Drugs, violence, magic, promiscuity, are all ways of trying to smash through the complacency and frustration of everyday life. We can become trapped in a conventional existence, and our deep pain tells us that something is very wrong. But what really traps us is ourselves, our own limitations, our own self-defined image. Attempts to escape often make things worse. They soon turn into other, narrower traps.

The only real escape is self-transformation. What we need is a spiritual path that leads beyond ourselves. All religions offer such a path, a path of transformation, although by its nature it is often hard to discern. (The film The Matrix was a metaphor for this.) Every religion has its own teachers, gurus, guides, to help us find the path and to walk it.

The distinctive claim of Catholic Christianity is that God himself became man, died and rose from the grave, and that his continued living presence is accessible through prayer and the sacraments of the Church.

In this section we want to help you explore this tradition in order to find resources that may help you in your search for the true, the good, and the beautiful.


Go HERE for stuff on Christian beliefs and how to understand them  

Go HERE for stuff on the spiritual life, prayer and meditation -- the “Way of Jesus”  

Go HERE for stuff on Catholic liturgy (the public worship of the Church)

All Things Made New (Editors blog on spirituality)  




If you want to understand the Catholic faith, try to read and study the Catechism of the Catholic Church. That is really the place to start. Nothing that is said here is intended to substitute for reading the Catechism. There are many printed editions available, and it is online at the Vatican Archives

It is also available in a different format at  If you have time, you may also wish to study it in more depth on a guided programme, either through your parish or with the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham or the Ogilvie Institute in Scotland .  

Does God exist?
If you are not so sure, click here.

Conversation with a Skeptic

Put any questions you may have to our online community

Questions and answers

Here are some questions we have received in the past, and our answers to them:

Section One: Miscellaneous and Moral

Section Two: The Spiritual Life

Section Three: Scripture

Section Four: Church and Tradition


Catholic Social Teaching



Theology of the Body


Christianity and the New Age



Some useful articles

Why go to confession? Reconciliation and the Beauty of God, by Bruno Forte

12 Claims Every Catholic Should be Able to Answer, by Deal Hudson

5 Myths about 7 Books, by Mark Shea

What is Faith?

The Existence of God

The Problem of Evil

The Problem of Hell

A New Approach to Sin

Christianity and Other Religions

How can Catholicism be true when Catholics are so dead?

How do we defend the Church to those who have been burned by it?

How to Make Sense of Catholic Teachings on Sex

What is 'sin' and why did Jesus die on the Cross?

Catholic Answers to Evangelical Questions

Marriage and the Prophylactic Use of Condoms by Luke Gormally

Contraception by Stratford Caldecott


There are many more articles here, on a site developed by Scott Hahn:

The following site is also useful for questions and answers:



image courtesy of

Jesus does not simply know the Way; he himself, in his own person, is the Way. “I am the way and the truth and the life,” he tells his disciples (John 14:6).

How do we follow Jesus? In the first place, we follow him by listening devoutly and attentively to the voice of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ and his Father. The Spirit is speaking to us all the time, especially through not exclusively in the Church and in the Christian tradition.  

What is prayer? At its most basic level, prayer is a way of paying attention to the possibility of God, or even just of our need for God. 

Even if we don’t feel we know that God exists, even if we can’t really say we have any faith at all, we can still pray. We can still reach out towards the source of our life, reaching towards the mystery that will catch up to us when we die.  


In other words, we don’t have to know God before we can pray towards him. If we love anyone, we can pray towards Love. If we fear anything, we can pray towards that Higher Power that can alone can help us. If we believe anything, we can pray towards the complete Truth, whatever It might be.  

Prayer is the way our soul breathes. As we grow older it is easy to forget to pray, and we need to do it more and more consciously.  The way we used to pray as a child may not be suitable for us any longer. Prayer needs to grow along with us, otherwise it just dries up. We need to find a way to give our attention to God, in a world that is full of so much that can distract us. That is why it is important to form habits of prayer, or ways of reminding ourselves to pray even when we are distracted and busy.

