"Spiritual formation cannot be forced, only prepared for. Hence its means cannot be those of conquest, but only of facilitation and preparation." [Adrian van Kaam, Studies in Formative Spirituality, I, 2 (1980), 303]

Reflections 2015

The State of Political Islam Today

JMuslimBrotherhoodIn the wake of the so called Arab Spring protests, Islamist parties swept to power in several countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Now, with a few exceptions, that power has dissipated. What happened to those parties? Read more


Some Statements by Pope Francis over the Past Months

JPopeFrancis11Perfectly in keeping with tradition when he talks about abortion, divorce, homosexuality. But also open to changes in doctrine and practice. An anthology that intensifies the mystery. Read more


The Fiction that Religion and Science are in Conflict

JECKLUNDElaine Howard Ecklund, director of Rice University's Religion and Public Life Program, said 70 percent of self-identified evangelicals "do not view religion and science as being in conflict." Read more


Merton Exhibition at Columbia University

JThomasMertonwithcameraA good measure of Merton's identity is contained in the exhibition "Seasons of Celebration: Thomas Merton at 100," which opened Feb. 2 at Columbia University's Butler Library and runs through May 29. In a dozen glass cases, the exhibit profiles Merton the writer, interfaith dialogue partner, peace and racial justice activist, as well as the photographer, cartoonist, calligrapher and correspondent. Read more.


Rodriguez to Mueller: Loosen Up

JRodriguezCardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the head of a "kitchen cabinet" the Pope created to draw up reform proposals, said that Archbishop Gerhard Muller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who has opposed any loosening of Church rules on divorce, was a classic German theology professor who thought too much in rigid black-and-white terms. Read more.


Cardinal Kasper's Gospel of Mercy

JKasperAfter Benedict announced he was resigning, Cardinal Walter Kasper entered the conclave by a stroke of fortune: Cardinals older than 80 are barred from voting for a new pope, and Cardinal Kasper's 80th birthday was March 5 - one day after the cardinals began deliberating. He made it by just 24 hours. Read more


Cardinal Mueller's Sacramental Line in the Sand

JCardinalMuellerThe problem concerning members of the faithful who have entered into a new civil union after a divorce is not new. The Church has always taken this question very seriously and with a view to helping the people who find themselves in this situation. Read more.


Legalizing Euthanasia May Undermine End of Life Care

JEndoflifecareLegalizing euthanasia risks undermining people's access to loving, holistic care as they face the natural end of their life, many experts at a Vatican conference said. Read more


Africa's Hour

JAfricaIt has the highest number of converts to the Catholic faith. And it also has the highest number of martyrs. As at the dawn of Christianity. The past and present of a continent that has ever more influence in the Church worldwide. Read more


What ISIS Really Wants

JISISThe Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here's what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it. Read more


Divorced and Remarried Catholics Should No Longer be a Problem

JJeanPaulVescoThe Church's discipline concerning divorced and remarried Catholics has hurt and quite frankly shocked me for a long time, because of the unnecessary violence to which it subjects those concerned, with no distinction as to their individual situation. Read more


Letter to Young Muslim Women

JMuslimwomenYou won't know me but like you I too am British and Muslim. Some of your friends may have gone out to join ISIS and you are also considering going out too. Read more.


Walter Kasper on Pope Francis

JpopefrancisThe National Catholic Reporter (NCR) has surveyed Pope Francis' Revolution of Tenderness and Love, which was released last week, which portrays a man who is neither a theological star nor a lightweight, but a deeply mystical individual. Read more

Austen Ivereigh has written a new biography of Pope FrasncisThe Great Reformer. 

The Swastika, Ancient Symbol of Prosperity, Struggles to Overcome Nazis Connections

JSWASTIKAFor many around the world, the swastika is a sign of genocide and hatred, reviled for its association to the Nazi party. But for centuries before the Holocaust, and to this day, the swastika represented something very different for millions of Hindus, Buddhists and Jains across the globe. Read more


Living in the Presence of God

Kerrie Hide

DesertThomas Merton's poetic language draws us into a contemplative aware-ness of the sacredness of the present moment. Read more.



Thomas Merton had a Most Lively Relationship with God

JThomasMertonHermitageWhen Trappist monk Matt Torpey speaks of his mentor, teacher and friend Thomas Merton, the words flow like a gentle stream, befitting the memory of a Merton, a man well-known even in his own time and now recalled as perhaps the most influential Catholic writer of the 20th century. Read more For reviews of two new books clik here.


Who is the Pope?

Eamon Duffy

JPopeFrancis03A review of three books by the eminent historian. Read more

'It Seems Like Straw To Me"

David Tracyon Aquinas

JThomasAquinas02Seven hundred (and forty-one) years ago, on March 7, 1274, Friar Thomas Aquinas, aged 49, died on his way to the Council of Lyons. Read more


The Different Faces of Islam

JMuslimmanTo some people, even when they deny lumping all Muslims together, the attacks on Jan. 7 and 9 revealed the true face of Islam: violent and intolerant. They said the same thing last summer when the world was terrified by the discovery of the barbarity of the Islamic State. They readily quote bellicose verses from Quran to prove their point. The debate would thus seem to be settled. Read more


Aquinas and the 'Secular' State

JThomasAquinasThere are many views on the position of religion in the contemporary state. Some regard religious belief as evil and to be discouraged; some say religion is an entirely private matter, to be practised by consenting adults in private; some see it as a potential glue for our society; and some would allow the imposition of religious law. Read more