Politics and current affairs

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...
Map of Armenia and Turkey
Pope Francis’ referral earlier this year to the Armenian ‘genocide’ provoked ‘disappointment and sadness’ in Turkey, where such an interpretation of the events of 1915 is refuted. Why is the use of that word by the pope and others such a source of distress in Turkey?  Jean-Marc Balhan SJ unpacks the historical and contemporary context of the Turkish reaction. Many were astonished at the reaction from the Turkish authorities when, on 12 April, Pope Francis...
House of Commons
‘Election campaigns are strangely bad times to try to fix things. The day after is a pretty good time to start.’ So what needs to be fixed, and where do we start?  Anna Rowlands argues that the General Election campaign and result highlight the need for a renewal of the public realm. It is vital that the state, market and civil society all engage in a truly participatory politics. On Monday 4 May I was amongst a crowd of 2,000 people in Westminster Central Hall in London....
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...
Photo of Zayn Malik
In an eventful afternoon, One Direction lost one of their members and the BBC bid farewell to a controversial presenter.  Frances Murphy wonders whether Zayn Malik and Jeremy Clarkson would choose the way of Christ or the way of Lucifer if they engaged in Ignatius’s Meditation on the Two Standards. Entertainment news editors must feel as if Christmas came early this year – nine months early, to be precise, as two big stories broke on the Feast of the Annunciation.  On...
Portrait of Richard III
2012 saw the startling discovery in Leicester of the skeleton of King Richard III, who was defeated by Henry Tudor and killed in battle at Bosworth Field in 1485.  On Thursday 26 March, his remains will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral. Jane Hellings asks how kindly Richard has been treated by popular history and wonders what the Catholic king would make of his Protestant burial. Richard III is best known to us as the eponymous protagonist of Shakespeare’s shameless...
Photo of Elton John by Enigma63 at flickr.com
Elton John has been sharply critical of recent comments about family life made by fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana. The musician's campaign to boycott the clothing label has since generated a media storm. The whole affair is an example of a worrying new phenomenon of digital puritanism, says Tim Byron SJ.  What would St Ignatius have to say about the vitriol that has been on display this week? Multimillionaire fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana gave an interview last week...

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