The shrillness of Dr Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens might suggest that atheists have little grasp of philosophy and less of history, but at least Theodore Dalrymple can honestly appreciate what he he doesn't believe in.

The thinness of the new atheism is evident in its approach to our civilization, which until recently was religious to its core. To regret religion is, in fact, to regret our civilization and its monuments, its achievements, and its legacy. And in my own view, the absence of religious faith, provided that such faith is not murderously intolerant, can have a deleterious effect upon human character and personality. If you empty the world of purpose, make it one of brute fact alone, you empty it (for many people, at any rate) of reasons for gratitude, and a sense of gratitude is necessary for both happiness and decency. For what can soon, and all too easily, replace gratitude is a sense of entitlement. Without gratitude, it is hard to appreciate, or be satisfied with, what you have: and life will become an existential shopping spree that no product satisfies.

Read the whole thing .

If you can't understand how, 40 years and 6 million terminations later, the Abortion Act can still exist in an essentially umodified fashion, then follow the money .

Everyone's welcomeThere are a number of features of the website that our talented designer, Marco Pozzi, has introduced to make the site easier to use, particularly for those with disabilities. If the text size is too small, then click the 'Resize Font' feature on the left-hand side of the page to make the letters bigger. If you are using a small monitor, then scroll down and on the right-hand side of the page you'll find the 'Template Chooser': select 'Narrow'. And finally, the website also conforms to priority levels 1 and 2 for accessibility.

We hope these features mean that everyone will be able to use the website, now and in the future.

One of the important features of the faith is the conviction that we are not alone: the Church is one body and contained within it are all those who have departed this life. I know how important it is for many people in the parish that they remember and honour family members who have died; one only has to look at the newsletter to see the many Masses said for the departed.

November is quickly approaching - the month in particular when we commemorate the Holy Souls - and if anyone would like to add their loved ones to the calendar please contact me including the name and dates of the person to be included.

The grave - beforeFr Joseph Sunn, the founder of the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, is buried in Waterfall Road cemetery. He died in 1953 and was buried in the same site as his mother, Mary Sunn. However, as you can see from the photograph, the gravestone had deteriorated over the years. So the Parish Council decided to see what we could do to renovate it.

Now, it so happens that my friendly Australian brother-in-law is a stone mason and he agreed to take a look and see what he could do. A couple of hours and some very vigorous scrubbing, scraping, chiselling and general cleaning later, produced something of a transformation.


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