Prayer doesn’t have to take much time. In fact, people find that prayer is a way of making time. The more we pray, the more time in the day we find we have.

photo courtesy of Lawrence Lew, OP

Some useful articles  

The Rosary from All Things Made New

The Lord’s Prayer from All Things Made New

John Paul II on the Mysteries of the Rosary

John Paul II on the Eucharist  

Pope Benedict XVI on Reading the Word of God  

Stations of the Cross from All Things Made New



Some lovely prayers

The Angelus  

Jesus Prayer  

Child's Go To Sleep Prayer

The Holy Family  


Irish Litany

Prayer to the Trinity

Prayers for a New Chivalry  

A Morning Prayer


Extracts from The Wellsprings of Worship by Jean Corbon (the main author of the Fourth Part of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, on prayer):

Please note this series from CTS called Deeper Christianity

See also The Veil  

An introduction to LECTIO DIVINA, by Simeon Leiva-Merikakis from the Fall 2011 issue of the International Review Communio.





Prayer is a vital dimension of fully human living. But while we can all pray on our own, it is always in some sense a community thing. 

It turns us away from ourselves towards God, and in so doing it turns us towards each other (or should do). 

In fact human civilization has always been built around an act of worship, a public liturgy. 

Liturgy (from the Greek leitourgia: public work or duty) technically means any kind of religious service done on behalf of a community. 

Liturgical prayer is a way of being in tune with our society, with other people. But if we are to renew our civilization by renewing our worship, we must understand also that liturgy is a way of being in tune with the motions of the stars, the dance of atomic particles, and the harmony of the heavens that resembles a great song. 

And Catholic liturgy takes us even deeper than that. It takes us to the source of the cosmos itself, into the sacred precincts of the Holy Trinity where all things begin and end, whether they know it or not, and to the source of all artistic and scientific inspiration, of all culture.  



For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 
and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on the earth or in heaven, 
making peace by the blood of his cross
(Col. 1:20). 


Some useful links

Ratzinger at Fontgombault

'Liturgy and Trinity'

Institute for Sacred Architecture

New Liturgical Movement

Antiphon magazine  




The Snowbird Statement

Motu Propriu: Summorum Pontificum in English

Pope's letter accompanying Motu Proprio





The Oxford Declaration on Liturgy

The Centre for Faith & Culture organized an international conference or Forum on Roman Catholic liturgy in Oxford during 1996. Our conclusions were as follows.

1. Reflecting on the history of liturgical renewal and reform since the Second Vatican Council, the Liturgy Forum agreed that there have been many positive results. Among these might be mentioned the introduction of the vernacular, the opening up of the treasury of the Sacred Scriptures, increased participation in the liturgy and the enrichment of the process of Christian initiation. However, the Forum concluded that the preconciliar liturgical movement as well as the manifest intentions of Sacrosanctum Concilium have in large part been frustrated by powerful contrary forces, which could be described as bureaucratic, philistine and secularist.

2. The effect has been to deprive the Catholic people of much of their liturgical heritage. Certainly, many ancient traditions of sacred music, art and architecture have been all but destroyed. Sacrosanctum Concilium gave pride of place to Gregorian chant [Section 116], yet in many places this "sung theology" of the Roman liturgy has disappeared without trace. Our liturgical heritage is not a superficial embellishment of worship but should properly be regarded as intrinsic to it, as it is also to the process of transmitting the Catholic faith in education and evangelization. Liturgy cannot be separated from culture; it is the living font of a Christian civilization and hence has profound ecumenical significance.

3. The impoverishment of our liturgy after the Council is a fact not yet sufficiently admitted or understood, to which the necessary response must be a revival of the liturgical movement and the initiation of a new cycle of reflection and reform. The liturgical movement which we represent is concerned with the enrichment, correction and resacralization of Catholic liturgical practice. It is concerned with a renewal of liturgical eschatology, cosmology and aesthetics, and with a recovery of the sense of the sacred – mindful that the law of worship is the law of belief. This renewal will be aided by a closer and deeper acquaintance with the liturgical, theological and iconographic traditions of the Christian East.

