Towards the end of this illuminating book, Larry Siedentop describes a fourteenth century battle between two Christian monastic orders. The Dominicans and the Franciscans were mendicant orders, begging monks who had abandoned the comforts of the cloisters to preach among the poor.
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Friday 02 April 2010
According to Phillip Blond, there has been "a wholesale collapse of British culture, virtue and belief". It has led to " increasing fear, lack of trust and abundance of suspicion, long-term increase in violent crime, loneliness, recession, depression, private and public debt, family break-up, divorce, infidelity, bureaucratic and unresponsive public services, dirty hospitals, powerlessness, the rise of racism, excessive paperwork, longer and longer working hours, children who have no parents... seemingly immovable poverty, the permanence of inequality, teenagers with knives, teenagers being knifed, the decline of politeness, aggressive youths, the erosion of our civil liberties and the increase of obsessive surveillance, public authoritarianism, private libertarianism, general pointlessness, political cynicism and a pervading lack of daily joy". It is a dire litany, but in this book about "how the Left and Right have broken Britain and how we can fix it", Blond is confident that nearly everyone will accept this calamitous diagnosis: "When I say that British culture has collapsed, we - whatever our political beliefs - almost immediately recognise the truth of it." He is no less confident that the calamity can be reversed, if only his analysis is understood and acted on.
Monday 29 March 2010
Thursday 04 March 2010
Monday 01 March 2010
A respected Islamic scholar will publish a seminal fatwa tomorrow that unequivocally condemns terrorism and warns suicide bombers that they will “go to hell” for their attacks.
Friday 26 February 2010
The after-life is a pretty well-explored destination, both in the sense that, if most of the world's great faiths are to be believed, all of us end up there, and in that it has been the subject of some of the most enduring works of literature known to humankind. They include Dante's Divine Comedy, Milton's Paradise Lost, the Book of Job, Swedenborg's New Jerusalem and, juxtaposing traditional Christians evocations of heaven and hell with the modern era, James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
Monday 15 February 2010
Peter Thomson, Anglican minister and social activist, was noted for being a key influence on the young Tony Blair, a committed Christian socialist and a particularly irreverent reverend.
Friday 12 February 2010
Thursday 24 December 2009
Take Christ out of Christmas and all you are left with is M&S, some wag quipped this week. It is not, of course, true. Even for people with no religious faith there is something about this traditional festival that transcends the consumerist frenzy.
Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri: Ayatollah Khomeini's designated successor who fell out of favour with Iran's revolutionary leader
Thursday 24 December 2009
The most important turning point in the life of Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri came in the late 1980s, when the authorities in Iran brusquely ordered his picture taken down from mosques and government offices.
Tuesday 22 December 2009
Oral Roberts: Evangelist who pioneered the charismatic style that came to dominate American Christianity
Thursday 17 December 2009
Oral Roberts was one of the most remarkable religious figures to have appeared in North America in the 20th century. A faith healer and pioneer of a new, informal style of religious broadcasting that became fashionable in the 1970s, he was at the forefront of the charismatic movement that became a powerful, even dominant, force in mainstream Christianity during the 1980s and 1990s. The founder of Oral Roberts University and Faith City, a medical school and hospital complex at Tulsa, Oklahoma, he will be remembered as one of America's most enterprising and colourful religious entrepreneurs.
Thursday 10 December 2009
Pope Benedict XVI will preach to MPs and peers in Westminster Hall when he visits England next September, Vatican sources said today.
Thursday 03 December 2009
Speaker John Bercow's wife confessed today that she used to be an "argumentative, stroppy drunk" who had a series of flings and put herself in danger through making bad judgments.
Friday 27 November 2009
Where are you now and what can you see?
In my study, looking out at a very sodden garden. It is, however, brightened up by a winter-flowering cherry, which has suddenly broken out into intense white blossom.
Friday 13 November 2009
Werner Krusche was a bishop in the East German Protestant Church who clashed with the ruling SED, Communists as he sought to gain concessions for Christians in the German Democratic Republic, but was eventually credited for his part in advancing Germany's re-unification.
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