In terms of a public persona The Very Reverend John Dunlop is probably the nearest thing the Presbyterian Church in Ireland has to a Cardinal Archbishop. However, given the nature of Presbyterianism and its innate ‘mistrust of centralised power’ -  as he once put it -  the fact that Dr Dunlop  has stood out as a...

It was nearly midnight on a balmy mid-summer night a fortnight ago and a thousand or more people were streaming out of the last session that day of Clonard Novena in west Belfast.  A figure came forward in the semi-darkness and called out a greeting.For a moment I didn’t recognise him.  “I’m Kieran,” he said. It...

Young people live with one foot permanently in the virtual world. Watch any group of teens walking down the street and at least one or two are on their phones texting or having online chats. Through social media sites and the advent of tablets, smartphones and laptops, children are communicating, and even thinking, in new ways. However, every...

On September 1914, just a month after Britain had declared war on Germany, the 15-year old C.S. Lewis came up against a formidable opponent in the life of the mind, a man who was relentlessly logical, and who taught C.S. Lewis how to think as no one before had ever done. First, I’m going to tell the fascinating story of their encounter, and...

If, as he states a number of times during his interview with The Irish Catholic, Bishop Francis Duffy were not as open to the concept of learning as he is, it might reasonably be expected he would have by now become overwhelmed by events.It was just this past July that it emerged that the priest and teacher of 31 years’ standing with the...

Thousands drive past it every day oblivious to its drawing power as a sacred place with irresistible appeal for those who have already discovered it.Recently a prominent public figure visited and expressed surprise and regret at not knowing about it prompting one observer to reflect it must be Catholic Belfast’s “best kept secret...

It may seem a little coarse to speculate but if Paddy Power ever opens a book on who will be the next Doctor of the Church Blessed John Henry Newman may have the shortest odds.Newman’s reputation is growing all the time and now that he has been beatified his canonisation is increasingly likely owing to an increased volume of prayer to him....

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