No, Dunkirk isn’t about Brexit

A great war film, but what does it mean?

On St Patrick and St Gildas, patron saint of immigration restriction

Ireland’s rapid and enthusiastic embrace of the new faith is impressive, in particular their attraction to the originally Egyptian and eastern Mediterranean idea of monasticism. Irish monks loved the austerity and self-inflected misery associated with the religious life, and the country’s harsh environment provided the perfect backdrop; the most extreme was Skelling Michael, off the coast of Kerry, an isolated mountain island that can only be reached on calm days (to a younger generation made famous in the closing scene… Read on

The Iraqi Christians fighting ISIS

From the Catholic Herald. Earlier this month allied forces in Iraq scored a spectacular victory when they drove the Islamic State out of the village of Badanah in the north of the country. Good news, one might think, except that what made this noteworthy was that for the first time in many years it was a Christian army fighting. As is fitting for a war often battled out on social media, the Nineveh Plains Protection Units (NPU) announced their… Read on

Why Catholics got blamed for The Great Fire of London

From the Catholic Herald print edition, September 9, 2016 At around 9pm on Saturday September 1, 1666 London baker Thomas Farriner went to bed after a day making dry biscuits for the Royal Navy. Farriner, who lived with his daughter, maid and manservant in Pudding Lane, had something of a chequered history. As a 10 year old he had spent time at Bridewell, a sort of borstal where youngsters might get an education, until eventually he was apprenticed and turned… Read on

Watch John Calvin deſtroy ye papiſts in one utterance

From this week’s Catholic Herald.  I ticked off another “thing to do before I die” last month when I attended the annual wine-tasting day in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which was the very image of la belle vie of rural France, apart from the four soldiers with machine guns (plus three policemen with handguns). France is swarming with heavily armed guys looking effortlessly cool as they defend us from the country’s endless supply of Islamist crazies, but the national emergency hasn’t affected… Read on

England’s forgotten founding father

From the Catholic Herald Athelstan: The Making of England Tom Holland £9.99/£3.09 on Kindle Of all the kings and queens covered in Penguin’s new Monarchs of England series, perhaps the least known is also one of the most important. The grandson of Alfred the Great, Athelstan was raised by his aunt Ethelfleda after his father Edward the Elder discarded his mother Ecgwynn to a convent to make a dynastic marriage… Read on

Why I regret Brexit

In this week’s Catholic Herald (out Friday) Well, that worked, and just as Britain was taken into the Common Market on a lie, so it will be taken out of the European Union on a lie; leave won with huge support in traditional Labour areas of the north, the midlands and Wales. Some of these towns, such as Boston, had had a big influx of eastern Europeans, but many had little immigration. More puzzling, too, many of these… Read on

Vikings and The Last Kingdom: how TV drama fell in love with bloodthirsty paganism

At the Catholic Herald: The Vikings are violent and uncouth, but for all that they are portrayed as being honest and earthy, authentic and fun-loving; the Christians in contrast are peaceful but also cowardly and hypocritical. The Church is accused of acquiring gold for monasteries out of sheer greed; their attitude to sex and celibacy is nonsensical; the Christian armies are weak and worthy of contempt, led by cowardly kings (in real life the Vikings disappeared for a… Read on

Is it appropriate for Pope Francis to accept the Charlemagne Prize?

At the Catholic Herald  

The new religion of the Silicon Valley elite

At the Catholic Herald  First the soft drinks manufacturer Pepsi demanded that the state repeal the law. Then Bruce Springsteen cancelled a gig there, followed by Ringo Starr. Various large, sharp-elbowed corporations have since piled in to protest, and Deutsche Bank has cancelled plans to expand its office in the state; this is a company that has a large office in Saudi Arabia, where women aren’t even allowed to drive, let alone choose which loo to use. Are… Read on