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Quotes of the week

12 April 2024


Many activists seem convinced that any UK pro-assisted dying law will contain enough safeguards to avoid people being bumped off for the wrong reasons. And perhaps they are right, as far as the first iteration of any such law goes; but they are bound to be wrong about later extensions of it. Changes in social norms tend to roll down slopes rather than hurtle off cliffs; but either way we can all easily end up at the bottom

Kathleen Stock, UnHerd, 3 April


It is not that an increasingly secular outlook directly causes us to prioritise collective benefit over the individual, but rather that it paralyses many of us intellectually, and means that a selfish mental focus upon alleviating future personal suffering is the only cause we can really get behind



A university will always partly involve the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge, but the true goal of the university goes beyond knowledge. . . The dynamism of a university is the conviction that, in the interaction of the different specialists and the odd generalist, is found a result none could achieve alone. . . The real university challenge is not winning a quiz, but transforming knowledge into wisdom

Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Thought for the Day, Radio 4, 9 April


The numbers are vast [on pilgrimage routes] and that tells me something about a spiritual longing, and also about the connections that are sometimes referred to as a “thin place” — a place where the dividing line between the spiritual and the material is thinner. I would call it a holy place, a place hallowed by they prayers of Christian people over many centuries.

Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, interview, The Tablet, 6 April


The idea of God-given dignity precludes abortion, euthanasia and gender reassignment surgery, but it also provides the intellectual and moral basis for Catholic penal reformers, for the food banks run by almost every parish in the country, and for organisations such as Pax Christi which work for peace and reconciliation. The Christian message challenges, and transcends, every political ideology

Niall Gooch, UnHerd, 9 April


The representation argument [for diversity] is, I think, misplaced. As a child, my first career ambition was to be a train, because I loved watching Thomas the Tank Engine. That the steam engines in question were all white (or more specifically, grey) and fictional was not a barrier

Stephen Bush, Financial Times, 9 April


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