The Roman Catholic Church is a constant source of controversy, as the ongoing outrage over clerical sexual abuse shows. But the Church also inspires great devotion and loyalty. The Spectator recently hosted a debate under the title ‘England Should be a Catholic Country Again’. Here, we reprise two passionate arguments for and against the motion.Yes, says Piers Paul Read. A Catholic England would counter the barren hedonism of our culture‘A weak priest inspires contempt,’ wrote François Renée de Chateaubriand in the early 19th century, ‘a vicious one excites abhorrence; but a good priest, meek, pious, without superstition, charitable, tolerant, is entitled to our love and respect.
For anyone trying to follow the journey begun by Abraham, conversion to Islam should recommend itself with compulsive force. It’s the most plausible of the three religions that look back to him. Near the root of Judaism is the conviction that a single people are chosen by God — a people, moreover, who are hard to join. At the core of Christianity is the belief that a man was God and rose from the dead.
There was total silence, apart from birdsong, when we entered the village of Kuru Karama. Every building had been burnt or destroyed. There were no villagers in sight, just two or three soldiers at a guard post dozing in the late afternoon sun. At length we found a group of young men and women. Did they live here? Yes. Had they been here on the day of the massacre? No, they knew nothing. Were they Christian or Muslim? Christian.
A few Saturdays ago a stocky 32-year-old went to mass at the quaintly named Gaylord Texan Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. Later that day he had an altercation with a 34-year-old Ghanaian. Records show that he threw over 1,000 punches at the older man during a half-hour scuffle. Countless bystanders witnessed the brawl but not one called the police.Why not? Because the violence was sanctioned by the World Boxing Organization.
Objections are raised to a cracking new children’s book on account of a dead German soldier and pictures of frostbite. But the young adore grisly bits, says Robert Gore-LangtonThere’s a cracking new children’s book out, Mission Telemark, by the award-winning writer Amanda Mitchison. It is set in the second world war and it’s based on the story of the Norwegian sabotage raid on Hitler’s ‘heavy water’ atomic plant in Telemark.
Rod Liddle fears he may be doomed — although the modern Church of Englandis reluctant to admit that anyone at all suffers eternal damnationNot so long ago, when I was making a film about some aspect of Christianity for Channel 4, I asked a Church of England bishop about the concept of heaven, what it was like up there, whether or not there was a Starbucks, would we all get our own rooms and is there WiFi etc.