Pope John XXIII riding in procession to St Peter’s Basilica, at start of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. Photograph: Paul Schutzer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

The genesis of this collection was a conference organised by the Director of the UCD International Centre for Newman Studies, Pádraic Conway,(...)

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass of the Synod on the Family. He announced a new Vatican office for Catholic laity and families. Slow, slow progress, but progress, nonetheless. Photograph: Ettore Ferrari/EPA.

Here are some things that did not get much attention from those who covered the recent Synod on the Family. As usual, all the focus was on the politic(...)

Pope will have last word

For those Catholics who hoped the Synod on the Family in Rome might usher in change where the church’s approach to women and gay people, as well as th(...)

Bishops take part in the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Synod of Bishops at Paul VI Hall, Vatican. Photograph: Giuseppe Lami/EPA

So the current Synod of Bishops in Rome enters the home straight. This week it is expected to get down to the substance of the three-week gathering. T(...)

Many years ago, Percy French wrote a song about the West Clare Railway which, though it may not have been fast or comfortable, seems to have been a ki(...)

The education of children with no religious belief is a problem for parents. It straddles the rural-urban divide – city schools under the patronage of(...)

‘John Bosco was well ahead of his time in his attitude to corporal punishment.’ Photograph: Getty Images

The Second Vatican Council and Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, Populorum Progressio (On the Development of Peoples), gave particular impetus to what might (...)

The Association of Catholics in Ireland said full membership of the church should be extended to those in second relationships. Photograph: Getty Images

A group of lay Catholics has called for the Church to revise its teaching on contraception and access to the sacraments for those in second relationsh(...)

Marriage and the church

A chara, – “Marriage was the last resort of weak Christians. As a consequence the early church placed a low value on the family”, writes Patsy McGarry(...)

Archbishop of Dublin John Charles McQuaid: at the end of the second Vatican Council, he said: “You may have been worried by talk of changes to come. Allow me to reassure you: no change will worry the tranquillity of your Christian lives.”

The second Vatican Council closed 50 years ago this year, having begun in October 1962. One of the major changes it ushered in was the saying of the M(...)