Politics and current affairs

Photo by Fateme Alaie on Unsplash
In an interview with Avvenire to mark Laudato si’ week (16-24 May 2020), Cardinal Michael Czerny SJ urges us to let the encyclical shape the way we think about the coronavirus crisis and find solutions to the fault lines it is highlighting. ‘Before being a “socio-environmental issue”, creation is a fundamental article of faith’, so how can a Christian view and love of the world, our common home, inspire change? This Laudato si’ week, celebrating the encyclical’s fifth anniversary, takes...
Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay
The question of how a loving, all-powerful God could have created a world in which so many people suffer is one with which people at all stages of belief have wrestled, and during the current pandemic it is being put into even sharper focus for many. ‘These questions have their place, even if they are condemned ultimately to fall short,’ says Mark Dowd as he surveys the different responses that he has encountered. ‘I tend to think of an innocent little child sitting on the bank of a river...
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‘The Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel’, as we read in Gaudium et spes. How do we interpret the signs of these extraordinary times? Cardinal Michael Czerny SJ asks us to consider whether, in our responses to the coronavirus pandemic, we are embracing the ‘saving logic’ of the gospel and all of its opportunities, or resigning ourselves to a ‘substitute logic’. The Covid-19 emergency is testing the...
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Questions about the source and execution of power are dominating political discourse, as the Supreme Court has now been asked to rule on whether the Prime Minister’s prorogation of Parliament was lawful. Patrick Riordan SJ draws on a long tradition of political theory to outline the different ways in which political power can be considered to derive from or be given to the populace. So much depends on a preposition. The slogan, ‘power to the people!’ calls for something to be given to some...
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The prospect of true peace is as bewildering and demanding as it is wonderful, says Theodora Hawksley. The same can be said of resurrection, and so the Easter story can speak daringly to us as we seek to understand what peacebuilding really looks like in a divided Britain. ‘Jesus’s greeting, “Peace be with you”, does not mean, “Let bygones be bygones”- so what does it mean? The results of the European elections told us something that we already knew: this country is deeply divided. Pro-...
From Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan
Theresa May has warned of ‘paralysis in Parliament’ in the event of her Brexit deal being rejected by the House of Commons on Tuesday 15 January, and called on the MPs who will be voting to support the deal ‘for the country’s sake’. But what does it mean for parliament to do what is for the good of the whole country? Patrick Riordan SJ draws on the philosophies of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Hobbes to help us think about how the Will of the People can be discovered and acted upon in any...
EU flag in Westminster
23 June marks the anniversary of the referendum in which the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union and, many would say, the beginning of a year of political turmoil, nationally and internationally. Beneath the headlines and amid the chaos, what has slipped through the collective net? James Hanvey SJ and Michael Kirwan SJ offer their thoughts.The idea and ideals of EuropeThe Brexit vote of June 2016 exposed a whole series of divisions between the constituent nations of the UK and...
Houses of Parliament
In 2010, Tony Carroll assessed what the result of the UK General Election said about the country and its future. As we find ourselves with another hung parliament in 2017, he considers how the two situations compare. Have the priorities and concerns of 2010 been replaced, or do we find ourselves in the same boat again seven years later? In May 2010, I wrote an article for Thinking Faith on the outcome of the UK General Election. The article was entitled Hanging in the Balance: The End of...
Polling station at church
Next month, British voters will make another trip to the polling station to cast their ballots in a General Election. Deciding who deserves your vote is never an easy matter and many people are finding it more difficult than ever to decide which party’s path leads towards the common good, Nicholas King SJ included. He explains why a new book might be the perfect tool to help ‘people of goodwill’ decide how to cast their vote. So they have called another election, and the reaction of...
Photograph of graduates in mortarboards
What are we to make of the educational divide that can be seen in the voting patterns in both the EU referendum and the American presidential election? Patrick Riordan SJ suggests that some serious questions need to be asked: ‘both recent votes reinforce the urgency of reflecting on how our education system may be failing to secure a public space for genuine political debate’. President-elect Donald Trump was right about one thing: that the outcome of the presidential race...

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