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All froth and nothingness Premium

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ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON tried it twice, in “The Death of the Old Year”, and “Ring Out, Wild Bells”, but neither has stood the test of time. “Auld Lang Syne” is perhaps


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PEOPLE OF faith cannot avoid the hard question posed by events such as the ferocious tsunamis, or tidal waves, which appear to have carried off as many as 50,000 people when they struck the coasts of


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FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION was won at great price in the West, and any talk of censorship is therefore uncomfortable. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor responded to the contro-versy over a play concerning t

Look to the future Premium

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There are some certainties about the coming year – a general election in Britain, further tensions in Iraq and Israel. Here, we present a guide to 2005 – including some surp

A charter for change Premium

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The coming year is likely to see reforms at the United Nations following a report into its failings. This will have ramifications across the globe


In the know Premium

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After 750 years of secrecy Britain becomes a different nation next week. But how far will the right to freedom of information really change our culture?

THIS coming

The year that was Premium

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Terrorism in Madrid and Iraq; 15 more EU members; Ratzinger on the role of women; Arafat died; Bush re-elected; Europe’s anti-Catholicism: farewell to 2004

Just befor

Secrets and spies Premium

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The Da Vinci Code and claims about the new cabinet minister, Ruth Kelly, have put Opus Dei in the headlines. What sort of organisation is it today?


Margaret Hebblethwaite Premium

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‘There is no grief like that of a mother

weeping for her children.’ HAPPY CHRISTMAS, Santa María. I say the words with dread, because Christ-mas Day 2003 was filled with the worst tragedy t

The cosmos in her womb Premium

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The timing of the feast of the Solemnity of the Mother of God is symbolic – it recognises an enduring desire to see Mary as patroness of the new year

IN AN Orthodox

Nicholas Pyke Premium

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‘Ruth Kelly does not seem a born risk- taker. But she could make a difference.’ OPUS DEI has been only too happy to claim the newest and youngest member of the Cabinet, Ruth Kelly, as a supporter, if

A gem worth saving Premium

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There is little more than a month left to stop the Macclesfield Psalter, a masterpiece of medieval religious art, from leaving Britain for a California museum

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Beckhams baptist Premium

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THE CHRISTENING of David and Victo-ria Beckham’s two sons seems to have caused no end of grief for at least two mem-bers of the clergy.

The Anglican Bishop of Cork, Paul Colton, this week d

Missed opportunity Premium

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WHAT A PITY the judges of a competition to design a new crib for Trafalgar Square chose to play safe. They picked a somewhat insipid portrayal of the Holy Family, rather than one of the more maverick

Horns of plenty Premium

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FORGET socks, soaps and hankies. The top Christmas gift for the person who has everything this year was – a goat.

The gift of a goat for a poor family in east Africa was the most popular in

Bienvenido al nuncio Premium

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ONE OF THE first people to offer his con-gratulations to Britain’s new nuncio, Arch-bishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, was his immediate predecessor and fellow-Spaniard, Archbishop Pablo Puente.

Marys place in salvation Premium

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John O’Donohue writes eloquently and poet-ically, as he always does, in his beautiful meditation on your Christmas cover-painting, The Madonna of the Pinks (“The look of love”, 18/25 December). But t

One nation under fire Premium

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America Right or Wrong Anatol Lieven

You don’t often hear talk of American nation-alism. You certainly rarely hear it from Amer-icans themselves. To Americans it is i

Clerics at the political centre Premium

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Nobody’s Fool: the life of Archbishop

Robin Eames Alf McCreary Hodder & Stoughton, £20

Hope the Archbishop: a portrait

Rob Marshall Tablet Bookshop price £15.30 Tel: 014


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intimacy, not least in the part he played in devising and even drafting the Downing Street Declaration of 1993. Whether Eames was wise to accept Major’s offer in 1995 to create him a life peer must r

Words from another world Premium

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All the Poems Muriel Spark

Carcanet Press, £9.99

In her introduction to this beguiling collec-tion of her poems, Dame Muriel Spark reminds us that she was a poet before she was a

The witch and the widow Premium

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Our theatre critic gives his verdict on the musical Mary Poppins and the Old Vic’s Aladdin

BROUGHT UP by parents who used the theatre as a treat, I have insisted on ta

A young man in a hurry Premium

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HOWARD HUGHES is still celebrated in washrooms throughout the English-speak-ing world. Wherever a conscientious janitor has put up one of those “Now Wash Your Hands” signs, there is

When imagination triumphs Premium

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WHAT conclusions can be drawn from a year spent listening to the radio? The most obvious is the one that applies to every other part of the modern media circus: “choice”, by and large

Vatican may abolish miracles for saint-making Premium

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POPE JOHN PAUL II is reported to be con-sidering a proposal to abolish miracles as requirements for sainthood. The claim comes from a highly credible source, Car-dinal Tarcisio Bertone of Genoa, who,

Pope urges the world to overcome evil with good Premium

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THE POPE called on all men and women of goodwill to “overcome evil with good” in his message this year for World Day of Peace, condemning poverty and conflict in Africa, violence between Israelis and

In Brief Premium

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Dupuis dies at 81. The eminent theolo-gian, Professor Jacques Dupuis SJ, has died in Rome aged 81. He suffered a cerebral haemorrhage on Monday night and died on Tuesday. A Belgian s

Church to dispel lingering racism Premium

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RACISM and racial segregation still exist within South Africa’s Catholic Church a decade after the end of apartheid, according to a report by an agency of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Confe

Church calls for bioethics watchdog Premium

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A NATIONAL forum including moral theo-logians, philosophers and ethicists should be established to debate major issues in the field of bioethics, Cardinal Cormac Mur-phy-O’Connor said this week. The

Cardinal weighs into censorship row Seasonal homilies focus on war and poverty Premium

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CHURCH leaders have used their Christ-mas sermons to criticise the failure of the West to bring about peace in Iraq and the Middle East and to end global poverty, while also appealing to the British

Oratory school wins interview row Premium

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ONE OF Britain’s best-known Catholic comprehensives has won its case in the High Court to interview potential pupils and their parents.

The London Oratory in Fulham, south-west London, soug

Paedophile priests laicised Still a star of wonder Premium

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From the Archive




LIKE EVERYONE in the congregation that night, two years ago, I was struck by the s