Culture and Society

Blessed Oscar Romero
On Monday 24 March 1980 at 6.26pm, Oscar Arnulfo Romero was shot dead at the altar with a single marksman’s bullet in the middle of a Mass he was celebrating in the chapel of the cancer hospital where he lived.The next day an urgent telegram was received from London: “Supreme sacrifice of Archbishop Romero is climax of his peaceful struggle for poor and oppressed.  Will inspire all to continue his Christian witness.  Grieve with Church of El Salvador on loss of incomparable pastor....
One of the most consoling texts of the Hebrew scriptures is the Book of Job, which concerns itself with the theme of why bad things happen to good people - a question to which, intriguingly, it refuses to offer up simple, faith-based answers. The point of the Book of Job is his ultimate recognition of the inscrutable mystery of God's ways and in his penitent recognition of God's sovereignty.  While he cavils at God's providential ordering of men's affairs and beats his fists in vain...
Dancers at the 2015 migrants' mass at St George's Cathedral, Southwark
Jo Siedlecka from Independent Catholic News shares her experience of this year's Migrants Mass at Southwark Cathedral.There was a sea of colourful banners, flags and parasols at St George's Cathedral, Southwark on Monday as an international congregation of more than 1,500 people, many in their national dress, processed in for the annual Migrants Mass celebrating the Feast of St Joseph the Worker.Organised by London's three Catholic dioceses: Brentwood, Southwark and Westminster, with the ethnic...
Hurricane
To be a human being is to be endlessly distracted. We aren’t persons who live in habitual spiritual awareness who occasionally get distracted. We’re persons who live in habitual distraction who occasionally become spiritually aware. We tend be so preoccupied with the ordinary business of living that it takes a hurricane of some sort for God to break through.C.S. Lewis, commenting on why we tend to turn to God only during a hurricane, once put it this way: God is always speaking to us, but...
A Child's Baptism on Flickr by Joe Green
'Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.'What does it mean to be “baptised in the Holy Spirit”?Well, if you ask a theologian, they’ll tell you that it is just simply what it is to be a Christian – to have one’s entire life imbued with the Holy Spirit not just in the next Life, but in this one – to have the Holy Spirit live...
Destroyed tanks in Azaz Syria
When the uprising began in Syria, there was great hope and fear. Syrians of all colours knew reform was vital, but that it would come at a heavy cost. Some were hopeful and encouraged the reform movement, others, more fearful, resisted it. There was extremism and moderation in both camps.We Jesuits have always wanted to be present at that universal middle ground Syrians long for; but finding it is no easy task. Syrian Jesuits do not represent themselves, but the work of a particular group, '...
Retire-toi Satan by James Tissot
Fr Gerry Gallen SJ, Chaplain to St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, gave the following homily for the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A). The reading was Matthew 16: 21-27.Poor Peter! Last week he was the rock on which the Church was to be built; this week he’s compared to the devil himself! But misunderstanding and being misunderstood is all part and parcel of the cost of discipleship.The word discipleship comes from discipline and discipline is never warmly welcomed! Peter is...
An image of an Ark
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you......”   Rudyard Kipling's famous poem provides a key to understanding the story of Noah and the Ark as much as any scriptural commentary.That story tells of a  time when the whole earth was flooded and one man, Noah, had the foresight to build a boat on which he had placed a male and female of every living species on earth so as to save them from extinction. Like other bible stories this...
Image of Doves with text: Seek His Kingdom First
When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we ask for God’s kingdom to come, God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. But that can sound rather cold and impersonal. When we hear St Paul describing the effects of the Holy Spirit of God as love (charity), joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, it sounds more encouraging. And St Paul adds elsewhere in his letters humility and forgiveness, everything that is excellent and honourable and worthy of...
Prison Bars
In the Gospels Jesus embraces the most broken of his society and encourages us to do likewise. It is from this motivation that for two days a week I work as a Catholic Chaplain to HMP Brixton, a prison in South London. Brixton Prison has for a long time been a remand prison but was recently re-categorised to a category C local prison. This allows us to build long-lasting relations with the prisoners as it ensures that they are around for a longer time compared to the regime in a remand prison....

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