Culture and Society

Photo by N R on Unsplash
Pure unspoilt religion in the eyes of God our Father is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it, and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.  The pure version of our faith, according to St James, is all about two aspects of our relation to other people: first, we are to help them in their need, and, second, we are not to be corrupted by them.  The demand that we help people is challenging, it calls out of us love, charity, compassion, when perhaps we are...
Jesuit novices, from left: Paolo Beltrame, Thiranjala Weerasinghe, Desmond Gibney, Dunstan Rodrigues, John Bosco Noronha, Paul Prior, Ian Jackson.
 Jesuit novice Dunstan Rodrigues reflects on the World Meeting of Families. In the photo from left to right the Jesuit novices: Paolo Beltrame, Thiranjala Weerasinghe, Desmond Gibney, Dunstan Rodrigues, John Bosco Noronha, Paul Prior, Ian Jackson. Matthew Tumulty, the eighth novice, is not in the photo because he was preparing for his own personal meeting with Pope Francis!The novices of Britain, Ireland and the Low Countries had the privilege to join in the World Meeting of...
A wall of Sandals in a shop - Photo by Adam Jang on Unsplash
If we are going to dedicate ourselves to being disciples of Jesus Christ what do we need, what must we take with us?  What can we dispense with?  He instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff - no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses.  They were to wear sandals, but, he added, do not take a spare tunic. Simplicity is clearly the order of the day.  Let us get rid of what is unnecessary. Let us cut down; let us retrench; let us detach ourselves...
Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash
 I hope this will not seem disrespectful, but do you ever wonder what it must have felt like to be Jesus?- to have the power to heal people just by touching them...“Do you feel sick?” – I touch you – and immediately you get better. No fuss, no bother, no drugs, no side-effects, no operations, no clinical commissioning groups, no Health & Social Care Bills – you just get better right away. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing to be able to do for people?I often wonder that because, during...
School of art on fire Credit Jeff J Mitchell
Buildings project personalities – whether it be that of Shah Jahan for the Taj Mahal, Michelangelo for St Peter’s in Rome or Joseph Stalin in Moscow. Buildings also incarnate ideas, fears, hopes and dreams.When the flames of destruction touched the Rennie Mackintosh building, it unleashed a powerful destructive force in Garnethill; but it also unlocked a complex ripple of emotions, both locally and across the globe, because the building projects a personality;  it was not just an assembly...
Aloysius de Gonzaga as a boy
AMDGThe patron saint of young people, and of Jesuit scholastics (students for the priesthood), we celebrate the life of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga SJ in a special way this year with a Jubilee Year to mark the 450th anniversary of his birth. Why is his life worth celebrating?Aloysius, or Luigi, gave up a privileged background to enter the Society of Jesus. While studying for the priesthood, he died while caring for plague victims on the streets of Rome. Rather than flee the daunting realities of his...
Westminster, the river Thames and Westminster bridge
The Windrush scandal signifies more than Ministerial incompetence: it has revealed the shocking inhumanity of our immigration policy.  How can we talk about British values when we deliberately design policies that negate the values of hospitality, compassion, solidarity and justice?  So far so obvious for some, so contentious for others.But where are the ethical principles going to come from that might guide us towards putting things right?  The Christian tradition might be a...
 A young woman gazes upwards. A cross is behind her.
“Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.” [John 20.9]“So, what exactly is the point of the ‘bodily resurrection’?”I was once asked this question in a pub by a journalist. And, as always, when I find myself talking in a social environment with a journalist, I hear somewhere off in the background the words of the Police caution… “but anything you do say may be taken down and used in evidence…”But drink had been taken, so I did...
Photo by Josh Calabrese on Unsplash
When I was a teenager, I grew up in Wimbledon – a village in South London that is famous for only one thing – every June there is a tennis tournament that attracts players and spectators from all over the world. It’s supposed to be the oldest tennis tournament in the world – I’m not absolutely sure if that’s true. But it is certainly the most prestigious.And I remember particularly the first day I went there. It used to be that if you lived locally, you could walk up in the evenings, when most...
God made me and God doesn't make junk - Anonymous
“…they discussed among themselves what ‘rising from the dead’ could mean.”One of my patients has a favourite T-shirt which he often wears to consultations with me. In block red capitals (presumably he has concerns about my eyesight) it says, “Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.”Having lived with quite a few saints in my time, I can heartily attest to the former. But, just in case I have to live with them again, the story I am going to tell you is about the latter….Now, you may...

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