in September (PDF and press conference audio here).

Pope Benedict focused on the teaching of St Thomas Aquinas at his general audience today (video).

The Holy See and Israel have failed again to resolve the dispute over the Church’s legal and tax status in the Holy Land.

The Latin Patriarch has called for the blockade of Gaza to be lifted.

The German press agency dpa is reporting that Bishop Walter Mixa may ask the Pope to reinstate him as Bishop of Augsburg.

Zenit has begun to publish the full English translation of the Pope’s question-and-answer session with the world’s priests.

Damian Thompson says that Cardinal Pell is the victim of a smear campaign designed to stop him reforming the world’s bishops.

Anna Clark of Salon considers whether better ultrasounds prevent abortion.

And members of Germany’s World Cup squad have received cards personally signed by the Pope offering encouragement in the tournament.

Morning Catholic must-reads

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The Sunday Telegraph’s report on the Foreign Office memo suggesting the Pope should open an abortion clinic during his visit to Britain has prompted comment from James Macintyre, Damian Thompson, Harry Mount, Melanie McDonagh, Catherine Pepinster, George Pitcher, Tim Collard, Fr Dwight Longenecker, Gerald Warner, Ruth Gledhill, Mary Beard, Cranmer, William Crawley, Tony Brenton, Giles Pinnock, Joanna Bogle, Fr Timothy Finigan and Fr John Hunwicke SSC.

The Independent reports that Pope Benedict will make “the first general apology” for clerical abuse when he meets thousands of priests from around the world at the end of the Year for Priests.

The Pope has praised the Meter Association, the group founded by Fr Fortunato Di Noto to combat paedophilia.

Benedict XVI will create a Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation, to be led by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, reports John Allen.

The internet has led to increased conformity and “the decline of critical spirit”, Pope Benedict has said (video).

Iraqi Christians have defied threats to erect a statue of Jesus modelled on the giant Christ the Redeemer in Rio.

An Italian group has accused Mgr Charles Scicluna of mishandling the case of an alleged clerical abuser.

A retired priest has said he warned Church authorities that Belgium’s longest-serving bishop was an abuser years before he resigned.

Clark Hoyt, the public editor of the New York Times, responds to criticism of the paper’s coverage of the Pope and the abuse crisis.

Christopher Hitchens provides an update on his campaign to arrest the Pope.

Historian Anthony Grafton says Pope Benedict is awaiting the St “Francis or the Angela Merici of our time“.

Joseph Bottum reflects on “the permanent scandal of the Vatican“.

Mark Lawson says the Pope and Catholicism “have become the evil force of choice” for novelists.

A new documentary traces the last days of Oscar Romero.

Marco Tossati discusses his controversial book-length interview with the exorcist Fr Gabriele Amorth.

And a Colombian cleric has won an international prize for the best “priestly anecdote” with the story of how he heard the Devil’s confession.

Morning Catholic must-reads

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Sixty cardinals had lunch with Benedict XVI yesterday to mark the fifth anniversary of his election as Pope (video). Meanwhile, numerous commentators have assessed his papacy so far, including Archbishop Thomas Collins, Fr Vincent Twomey, Fr Joseph Fessio, Damian Thompson, David Gibson, Sylvia Poggioli, John Thavis, Tracey Rowland, Victor Simpson, Philip Lawler, Carl Olson, Robert Royal, Fr James Schall and Sabina Castelfranco.

The Week summarises reactions to Pope Benedict’s tears in Malta.

A Cuban Catholic cardinal has said his country is in crisis.

Peter Hitchens criticises the novelist Philip Pullman for telling a newspaper he hopes “the wretched Catholic Church will vanish entirely“.

Fr Owen Kearns admits that he was wrong to defend Fr Marcial Maciel against his accusers.

A baptised Catholic academic has caused uproar among African-Americans after writing an article proclaiming that “the Black Church is dead”.

A new website called British Religion in Numbers aims to explain religion statistics to the general public.

A film about a late-term abortion survivor will be featured at Cannes.

