7 February 2003
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‘Meanwhile,” wrote the philosopher Josef Pieper of the end of 1964, “the world continued on its course. Which course? – no one knew.” The end of 2020 is a bit like that as well: it has been the year when it emerged that nobody was really in control. Not the experts, who didn’t see the pandemic coming; not the politicians, who have struggled to know what to do; not even the new mega-corporations like Amazon and Google, whose profits have soared this year while the rest of the global economy has gone into a downward spiral.
Yet the Church, and Catholics, will certainly be part of shaping whatever comes next: in politics, culture and everywhere else. In this issue we profile two Catholic mothers: the first of whom has just become one of America’s most powerful judges, the second has raised one of Britain’s best-loved musical families. And we remember a whistleblower whose faith helped him to change banking culture.
But as Christmas approaches, it will also be a relief to stop thinking about the news and start thinking about what matters. Food, for instance – see Gertrude Clarke’s guide to Christmas baking and cooking on page 8. Christmas trees: Fr Lawrence Lew OP has an interesting recommendation on page 68, in the course of introducing a devotion which has never quite disappeared: the Holy Kindred. Eleanor Parker, in her latest piece on the customs of the season, reminds us of the strange tradition of “boy-bishops”.
And of course we have reports from both near – celebrating the Welsh martyrs; a remarkable find at Hadrian’s Wall; the work of Stella Maris – and far: the Catholics of Kyrgyzstan, who show that, hidden away from it all, the Holy Spirit continues to change lives. Enjoy the issue.