Culture and Society

Older woman holds her head in her hands - by Christian Newman on unsplash
This Sunday is Christmas day, a day when, by long tradition, all over the world, Christians wake up happy – thankful for all of the good things they have been given in life. Not just the good things they have been given this morning, but all of the good things they have received from God’s hand throughout their lives. And thankful most especially for the people they have been given to love and people who have been given to love them. This is a day for rejoicing in all that God has...
Andrew Garfield with Ben
In November 2014, I was putting my cereal bowl on the trolley at the end of the (silent) breakfast at St Beuno’s when Ben, the Assistant Chef, sidled up to me, inclined his head towards one of the retreatants and whispered, ‘Father Roger, is that Spiderman in the dining room?’  ‘Don’t tell anyone, Ben!’ was the reply. Andrew Garfield, the star of two Spiderman films, supporting actor in ‘The Social Network’ and the lead in Scorsese...
Two hands holding scrabble letters that spell forever: Photo by Gabby Orrcutt
“Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come.”Do you believe in love at first sight?When I was at college I had a friend called Mark. And, one evening, we went out to dinner with a group of other students. At the dinner he met a young lady called Laura and they seemed to get on very well together. And, as we walked home, he told me that he had fallen in love with her. This was the woman for him, there would be no other. They would get married, live...
Closing session of GC36
And unexpectedly, it is over.All votes are cast. All documents written. All jobs that were complete-able are complete. We suddenly find ourselves on the last day, with a last Mass this evening and tonight the goodbyes will begin.We only knew it yesterday.It is slightly unreal. I will see some of the Jesuits from the Aula next week in London; some I will never see again. We are pilgrims on the road, creating community as we travel, breaking and re-creating communities at the next cross-roads,...
Fr Provincial (right) in conversation with other delegates at GC36
I have an armed guard outside my bedroom. Two soldiers and an armoured car.At first I thought that it might be to protect the Brexit Provincial from the hordes of angry Roman Pro-Europeans, but I was assured that this was not the case and this strategy was part of a generally heightened security around Italy following the terrorist attacks in France and Germany. For the last five weeks, the Italian Army has been sitting under my first-floor window, an impressive presence, amiably restricting...
Group CEO Sleepout - a picture of the group
“Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection”.You should always meet your heroes; true heroism requires the reality test. That is why Thomas needed to put his fingers into the holes in Jesus’ hands. The ultimate things in life – and death – can only be faced with the confidence of a tested truth. And, as it happens, I met one of mine this week. I was doing a sponsored sleep-out for a homeless charity at Lord’s cricket ground. (When I was a teenager, my...
One human family and refugees welcome banners
As the days really shorten and darken in the nations of Britain and of the northern hemisphere, the monthly Universal Intention of the Holy Father, commended to the church though his Prayer Network, keeps us mindful of the awful suffering of refugees, many of whom have come to these nations to escape persecution and violence. We are invited, through prayer and reflection, to grow in compassion for all displaced people, most of whom experience great need and pain. We have a powerful reminder of...
'Crimson Tide': a taut, claustrophobic thriller
The late Tony Scott was a movie director who was somewhat overshadowed by his more acclaimed Oscar-winning film-maker brother, Ridley Scott; but the corpus of Tony’s movie work, if more populist, is not slight. 'Top Gun', with Tom Cruise, was Scott’s breakthrough movie; and others ( e.g. ‘Enemy of the State’ and ‘Déjà Vu’) are certainly worth an evening of popcorn and thoughtful entertainment.My favourite Tony Scott movie is a taut, claustrophobic...
Two groups of young men gathered in a huddle
The first time I ever read this Gospel in Church, it was when I was working in the Caribbean. And it was to a youth Mass in a place called Albouystown - a very bad part of Georgetown in Guyana - a rough area, full of poverty, disease, violence and drugs.So, I read them the Gospel and I asked the young people to think of an image of what it would be like for Jesus to walk into their town and into their lives, the way He walked into Jericho and into the life of Zacchaeus.They thought for a bit...
Pope Francis addresses GC36
After a concert at Carnegie Hall, the wonderful comic pianist, Victor Borge, had an unexpected visitor to his dressing room: a Secret Service agent for the US Vice President, who had been in the audience that night.The Secret Service man said: “The Vice President will be with you in 30 seconds, and you can ask him anything you like.”This caught Borge off-guard… ask anything at all??With such a blank agenda, Borge found that he was fixating on one question… “Mr...

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