Hidden Joys; A Sonnet for the Visitation

Malcolm Guite

The feast of the Visitation, on the 31st of May, celebrates the lovely moment in Luke’s Gospel (1:41-56) when Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was also against all expectations bearing a child, the child who would be John the Baptist. Luke tells us that the Holy Spirit came upon them, that the babe in Elizabeth’s womb ‘leaped for joy’ when he heard Mary’s voice, and it is even as the older woman blesses the younger, that Mary gives voice to the Magnificat, the most beautiful and revolutionary hymn in the world. There is much for the modern world to ponder in this tale of God’s blessing and prophecy on and from the margins, and i have tried to tease a little of it out in this sonnet. I am grateful again to Margot Krebs Neale for her inspiring image, and , as always you can hear the…

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The Wedding at Cana

All Along the Watchtower


The second of the mysteries of light when praying the Rosary is the wedding of Cana. I want to share some thoughts which have come to me over the years as I meditate on what St John tells us.

St John is as much poet as evangelist – or perhaps I should say that for me, the best way of understanding Scripture is often through poetry. Sometimes we read texts as though they were simply words on paper, not always taking in the notion that even what seem to be mere ‘facts’ are also ripe with interpretative material; like all the Evangelists, St John is a theologian – he asks the question, what is it that the facts signify? Jesus had taught in parables, and when the Spirit came on the Apostles, they understood that the sort of symbolism Jesus had used was a good way of getting the…

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Gospel for Corpus Christi Year C

All Along the Watchtower

loavesfishesLuke 9:11-17

Just as God fed the children of Israel in the wilderness, so here Jesus feeds the people. The five loaves should be understood as the five books of Moses, St Augustine suggests, whilst St Ambrose thinks they represent the five senses of the body. This bread is sanctified bread, prefiguring the Eucharist. It is like the Mystical Word of God, and can be multiplied as many times as is necessary to feed the people of God. Christ’s gifts may seem as small as a few loaves, but they are in reality very great and there is enough, and more than enough, for all who need them.

St Ambrose also comments on the order of the mystery. First comes the healing of wounds through the remission of sins. Then the nourishment of the heavenly table abounds, although this multitude is not yet refreshed with stronger food – that will come…

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Actions speak louder than words when it comes to abortion

Catholicism Pure & Simple

Published by kind permission of the Editor, Catholic  Voice Ireland.

by  Deacon Nick Donnelly

I come from a very pro-life Catholic family, which in part is due to my brothers and I being born very premature, and a brother and sister dying just after birth. Since a young boy I have been very aware of the preciousness and the sanctity of human life. My own two children, Gabriel and Ariel, died in the first trimester and I’ll never forget seeing their hearts beating on the ultrasound screen at seven weeks gestation. One of the reasons why I love the Catholic Church is because of her unambiguous defence of the sanctity of the lives of pre-born babies, expressed in Vatican II crystal-clear statement, ‘abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes’(Gaudium et Spes, 51).

The Church rightly calls the murder of one baby through medical abortion an ‘unspeakable crime’, but what…

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Are Atheists More Moral Than Christians?


heaven and hell

It is sometimes argued that since Christians do good and avoid evil out of, respectively, a desire for heaven and a fear of hell whereas atheists do good because it is good and avoid evil because it is evil therefore atheists are more moral than Christians. This is one of these arguments which is tremendously persuasive so long as one resists the temptation to analyse it. There are, I think, two strands to be picked out here. Firstly, how do we know what is good and what is evil? Secondly, even granting that these categories are pure products of unaided ratiocination are virtuous atheists motivated by reason alone?

Those of us who live in Western societies even if they are relatively new creations, like the USA and Australia, are the products of a continuous tradition of moral and ethical thinking which goes back for  comfortably over a thousand years. As…

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Fatima and Fr. Dollinger: A Response

Kevin J. Symonds

I read with interest the recent article on One Peter Five about a phone conversation between Dr. Maike Hickson and Fr. Dollinger on Sr. Lúcia, the Second Vatican Council and the third part of the secret of Fátima. Hickson states that Fr. Dollinger, a friend of Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI, was told by Benedict that there was more to said part of the secret that the Vatican has not published. Allegedly, the “unpublished” part talks about a “bad Council” and a “bad liturgy.”

Having studied Fátima over the years, this topic is of much interest to me and I would like to write about some things that are perplexing from Fr. Dollinger’s claim.

To begin, it must first be stated that there is no novelty in Fr. Dollinger’s claim. As was noted by Dr. Hickson in her article, his claim has been available to an English-speaking audience for several years…

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