Last week I heard in the news that breast cancer death rates are down nearly 30 per cent since 1980, and although I of course think good thoughts about figures like these and the new wonder drugs and breaks-through we have from time to time, my happiness is tinged with very personal sadness.
For centuries, the tendency of Christian churches to uphold the political and economic order has been threatened by the socially radical nature of Jesus' teachings and much of the Bible. Nothing makes this more obvious than the Magnificat.
In the wake of the economic crisis, we've all been encouraged to be more realistic about debt. It's a message that will be of little use to those who are forced into the hands of loan sharks by desperation, poverty and the refusal of banks to give them credit. And for all the government's words about financial responsibility, they're letting the loan sharks get away with it.