Ian Ker

The everlasting bonfire

This splendid book of articles, essays and reviews, some published for the first time, begins with a long, masterly piece on the unfashionable doctrine of Hell, the best thing in the whole book. Having been taught about Hell by the monks of Ampleforth in the 1950s, Piers Paul Read asks, ‘Why was damnation dropped from Catholic preaching in the last decades of the 20th century when a monk from Ampleforth, Basil Hume, was Arch- bishop of Westminster?’ If there is a consistent theme in this book, it is the sense that what Read learned at Ampleforth and its prep school...

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