Britain’s very public grief: How the loss of Princess Diana changed our response to death. In the summer of 1997 I was – like many people at the time – more than a little intrigued by Princess Diana. My day began with scanning the papers, and they were brimming with stories about Diana. Like many women, I sympathised with her over her problems with her ex-husband, her difficulties with the former in-laws, and her desire to be the best possible mother to her two young sons.
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The complexity of adulthood inevitably puts to death the naiveté of childhood. And this is true too of our faith. Not that faith is a naiveté. It isn’t. But our faith needs to be constantly reintegrated into our persons and matched up anew against our life’s experience; otherwise we will find it at odds with our life. But genuine faith can stand up to every kind of experience, no matter its complexity.
One year ago, virtually everyone who knew him was stunned by the suicide death of the most prominent American Hispanic theologian that we have produced up to now, Virgilio Elizondo. Moreover, Virgil wasn’t just a very gifted, pioneering theologian, he was also a beloved priest and a warm, trusted friend to countless people.
Joy is an infallible indication of God’s presence, just as the cross is an infallible indication of Christian discipleship. What a paradox! And Jesus is to blame. Like any loving parent, God wants his children to flourish in their lives, to make the sacrifices necessary to be responsible and altruistic, but not to see those sacrifices themselves as the real reason for being given life.
Yes, our lives, with all their tensions, restlessness, youthful immaturities, adult depressions, cold lonely seasons, times of doubt, times of desperation, breakdowns, and occasional irresponsible exuberance will surely be marked by flirtations and encounters that seem to exhibit desires that are not for the bread of life. But, they are, ultimately, and one day they will find and know their full consummation.
“To whom else shall we go? You have the message of eternal life.” Peter says these words to Jesus. But they are spoken in a very conflicted context: Jesus had just said something that upset and offended his audience and the gospels tell us that everyone walked away grumbling that what Jesus was teaching was “intolerable”.
There is a well-known quote from US children’s television host, Fred Rogers, which often circulates on social media in the wake of horrific events: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.”
This general election campaign was supposed to be about Britain leaving the European Union – Brexit – but was instead dominated by security issues, where Theresa May’s Government had a lot of explaining to do. Now Brexit looms large, with the opening negotiations only days away. Yet for all the talk, the issues are not much clearer.
The Tablet Interview - Once a Catholic... screenwriter and renowned TV producer Jimmy McGovern talks to Peter Stanford. He might have lost his faith, but as the Liverpudlian scriptwriter tells Peter Stanford, his stories reflect a deep and sympathetic fascination with Catholicism.
How is belief different from faith? In normal, everyday parlance to say that we believe something to be true means that we are able to square that truth with our imagination, that is, we are able to somehow circumscribe it imaginatively so that it makes sense to us.
“In a highly secularized country, theology has a capacity to listen to contemporary requests and to enter into dialogue with society,” he says, noting the academic exchanges between theologians and specialists in other discipline.
It is reasonable to interpret the natural world as a revelation of the divine – its very rationality in particular – but God’s Creation was not a scientific moment, and Br Consolmagno warns against treating it as such. Arguing from the Big Bang to theism, or indeed to intelligent design, is unsound.
Unlocking the potential of pupils for whom English is not their first language is often a daunting challenge for teachers. But with care and good preparation, miracles can be achieved. Schools are under huge pressure from a dramatic rise in the number of children from European migrants’ families, official figures show, and many teachers feel unprepared to teach children with English as an Additional Language (EAL).
In his Easter reflection he blamed the scandals within Catholicism as well as “judgmentalism” for causing people to reject faith. “We can be so judgemental and hurtful towards those whom we decide have failed and those who drift outside our self-made ideas of respectability,” he said.
They will not see the Paschal season through and have been deprived of the resurrection and joy of Easter Sunday.What is there left for hope in the wake of such an event, a tragedy that could so easily inspire vengeful thoughts in those confronted with such evil that God has allowed to be committed against his own? What fragment of joy is there to be found in this infernal scene of dereliction?
As I sipped on my tea at a mentoring session last week, a long term colleague and friend posed a question: "How Can I Be A Great Leader?!" I gave the question some more thought - with seven words he had really got my mind racing! I finally responded: "Leadership isn't about being great. It's about enabling others to be great."
Babies first laugh when they are between two and six months old. This is triggered by surprise in an environment in which they feel safe: think peek-a-boo. Even congenitally deaf and blind children laugh, suggesting that the ability to laugh is something we are born with rather than learn from the behaviour of those around us.