• Faith and Life,  Scripture

    Prophetic Questions

    Recently I have been reading one or two of the Prophets of the Old Testament, often referred to – by those who know about these things – as ‘the minor Prophets’. In particular, I’ve been having a look at Malachi and Zechariah. We sometimes think these ancient books have nothing pertinent to offer us, overlooking them in favour of the more ‘popular’ Old Testament writings; I’m not so certain this is always the case, and I find they can indeed offer us something worthwhile. Malachi was writing sometime around 500 BC, at a time when they was a general feeling of weariness for doing good, with the perception that those…

  • Faith and Life,  Mother of God,  World View

    If

    Each day the news about the war in Ukraine seems to worsen. Rather than showing any evidence of getting better, it all just seems to escalate further as time goes on. It is hard to believe that in 2023, a terrible war of aggression is raging within Europe, and with no sign of a resolution in sight. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, is acutely aware of this war and of the terrible potential for destruction which it holds; and for this reason, he asks us over and over to pray hard for peace, reminding the Church and the world of the very real power of prayer. The costs of this…

  • Church Life,  Faith and Life

    Confessed Out

    For several years now, I have noticed something strange happening when it comes to Confession. Confession is that Catholic thing where we (usually) go into a little wooden cubicle in the Church and verbally confess our sins to a priest, sitting behind a screen. Although this practice seems to be a cause of some hilarity for many outwith the Church and – more recently – the subject of heated discussion in some places, still it is a practice Catholics take fairly seriously. Or at least, we did. And that is really the nub of the matter, because fewer and fewer Catholics are participating in this practice as time goes on.…

  • Arts and Literature,  General,  World View

    Scottish Catholic Magazine

    For many years, the Catholics of Scotland had access to a national Catholic newspaper and from time to time across the years, I wrote the odd article which they printed. The pandemic and all that came with it proved to be the death of that newspaper, which was sold primarily through parishes across Scotland – and of course, the lockdown meant these all closed for a very long period. Consequently, I was delighted some time go to learn that we were to have a new national publication, to be called ‘The Scottish Catholic’. Perhaps best of all, in my view, was that this would be a monthly publication in magazine…

  • Faith and Life

    Without Faith

    I was speaking yesterday with a man whose family has suffered a number of close bereavements. Toward the end of the conversation, he said “for people without faith, I don’t know how they would get through this”. In this, he echoed the very same sentiment which a friend of mine has verbalised to me on a few occasions. Faith is a curious thing. It does not protect us from experiencing the trials and tribulations of life, but it does give us a very particular prism through which we both see and approach those moments which come to every single one of us. Christ did not promise that faith in Him…