Culture and Society

Photo by Bill Williams on unsplash.com
Happy New Year! - I think it’s still not too late to hope!So, actually, how exactly do you turn water into wine?Just about this time a year ago, I was asked that question by a small boy at the back of a church a little way from here. He obviously felt that, being a priest, and having just preached on the topic I was supposed to know about these things.Playing for time, I asked him why he wanted to know and he said that he wanted to know because he wanted to be able to do it himself.‘Oh’, I said...
crib with crocodile
It was childish, I know, but…Many moons ago I worked in an office where the construction of a small, simple crib, placed on a narrow mantle-piece, was one of the marks of the upcoming Christmas. It was a traditional scene – Mary, Joseph, the Baby Jesus etc… You can probably visualise the regular cast of characters.But somewhere in its journey this particular crib had become home to a small plastic crocodile. The Crocodile – a small toy – had its origins in some long-forgotten game or display,...
Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool footballer prays on the pitch
“Blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.”I wonder if anybody here has been following the football. If you have, you will know that my team, Liverpool, haven’t really been doing all that well. In fact it would not be too much to say that this season so far has probably been the worst ever performance by a Liverpool team in the history of the Premiership. It has already cost our manager, Brendan Rodgers, his job.But what struck me was the reason that...
Pope Francis hugs a young man during a visit to a rehab centre
Each month, we share the Holy Father’s concerns for the world and for the spread of the Gospel. He entrusts his concerns to the Pope’s Global Prayer Network, the Apostleship of Prayer, and asks us to invite all people of good will to pray with and about these intentions. Here we are in December and, of course, we’re in the Christian season of Advent, so perhaps our prayer with the Pope might have an added dimension of hope and expectation so characteristic of this holy season! And there’s more...
God has a bigger plan for me than I have for myself
“I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness.”A few years ago, I walked into a Church and I found that there was a little service going on. So I sat down at the back and joined in. It was the reception into the Church of a young woman. It was a very nice ceremony and afterwards the people gathered for tea and biscuits in the presbytery. And I got to talk to her.Being – as you all know - the shy retiring sort, my first question was: “why did you want...
Pope Francis opens the Holy Door at Bangui Cathedral, L'Osservatore Romano
The Catholic Church throughout the world formally begins the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy today, 8 December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Pope Francis invites the whole Church to refashion itself as a place not of judgment or condemnation but of pardon and merciful love. “Perhaps we have long since forgotten how to show and live the way of mercy,” Pope Francis wrote in the document Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy) in which he announced the Jubilee Year. He...
Winter Sun from Unsplash.com
Prepare a way for the Lord,make his paths straight.Every valley will be filled in,every mountain and hill be laid low,winding ways will be straightenedand rough roads made smooth. And all mankind shall see the salvation of God.There were four of us in our noviceship - Matthew, Chris, Tony and myself. And in the summer of 1999, just after we had all been ordained and were about to be sent our separate ways, we all decided to have a reunion. And it happened that this was the time of a total...
Pope Francis kisses a baby on his way to his weekly audience in the Vatican.
           James Hanvey, University of OxfordGiven the media attention around the Catholic Church’s latest synod on the family, with its rumours of schism, plots, and the self-outing of a gay Vatican priest with his partner, one might think that the whole event was scripted by Umberto Eco or Dan Brown. But its effects, which reinforce much of the Church’s teaching on the family, may prove long-lasting.Despite reports saying otherwise, the...
How should we understand the Eucharist?  When instituting the Eucharist at Last Supper, Jesus didn’t ask his disciples to understand what they were doing, he only asked them to celebrate it faithfully until he returned.  When he offered them bread and said, “This is my body”, and then offered them wine and said, “This is my blood”, they would not have understood.  There must have been considerable confusion and bewilderment: How are we supposed to understand this?Their...
Credit Gotik Treffen
We share the Holy Father’s concerns for the world and for the spread of the Gospel. Each month he entrusts his concerns to the Apostleship of Prayer, the Pope’s Global Prayer Network, and asks us to invite all people of good will to pray with and about these intentions.This month, his concerns are:For the whole world, Dialogue: That we may be open to personal encounter and dialogue with all, even those whose convictions differ from our own.Near the beginning of his famous “Spiritual Exercises...

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