Simon Barrow's blog

A 'religious pope': what difference it could make for the Catholic Church

A 'religious pope': what difference it could make for the Catholic Church

Unsurprisingly, the Jesuits are celebrating tonight that one of their own has become the first member of the Society of Jesus to be elected pope in the history of the Catholic Church.

Waiting on the Conclave: is laughter the best medicine?

Waiting on the Conclave: is laughter the best medicine?

As black smoke continued to rise above the Sistine Chapel earlier today, and as speculation bubbled in inverse proportion to the amount of information coming out of the Vatican about the papal conclave (that is, given the secrecy surrounding it, virtually none), journalists were faced with the task of finding something to do to 'keep the story alive'.

What do the cardinals in conclave stand for?

What do the cardinals in conclave stand for?

This morning the 115 cardinals begin their period in conclave, where they will choose the next pontiff of the 1.2 billion strong Roman Catholic Church, by celebrating Mass before beginning their deliberations in the Sistine Chapel.

But who are the men who will seek a common mind on the new leader of the largest Christian communion in the world?

Another church is possible: the example of Bishop Raúl Vera

Another church is possible: the example of Bishop Raúl Vera

BBC Newsnight finally offered a different perspective on the Catholic Church on the eve of the conclave to choose the next pope (11 March 2013), profiling a remarkable and inspirational Mexican bishop.

The next Pope, social change and liberation theology

It is widely assumed that the next pope, whoever it is, will be of a highly conservative disposition, because both Benedict XVI and John Paul II ensured that the College of Cardinals that now exists was shaped firmly in that direction.

Lent: experiencing discomfort with complacency and injustice

Lent: experiencing discomfort with complacency and injustice

As well as an opportunity to re-evaluate priorities, re-set our goals and pathways, and look at what we might fruitfully take up and usefully give up, the period of Lent in the Christian tradition is one of deepening our wrestling with the heart and with God (or prayer, as it is usually known).

Engaging church crises: how 'traditionalism' betrays a truthful tradition

Engaging church crises: how 'traditionalism' betrays a truthful tradition

Robert Pigott, Religious Affairs correspondent for BBC News, is an affable man who does a good job of compressing, translating and commenting on often complex religion stories to a general audience that increasingly lacks background knowledge and understanding on these issues.

Channel 4 Dispatches: benefit cuts and disabled people

Channel 4 television's respected 'Dispatches' series will carry a programme on Disability Living Allowance at 8pm tonight (Monday 25 February). It is entitled, perhaps rather sweepingly and unhelpfully, 'Britain on Benefits'. Nonetheless, it will be important viewing.

Cardinal O'Brien and beyond: the crisis in the Catholic Church

Cardinal O'Brien and beyond: the crisis in the Catholic Church

Britain's most senior Catholic leader, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, will now not take part in the conclave to chose a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, having been forced to resign early by allegations of "inappropriate conduct" made to the Vatican by several priests, both now retired and still serving.

Why David Cameron should have apologised for the Amritsar massacre

Why David Cameron should have apologised for the Amritsar massacre

Prime Minister David Cameron, in defending his decision to refuse an official apology for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in India (known popularly as the Amritsar massacre), declared that it would be "wrong" to "reach back into history" and apologise for the misdemeanours of British colonialism.