Theology, philosophy and ethics

Cover of Radical Sacrifice
In this survey of an endlessly fascinating theme, Terry Eagleton demonstrates once again what an important theological voice he is, despite his status as a non-theologian. ‘Sacrifice’ positions itself at the intersections of philosophy, politics, literature and theology, and Eagleton is well able to hold his own in this complex interdisciplinary conversation. Which is just as well: one of the attractions of this short book is that condensed presentations of weighty pre-modern, modern and...
Jéhovah devient notre père by Jean-Georges Cornélius.
The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was promoted by St Claude La Colombière and St Margaret Mary Alacoque, whose relics will come to London with the Sacred Heart of Mercy Mission this week. James Hanvey SJ explains why this devotion will always be central to the life of the Church and why it is the foundation of our intimacy with Christ. ‘Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, has a heart… With him it is always personal.’ The first time I visited Paray-le-Monial I...
Covers of 'God, Value & Nature' and 'God is No Thing'
Christian faith is made ‘not just philosophically cogent but intensely relevant and reasonable’ in two recent books which exemplify the craft of the philosopher. Michael Barnes SJ celebrates Fiona Ellis’ God, Value and Nature and Rupert Shortt’s God is No Thing. When I was interviewed by the famous professor who was to become my first tutor in Indian Religions I was a bit surprised to find myself quizzed about Greek philosophy. He had recently moved back into his...
René Girard
This week, we learned of the death of ‘the new Darwin of the human sciences’, René Girard.  Michael Kirwan SJ, author of Discovering Girard, pays tribute to a deeply committed and humble Catholic theologian who declared that ‘violence is the heart and secret soul of the sacred’. René Noël Théophile Girard was born in Avignon on Christmas Day, 1923. He died in California on 4 November 2015. He leaves behind Martha, his wife of 64 years, three children, and nine...
Photo of animal dominoes
Faith-based discussions about ecological issues often revolve around a theme of stewardship, but Pope Francis has taken a different approach in his encyclical, says Henry Longbottom SJ. How does the ecological conversion to which Laudato si’ calls us compare with a movement in secular philosophy which advocates an environmental virtue ethics? There's a striking absence of ‘stewardship’ language in Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, Laudato si’. The term,...
Image of embryo
What do you do with frozen embryos when their parents have split up and their genetic mother wants them to remain frozen, whereas their genetic father wants them gestated by a surrogate so that he can father them and bring them up? It is hardly an everyday predicament but it is one in which a famous actress now finds herself, and so the situation has generated headlines and comment over the past few days. Agneta Sutton sets out the Church’s view on the issues at hand. On 29 April...
Photograph of UK border
Many of the most heated discussions ahead of the UK General Election are about a controversial topic: immigration. Each party has its own solution to the ‘problem’ of immigration, but the real problem is that the wrong questions are being asked, says Patrick Riordan SJ. He draws on the debates about migration in political philosophy to call on politicians to ‘show more respect for voters by offering policies which reflect serious consideration of the issues, values and...
St Thomas Aquinas
On 28 January, we celebrate the Feast of St Thomas Aquinas, the great theologian and Doctor of the Church. The Thomist account of religion and prayer can provide a basis for unity in a society that is in so many ways divided, says Joe Egerton. He applies the thinking of St Thomas to a question that is acutely relevant in contemporary society: the right of the State to legislate on matters of religion. There are many views on the position of religion in the contemporary state. Some regard...
In their ruling in a right-to-die case this week, UK Supreme Court judges have urged Parliament to address the issue of assisted dying.  David Albert Jones reviews the bills currently being considered in Westminster and Holyrood which aim to legalise physician-assisted suicide.  He explores questions of law and language that surround the issue, and asks how the Church can contribute to this sensitive debate. Two new bills that would legalise assisted suicideThe British people are...
From 'Scenes from the Life of Christ: Ascension' by Mariotto di Nardo
The Feast of the Ascension strikes many Christians as the poor relative of the two rather bigger celebrations which top and tail the long and joyful season of Eastertide: Easter itself, and Pentecost. But Damian Howard SJ ascribes to this feast the utmost significance. What are we to make of the story of Jesus being taken up into a cloud, an episode that not only sounds like mythology but also violates our modern sense of space? In between our celebrations of the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter...