Politics and current affairs

Photo of Accrington Pals/Photo of jobseeker in Burnley
The town of Accrington, home to over 300 men who were killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, is an example of a community who were defenceless against the juggernaut that was World War I. 8 miles north-east and 100 years later, we find an example of a community that is just as vulnerable to a new force but has responded in a different way. The Jesuits in Britain’s Provincial Fr Dermot Preston reflects on last week’s referendum result through the lens of his hometown of Burnley....
Brexit scrabble letters
In the wake of the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union, Thinking Faith’s Editor suggests that the road ahead must be paved with generosity if it is to lead to the common good. The United Kingdom woke up this morning – or, in some cases, stayed awake all night – to discover that 51.9% of voters in yesterday’s EU referendum had opted for the second option on the ballot paper: Leave the European Union. Roughly 17.5 million people have come to the...
Photograph of EU scrabble tiles
The focus of the campaigning leading up to the referendum on UK membership of the EU has been too narrowly economic and misrepresentations abound on both sides, writes Frank Turner SJ. The opportunities for scrupulous consideration of the issues and for authentic political debate have been missed, and now ‘the character of the debate threatens the EU whatever the outcome on 23 June.’ Which areas of interest and importance has the public forum struggled to accommodate? The...
Photograph of map of Europe
Later this month, voters in the United Kingdom will decide whether or not they want to remain in the European Union. Arguments on both sides are dominating the current political landscape, but Patrick Riordan SJ is worried about the lack of depth to the referendum debates: ‘we have neglected to form the political culture in which a reasonable debate about membership of the EU can take place.’ ‘NHS doctor leaves family in Sheffield to join Islamic State in Syria.’[1...
Photograph of Justitia statue
The current controversy about the appointment of a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is indicative of wider problems associated with rights-based citizenship and the politicisation of the judiciary, writes Patrick Riordan SJ – and not just in the United States. How can legal and judicial systems best serve the common good? The death of American Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has provoked a heated debate about how and when an appointment of his...
Photo of Pope Francis
When Pope John Paul II visited Chile in 1987 he was welcomed as a ‘messenger of life, pilgrim of peace’ – Nathan Stone SJ remembers it well. How did Pope Francis live up to these same accolades on his visit to Cuba and the United States? I was there in April 1987 when Pope John Paul II visited Chile. It was quite the affair. Chile was small, far away and off the beaten track. Whenever an international figure of any stature came to town, it was a big deal, but John Paul was the Vicar of...
Photo of Pope Francis
In recent decades, the dynamics within the Catholic Church in America have grown increasingly to resemble those that define the U.S. political scene, writes Vincent Rougeau. Pope Francis’ refusal to align himself with either liberals or conservatives on his recent visit was a challenge to all those who accept such divisions, inside and outside of the Church. A five-year-old girl breaking through security to offer Pope Francis a letter and a t-shirt was probably the most iconic image...
Al-Moukhales Centre, Syria
Headlines broadcasting the latest developments in Syria are now a daily occurrence, but how well do they convey the reality of life for the Syrian people at the moment?  Earlier this summer, Frances Murphy heard Fr Ziad Hilal SJ in conversation about the ‘crisis of humanity’ through which the Syrian people are living. Fr Ziad shared his personal experience of life in Homs and described the work of the Jesuit Refugee Service in Syria. ‘The media often give a bad image...
Houses of Parliament
The ways in which British political institutions have responded to uncertainty, debate and public opinion in recent days are fascinating examples of flexibility in governance. On International Day of Democracy, Fr Dermot Preston SJ, Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain, reflects on what we learned about the dynamics of power and consultation from last week’s headlines, and on how these same dynamics work in the Society of Jesus. The second week of September 2015 was an eventful seven...
Map of Europe
The economic complexities of the Greek crisis have attracted a lot of coverage in recent weeks, but it’s important to hold the financial detail alongside concern for the common good, says Patrick Riordan SJ. ‘The principles of solidarity, subsidiarity and the common good are helpful guides to appreciating the obligations on actors to behave responsibly in very complex situations.’ What can the notion of common good contribute to our understanding of the long drawn out...

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