Catholicism

Chris Patten: ‘wearing red feathers (and a Hula-Hula skirt)’

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…

Inside the Sagrada Família: Gaudí was fascinated by the shapes of shellfish and pebbles, the branches of trees and light on a spider’s web

Does it matter whether Gaudí’s masterpiece is ever finished?

3 June 2017 9:00 am

In his biography of Gaudí, published in 2001, Gijs van Hensbergen opined that ‘we should never try to finish the…

My father, the gun-toting Catholic priest

27 May 2017 9:00 am

This is one of the most remarkable, hilarious, jaw-droppingly candid and affecting memoirs I have read for some time —…

The Benedict option

15 April 2017 9:00 am

By embracing their minority status, Christians can revive their faith

Architectural Mecca: Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp, by Le Corbusier

Vatican II gave carte blanche to architecture’s wild men, with overwhelming results

15 April 2017 9:00 am

In the 1960s, the Catholic Church gave carte blanche to architecture’s wild men, says Jonathan Meades, with overwhelming results

Self-portrait

David Jones – the 20th century’s great neglected genius

1 April 2017 9:00 am

When Stravinsky visited David Jones in his cold Harrow bedsit, he came away saying, ‘I have been in the presence…

George Fox, founder of the Quakers, was no fanatic, but a practical man of God. He is likened to St Francis of Assisi for his ‘charistmatic blend of literalness and freedom’

A century of holy heroes — from Thomas More to George Fox

25 March 2017 9:00 am

The Reformation is such a huge, sprawling historical subject that it makes sense, in this the 500th anniversary of Martin…

‘Boy falling from a window’, 1592, Italy, Naples (possibly)

The key to the Italian Renaissance lies in the home

11 March 2017 9:00 am

There have been many explanations for what happened in the Italian Renaissance. Some stress the revival of classical antiquity, others…

It’s commendable that Radio 4 continues its tradition of the Lent Talks

11 March 2017 9:00 am

Perhaps surprisingly, in these secular times, Radio 4 keeps up its annual (and very Reithian) tradition of holding a series…

Why more and more priests can’t stand Pope Francis

14 January 2017 9:00 am

Questions are increasingly being asked about the Pope’s judgment and state of mind

The Streatham portrait, thought to be the best likeness of Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey — a quintessential Tudor

14 January 2017 9:00 am

It is easy to see why the bare century of the Tudor dynasty’s rule has drawn so much attention from…

Mrs Benson and her three sons, 1884

There were none so queer as the Bensons

12 November 2016 9:00 am

The Benson family was one of the most extraordinary of Victorian England, and they certainly made sure that we have…

Embroidery: the great British art form

8 October 2016 9:00 am

For much of the Middle Ages, especially from 1250–1350, ‘English work’ was enormously prized around Europe from Spain to Iceland.…

Why are so many composers drawn to the Stabat Mater?

1 October 2016 9:00 am

Music likes to tell the same story over and over again. This is part of its tradition but even individual…

Chesterton’s fence – and the idiots who rip it out

10 September 2016 9:00 am

There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a…

At times utterly gripping: Crystal Pite at the Edinburgh International Festival reviewed

27 August 2016 9:00 am

Crystal Pite, the Canadian dancemaker who combines intellectual, emotional and physical intelligence in rare degree, is classically trained, but her…

The devil’s in the detail: from ‘The Last Judgment’ triptych

The enduring mystery of Hieronymus Bosch

13 August 2016 9:00 am

To call Nils Büttner a killjoy is perhaps a little unfair, but not very. The professor at Stuttgart’s State Academy…

Portrait of Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach

Martin Luther: one man who changed the world

11 June 2016 9:00 am

After Luther, the Christian world would never be the same again. David Crane on the bruising, paradoxical, charismatic, appalling Augustinian monk from Mansfeld

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…