Catholicism

Why I changed my mind about Catholicism

21 December 2019 9:00 am

I grew up in a traditional English family, surrounded by cousins, chivvied by aunts, presided over by my grandmother, who…

The Pope is wrong to change the Lord’s Prayer

22 June 2019 9:00 am

Is the pope a Catholic? You have to wonder. In the old days, a pope’s remit was modest: infallible, but…

Portrait of Franco as Generalissimo

Spain has effectively obliterated Franco’s memory

24 February 2018 9:00 am

Spanish restaurants in Germany are relatively rare, but not nearly as rare as biographies of General Franco. So when the…

Gerry Adams: from jail to the Dail

4 November 2017 9:00 am

When I recently asked a sardonic Northern Irish friend what historical figures Gerry Adams resembled, the tasteless reply came back:…

‘The Incredulity of Thomas’, by Caravaggio. (c.1603). It is only in St John’s Gospel that Thomas is portrayed as unbelieving

A Muslim’s insights into Christianity

28 October 2017 9:00 am

I’m not a critic, I’m an enthusiast. And when you are an enthusiast you need to try your best to…

By Patten or design?

22 July 2017 9:00 am

My old friend Richard Ingrams was said always to write The Spectator’s television reviews sitting in the next-door room to…

The many, many resting places of St Thomas à Becket

28 May 2016 9:00 am

A man in full A relic said to contain a fragment of St Thomas à Becket’s elbow arrived from Hungary for…

Equipped for life with a copy of Thucydides

28 May 2016 9:00 am

‘What distinguishes Cambridge from Oxford,’ wrote A.A. Milne in 1939, is that nobody who has been to Cambridge feels impelled…

Let’s vote ‘in’ to renew the EU, says Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor

7 May 2016 9:00 am

There is more to the idea of Europe than narrow economic considerations. The Remain side needs to say so

St Paul (detail) by the Byzantine Master,St Sophia Cathedral, Kiev

Following Jesus’s followers

26 March 2016 9:00 am

In his new book Apostle Tom Bissell has an advantage over writers who go looking for Jesus: he can start…

Brute force: St Peter’s internal elevation

The embarrassing story of Scotland’s most important 20th century structure

27 February 2016 9:00 am

Finding St Peter’s is not straightforward. I approach the wrong way, driving up a pot-holed farm track between a golf…

Pretentiousness isn’t such a crime

20 February 2016 9:00 am

Aversion to pretentiousness was probably an English trait before Dr Johnson famously refuted Bishop Berkeley’s arguments for the immateriality of…

John Irving spoilt my Christmas

23 January 2016 9:00 am

This novel, John Irving’s 14th, took the sheen off my Christmas, and here are the reasons.   The comments on…

Map of the Island of Utopia, book frontispiece, 1563

Even Corbyn would find Thomas More’s Utopia too leftwing

2 January 2016 9:00 am

Thomas More’s 1516 classic is a textbook for our troubled times, says William Cook

Was Éamon de Valera Ireland’s Franco?

14 November 2015 9:00 am

A highlight of this year’s Dublin Theatre Festival was the Rough Magic Theatre Company’s production of The Train, a musical…

The people who really need the Pope's help

26 September 2015 8:00 am

On Tuesday, Pope Francis set foot in the United States for the first time in his life. His plane touched…

The city became cacophonous with bells: a detail of Claes Visscher’s famous early 17th-century panorama shows old London Bridge and some of the 114 church steeples that constantly tolled the death knells of plague victims

Shakespeare's London: where all the world really was a stage

26 September 2015 8:00 am

Sam Leith on the year 1606, when plague and panic were rife — and all the world really was a stage

A Gothic horror story of quicksands, riptides and rituals

29 August 2015 9:00 am

This is a muddle of novel (originally published last year by Tartarus Press in a limited edition), though there are…

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is greeted by Pope Francis during the Ordinary Public Consistory at St. Peter's Basilica in February (Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty)

Benedict XVI leaves Rome to deliver a coded message to his supporters

11 July 2015 9:00 am

Quietly, discreetly, the Pope Emeritus is offering a different vision to that of Pope Francis

Boccaccio and Petrach

The constant inconstancy that made Italians yearn for fascism

11 July 2015 9:00 am

Jan Morris on the inconsistency and paradox that has characterised Italian thought over the centuries — and the desperate search for certainty

2067: the end of British Christianity

13 June 2015 9:00 am

England’s churches are in deep trouble

Anita Dobson as Queen Elizabeth I in ‘Armada: 12 Days to Save England’

BBC2's Armada has something for everybody - including three yummy female historians

30 May 2015 9:00 am

It has been a while since the BBC really pushed the boat out on the epic history documentary front. Perhaps…

Social comedy Peruvian-style

25 April 2015 9:00 am

Mario Vargas Llosa likes to counterpoint his darker novels with rosier themes: after the savagery of The Green House came…

Why Pope Francis could be facing a Catholic schism

11 April 2015 9:00 am

It’s not just Vatican infighting any more. Pope Francis has a potential schism on his hands

Why wasn’t there more about the other faiths over Easter on the BBC?

11 April 2015 9:00 am

There was no shortage of Easter music and talks across the BBC networks with a sunrise service on Radio 4…