4. The revived liturgical movement calls for the promotion of the Liturgy of the Hours, celebrated in song as an action of the Church in cathedrals, parishes, monasteries and families, and of Eucharistic Adoration, already spreading in many parishes. In this way, the Divine Word and the Presence of Christ's reality in the Mass may resonate throughout the day, making human culture into a dwelling place for God. At the heart of the Church in the world we must be able to find that loving contemplation, that adoring silence, which is the essential complement to the spoken word of Revelation, and the key to active participation in the holy mysteries of faith [cf. Orientale Lumen, section 16].

5. We call for a greater pluralism of Catholic rites and uses, so that all these elements of our tradition may flourish and be more widely known during the period of reflection and ressourcement that lies ahead. If the liturgical movement is to prosper, it must seek to rise above differences of opinion and taste to that unity which is the Holy Spirit's gift to the Body of Christ. Those who love the Catholic tradition in its fullness should strive to work together in charity, bearing each other's burdens in the light of the Holy Spirit, and persevering in prayer with Mary the Mother of Jesus.

6. We hope that any future liturgical reform would not be imposed on the faithful but would proceed, with the utmost caution and sensitivity to the sensus fidelium, from a thorough understanding of the organic nature of the liturgical traditions of the Church [cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, section 23]. Our work should be sustained by prayer, education and study. This cannot be undertaken in haste, or in anything other than a serene spirit. No matter what difficulties lie ahead, the glory of the Paschal Mystery – Christ's love, his cosmic sacrifice and his childlike trust in the Father – shines through every Catholic liturgy for those who have eyes to see, and in this undeserved grace we await the return of spring.

In the Declaration, several suggestions were made concerning the future of the liturgical reform: cultural enrichment, revival of the sense of the sacred and of contemplative prayer, restoration of plainsong, promotion of the liturgy of the hours and of eucharistic adoration, and acceptance of a "greater pluralism of Catholic rites and uses". It stressed the need to avoid any further mechanical tampering with the liturgy. The implication was that the liturgy should be permitted to develop organically.

The Declaration also claimed that a revival of the liturgical movement would be aided by a "closer and deeper acquaintance with the liturgical, theological and iconographic traditions of the Christian East". It seems clear that in many ways the Byzantine tradition has maintained a greater sense of the sacred and of the cosmic dimensions of the liturgy than the Western tradition has been able to do. As a consequence, one observes the growing interest in the Eastern rites on the part of Westerners since the time of the Council. 

The popularity of Byzantine icons in the West is partly a healthy reaction against the widespread use of sentimentalized devotional images, but as the true greatness of the iconographic tradition gradually reveals itself lessons may be learnt concerning the liturgy too: the iconic properties of a ritual which manifests the action of Christ, compared to the iconic properties of a picture manifesting his presence, or the reality of his human nature. The point would not necessarily be to copy the Byzantine rite, but to develop the Roman rite to a point where the East can recognize in it an authentic Christian liturgy – which today is often not the case.

Clearly, further study and reflection are still needed to discern the principles that should govern any further reform of the liturgy. But a far-reaching programme of education is also needed, to accompany and make possible a reform of the reform. What is needed is a continuing education in the language of symbolism, in the spiritual meaning of the liturgy and of Holy Scripture, in the lives of the saints, and in the possibility of authentic and orthodox religious experience – the tradition of the spiritual senses, of contemplative prayer, of ascesis and purity, of Catholic poetry and sacred art, and of the correct understanding and value of traditional devotions. The monastic practice of lectio divina has already become quite popular, but this should be increasingly integrated with a contemplative lectio of the Mass, and with a developed reflection on the intimate connection between Scripture and Liturgy.

With this sole addition of the need for mystagogy, the Oxford Declaration perhaps may still stand today as an expression of the need felt by many for an authentic liturgical movement, faithful to the tradition of the Church, and submissive to the Holy Spirit who fills her with divine life.