Simon Barrow's blog

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.

Why I support the BBC journalists' protest

Why I support the BBC journalists' protest

These are incredibly tough times for quality journalism across Britain, and cuts at the BBC -- the country's flagship broadcaster -- are making things even worse.

Thinking differently about food

The horsemeat scandals which are the subject of enveloping media coverage in Britain at the moment (and which extend to 13 countries and 28 companies) point to far deeper issues about the structure of the food industry and the damage that its dominance by unaccountable corporate interests is doing in terms of health, hunger, nutrition, the environment, sustainable farming, animal welfare, food security, food sovereignty and more besides.

Money, church, freedom, state and slavery

It is not often that 120 or more people turn for a book launch these days. But what took place at St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church in Scotland's capital yesterday evening (15 February 2013) was no routine publishing party.