And the Cleveland Leader suggests that, if even the Pope falls asleep at Mass, it’s OK for others to do so too.

Morning Catholic must-reads

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Fr Tim Finigan asks whether Catholic state education in Britain has entered its “endgame”. Damian Thompson, John Smeaton, Mulier Fortis, St Mary Magdalen, and Sunday Morning Soapbox also reflect on the latest developments in the battle over sex education.

Forward in Faith UK is supporting a Day of Prayer today, the feast of the Chair of St Peter, in response to Anglicanorum Coetibus. Thinking Anglicans rounds up the latest developments. And Christian Campbell says that, despite claims to the contrary, groups of Anglicans around the world are preparing to respond to the Pope’s offer.

Two of the Vatican’s most senior officials have raised the issue of reducing the number of dioceses in Ireland.

Pope Benedict XVI began his traditional Lenten retreat on Sunday evening (audio). Shortly before, he gave the Angelus address in which he compared Lent to “a long retreat” (video).

Pope Benedict has confirmed that he will visit a Lutheran church in Rome next month.

The Pope has not yet received a letter from members of the Pontifical Academy for Life criticising their president, Archbishop Rino Fisichella.

The Guardian suggests that the Pope has condemned intrusive body scanners at airports.

No Hidden Magenta wonders if Europe is heading for its own Roe vs Wade.

Australian and Quebec will gain their first saints on October 17 (video).

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago will speak at Brigham Young University tomorrow on the topic “Catholics and Latter-day Saints: Partners in the Defence of Religious Freedom”.

A Marian statue damaged during the atomic bombing of Nagasaki will meet its counterpart in Guernica as part of a “peace pilgrimage” marking the 65th anniversary of the bombing.

America magazine examines the trends in the latest Annuario Pontificio and Rocco Palmo notes that the Catholic Church in America is still growing.

Robbers have shot dead a priest in Mexico.

The BBC reports that a monastery near Vienna is offering men the chance to “be a monk for a weekend“.

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, asks whether John Paul II was “crazy or holy“.

Zenit meets the Polish twin brothers who both felt called to the priesthood in the Salesian order.

And Da Mihi Animas marvels at the skills of the skateboarding friar (video).

Mgr Graham Leonard RIP

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Mgr Graham Leonard, the former Anglican Bishop of London, who was received into the Catholic Church in 1994, has died.

My colleague, Damian Thompson, comments:

Mgr Leonard, 87, was a formidable and dignified champion of the Anglo-Catholic cause in the Church of England; when he converted to Catholicism after the vote to ordain women priests, he was ordained priest conditionally, having persuaded the Vatican that he might already possess valid orders by virtue of an Old Catholic apostolic succession.

Mgr Leonard had originally hoped that he could bring with him Anglican priests and faithful who could worship together after their reception; as it turned out, the time was not yet ripe. But it is now. The Ordinariate scheme, currently taking shape, will be a fitting memorial to this inspiring priest.

I was once had the privilege of hearing him preach. His homily sounded like something Newman might have preached: it was literate, beautiful and deeply theological. He will be missed.

Written by Luke Coppen

January 6, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Newman: a dream fulfilled?

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My colleague Damian Thompson has a fascinating post on the Telegraph website asking if the Apostolic Constitution is the fulfilment of Cardinal Newman’s dream of an Anglican Uniate Church.

He writes:

The official website for Newman’s Cause hinted as much when it greeted the announcement with a reminder of Newman’s support for a proposal to establish an Anglican Uniate Church for converts, similar to that provided for Byzantine-rite Catholics.

The plan was conceived by Ambrose Phillips de Lisle and Newman rightly guessed that it would be unworkable. But if it could be made to work, he said, he was all in favour. As he wrote to de Lisle in 1876:

“Nothing will rejoice me more than to find that the Holy See considers it safe and promising to sanction some such plan as the Pamphlet suggests. I give my best prayers, such as they are, that some means of drawing to us so many good people, who are now shivering at our gates, may be discovered.”

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Written by Luke Coppen

October 22, 2009 at 8:03 am