If there was criticism of Pope Francis’ decision to bring a dozen Syrian refugees to Rome in April 2016 – followed by a further nine that September – it took the form of claims that this was a token move, a mere drop in the ocean that is the migrant crisis on Europe’s doorstep.For Msgr Tony Figueiredo, a priest of the...

Pope Francis is a well-known soccer fan. His favourite team is San Lorenzo de Almagro, one of the most important teams in Argentina, and the Pontiff still keeps his membership card for the team.However, thanks to the efforts of an Irish priest, Pope Francis may find a new love for the GAA, with the Vatican putting together its own young Gaelic...

During the pre-paration of 2013’s McAleese Report, Maynooth historian Dr Jacinta Prunty met with a panel where one of the men involved asked about shaving the girls’ heads, one of the actions most commonly linked in the popular mind with Ireland’s Magdalen Asylums.“All I could think was that they were constantly buying...

“A hunger strike to death is a form of violence to one’s self and violence leads to violence,” wrote the then Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Basil Hume, to Derry’s Archbishop Edward Daly in April 1981, prompting a heated debate in these islands’ Catholic newspapers.After Bobby Sands died the following month, Dr...

When Fr Ciarán O’Callaghan CSsR gets up every morning and looks out from his bedroom window in Clonard Monastery he sees, just metres away, the tall and forbidding so-called peace wall that separates Catholics and Protestants in west Belfast.The wall, one of more than 40 such structures in Belfast and of well over 100 in the entire North, is...

“Everybody’s got a hungry heart,” says Christopher West, quoting Bruce Springsteen and observing in an echo of St Augustine’s opening observation from the start of his Confessions that “we all have a deep ache and hunger in our hearts for something”.All set for a speaking tour of Ireland early next month, West,...

What does the end of the world look like? Matthew, Luke, Timothy and the Book of Revelations all address this question in the Bible. Hollywood answers it with movies like World War Z, Deep Impact and I am Legend. Novelists portray this era in The Road, Z for Zachariah and Children of Men. For me the closest I...

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