Second Spring

Rest on the Flight into Egypt
by Titian (Longleat Estate)


"The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." Second Spring is intended to lift up hearts and minds in the direction of those abiding things – truth, goodness and beauty – which outlast and inspire a civilization. Guided by angels, Joseph and Mary are protecting the child Jesus by fleeing the jealousy of Herod. After residing in Egypt for a time, Joseph will again hear the words, 'Arise, take the child and his mother and go...', when all is safe for the return to Israel.
(Matthew 2: 13-21.)


Comments on Second Spring


Surely it is a sign of the turning of the tide of dense materialism. I find it is filled with a sense of beauty and kindness.

Dr Kathleen Raine

 As beautifully produced as its contents are carefully crafted, Second Spring is a sign of re-flowering for a Catholic culture generously conceived.

Aidan Nichols OP (Blackfriars, Cambridge)

Second Spring is one of the great contemporary journals spanning the bridge between theological reflection and cultural analysis.  Its list of conributors also spans the English speaking world.  Its Catholic in the best and broadest sense of the term.

Tracey Rowland 
(John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, Melbourne, Australia)


Second Spring, dedicated to the conversion of culture, is a delightful counterpart to the theological journal Communio.  The interdisciplinary articles and poetry, with their particular emphasis on beauty of content and presentation, succeed in nourishing both the mind and the heart.  Mining the tradition they carve out new insights to reveal the contours of a revivified Christian culture for the third millennium.

Mary Shivanandan, 
(Professor of Theology at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America)

Second Spring constitutes a sort of plumbline, or tuning-fork, when it comes to the question of journals. It is an immensely handsome publication, for a start, with graphics ranging from the pleasing to the awesome. Format and type-face (for an old editor like me) are elements too often shortchanged in our own epoch, and here again, Second Spring sets a standard. But above all of this are the content and the contributors. This is journalism at its highest level: indeed, the word 'journalism' falls away soon enough, and we find ourselves needing the words 'discourse' and even 'scholarship' in order to reach the mark. And, arching over it all, we must blazon the glorious word 'Catholic Orthodoxy', a commodity not easily come by at present.

Tom Howard

"Your journal has the most interesting and enlightening articles I have read anywhere,
so keep them coming."

Annabel C. Clark (Dorset)

"I find it the most satisfying of the publications I buy, and though I always read it too quickly and pass it on, it doesn't go out of date and can always be read again."

Helen Granger (London)

"Let me say that Second Spring is the only publication that I subscribe to where the back issues are kept in a very safe place. You are pursuing an apostolate that is, in the current climate, beyond value."  

Brian M. McMahon (Ireland)


At the beginning of the 1990s we decided to create a forum to explore, from within the Catholic tradition, the beauty that inspires conversion to Christianity and the creation of a Christian culture. We wanted to respond to the call of John Paul II for a "new evangelization", in gratitude for the gift of faith we had ourselves received. We began to visualize a magazine that would imbued with the spirit of faith and of the joy that comes from faith, but which would not dwell exclusively on the Church and theology, but turn its attention to the world of science, of literature, of economics, of art and architecture, of history.... It would not be afraid of tackling theology, but it would do so in a way that was open to human experience and would relate theology to the deepest concerns of the human heart. It would be about spirituality as well as culture, about social action as well as intellectual analysis. It would be committed to truth wherever we could find it.

The gap between faith and culture, which Paul VI called the "drama of our times", cannot be addressed by an attempt simply to recover a world that has been lost: a mythical golden age set back in the 1950s, the 1870s or the Middle Ages. Yes, we need to restore and retrieve much that has been lost or forgotten in the rush to be "modern" – now that Modernism itself has become passé. But we must do it within a new cultural moment. We must learn from the past, not merely repeat it. In particular, we believe that the Second Vatican Council, for all the disasters associated with its aftermath, was an act of the Holy Spirit that made possible a new springtime of the faith in the twenty-first century. Its true fruits are only now beginning to be manifest.

Between 1992 and 1999 Second Spring appeared as a quarterly supplement within the Ignatius Press magazine Catholic World Report. From 1994 we were building up the Centre for Faith & Culture in Oxford, together with its twice-yearly Faith & Culture Bulletin, as the supporting structure for the forum we wanted to create. In 2000 we established the Second Spring website. Through all these means, and the conferences we organized each year, we were making contact with others who felt the same need we did. Friends, old and new, became collaborators, and a complex network began to form, of individuals and institutions in many countries that all wanted roughly the same thing: a thing that is hard to put into words, but which we all recognize when we see it. It has something to do with hope, and something to do with beauty. We hope you will catch a glimpse of it when you read these pages.

 The Spirit of Second Spring