one hand fired the bullet another guided it away

A review of an intriguing sounding film – Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism.

It was 1978 and a Pole unknown to the Western World was elected Pope. To the Communist East, this event was as much of a surprise. Nevertheless, neither East nor West could have imagined just what an impact the outcome of that Papal election would have upon the world’s political balance.

Decades earlier, Stalin had dismissed the Church mockingly asking how many ‘divisions’ the Pope had at his disposal. On that October night in 1978, as the flashlights and cameras focused on the newly elected Pope as he greeted the crowds below him in St. Peter’s Square, the now dead Soviet dictator and his successors were about to have their answer.

A new film, Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism, has just been released. It charts the secret history of the struggle that intensified from the night of that Papal election.

Read the full review here

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a quality that surpasses excellent

K. V. Turley on Hilaire Belloc’s Hills and the Sea. When this article was first published, I was inspired to take the book out of the library. I did not regret it. It is a lovely work full of evocative imagery. As Turley notes, ‘Belloc’s ability to conjure up the physicality of what he wrote is remarkable’.

Belloc writes beautifully. It is not the “beauty” of writing trying to impress; it is never ostentatious. There is an altogether more subtle shading that springs from a deeper source. It comes from the writer’s heart not merely his head. The essay entitled Delft is a good example of this. Read it closely. It is deceptively simple, helped no doubt by how brief it is, and with a subject matter that appears to be of mild interest. It is a master class, however, in how to write of place and what is there—both seen and unseen. Or, take A Family of the Fens, a penetrating analysis of centuries of English history, both political and economic, told through the simple observation of one family’s legacy in an obscure rural location. Then there is the The Inn of Margeride, an exquisitely crafted piece packed full of incident and meditation; here Belloc turns the apparently mundane into something translucent.

Read the full article here

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there remained ghosts

K. V. Turley gives a short account of the life of Charlie Chaplin, an imperfect man, but also a man of great creativity and humanity.

Just more than 100 years ago, an English Music Hall artist was invited to California to take a screen test. On set, soon after, he was dressed in a shabby black coat, with a cane and a battered bowler hat; and, as the director shouted “action,” a screen legend was born. At the end of 1914, Charles Chaplin had made thirty-four “shorts” and was the most famous comic actor in Hollywood. By the end of the following year, he was the most famous man on the planet.

Read about the world’s most famous tramp here

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well-written hagiography should form part of the New Evangelisation

The Bible is the Holy Book but there are many holy books. Not all of them are worth your time but some might just be. K. V. Turley makes a few suggestions.

Reading can make a saint. The problem is, however, that the worthier the book, more often than not, the duller the read. How many accounts of holiness have we begun with the best of intentions, only to fling them aside in a fit of boredom before we reach for something less beneficial but so much better written? One can only hope for the day when the New York Times bestsellers lists are full of books that make their readers better people rather than just better entertained… Here, then, are a few suggestions of some good reads – in every sense.

Read his suggestions here


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My Writing Day

Today, no quotation; just a link – to The Guardian‘s My Writing Day page. There, you will find links to articles written by various writers in which they ‘describe their typical writing day’. Start reading the articles here.

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taking up the Sword of Truth requires more than just erudition: it calls for courage

In this post, K. V. Turley reviews reviews a most important book – Did Jesus Really Rise From The Dead? by Carl Olson. As KVT says, the faith stands or falls by the answer…

It has been out of fashion for some time but in Carl Olson’s Did Jesus Really Rise From The Dead? Questions and Answers about the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus we have an example of the return of old-style apologetics.

In the past, the Catholic faith had a plethora of robust defenders who took up their pen to explore, elucidate and express what Catholics believe. In addition, back then there was a more rigorous catechetical formation for many educated Catholics; the malaise of the 1960s & 70s had not yet struck. It is only in recent years that a new generation of Catholic apologists has emerged.

Read the full review here

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I had to nail it and do it really well

Don’t stop writing. Just don’t stop:-

Looking back, it helped that Paula Hawkins wrote The Girl on the Train with growing urgency and dread verging on panic – because that feeling seeped into her novel. The book, she says, “felt like the last roll of the dice” for her as a writer.

Read the full interview here

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