ISSUES 1 - 4 AVAILABLE
‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened.’
'The Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened.'
Leaven is a bimonthly digital magazine mainly for and by young Catholics in Ireland, providing readers with thought-provoking material from a range of voices, talking about everything, and holding to what is true. Bringing a spiritual lens to the world, we aim to showcase a coherently and distinctly Irish Catholic vision that is kind and thoughtful, honest and faithful, balanced, relevant, and fresh. We are firmly committed to getting beyond stereotypes and stale talking points, highlighting that smart, young, curious, compassionate people – and especially women! – are integral to our Church, and helping their voices be heard. Leaven is for anyone who wants to grow a genuine living faith in their own life and become a leaven for Ireland and the world.
Each issue explores a mix of topics from science to literature, pop culture to social justice, history to philosophy and beyond, with regular features including scriptural refections and round-table discussions about issues of interest and importance to ordinary Catholics. The third issue is available from 9 August, under the editorship of Greg Daly, formerly of The Irish Catholic, Aleteia, and Catholic Voices.
Volume 1 Issue 4
From the Editor
Leaven editor Greg Daly announces exciting news for the next issue of Leaven, and reflects on how the theme of connectedness is at the heart of the new issue, with various pieces shedding light on topics as diverse as the building blocks of the universe, the effects on leadership styles of Catholic teachings on solidarity, and how reshaping how we live in the face of climate change may be the only way of helping our neighbours around the world.
Interview - Land of saints and sages
The Middle Ages profoundly influenced James Joyce, who regarded Dante as the greatest of writers and who believed Irish Christianity produced a magnificent medieval culture, Anne Marie D’Arcy tells Leaven. Although Joyce’s relationship with Catholicism was complicated, Dr D’Arcy explains that he was certainly not an atheist, and was fascinated by the civilization of the early Irish Church, regarding the reforms of the twelfth century as a tragedy for Ireland and Europe more generally.
An unlikely saviour
It’s a common cliché that Irish folklore is a superstitious peasant Christianity, one shaped by pagan traditions, but this is a calumny with roots in anti-Catholic propaganda, according to Dr Francis Young. Considering how folklore served as a kind of vessel in which the popular Catholicism of early modern Ireland could weather the storms of the Reformation and penal times, Dr Young considers how one Augustinian priory survived in the local imagination in the centuries after its community was suppressed.
The garden is burning
The first poem to feature in Leaven is by Bro. Richard Hendrick, a Dublin-based Capuchin whose 2020 poem ‘Lockdown’ caught the imaginations of countless people worldwide in the early weeks of the pandemic. Bro. Richard’s thoughts, so beautifully expressed, seemed an appropriate overture to this issue’s round-table discussion on climate change, and an eloquent reminder of how humanity’s first vocation, as portrayed in Genesis, is as a steward of the Lord’s garden
Memories matter, now more than ever
Theological reflections on how the Holocaust happened can be profoundly valuable for healing wounds inflicted by and within the Church in Ireland, writes Niamh White, recalling Biblical injunctions towards remembrance, justice, and truth, and the fact that though we are all made in God’s image, we have not always treated each other as though this were true. Facing painful truths is hard work, of course, but we don’t measure morality by the difficulty of the challenge.
A macabre medieval mindset
M.R. James, widely regarded as the greatest literary master of the ghost story, was an eminent medieval scholar; Niall Gooch describes how his expertise as a medievalist seems to have informed his fiction in various ways, nurturing a sense of the porous boundaries between the physical world and non-physical ones, a willingness to ascribe supernatural properties to natural things, and an appreciation of how there is a realm of darkness with which humans should be reluctant to interfere.
Not by bread alone – October
It’s worth comparing how the Evangelists differ in what they emphasise in their Gospels, Fr Columba McCann writes in our scriptural reflection for October, homing in on the story of the rich man and Christ, as proclaimed from Mark 10 at Mass. There’s a wealth of things for us to learn from studying this passage carefully, and in ways even more by comparing it with the parallel accounts in Matthew’s and Luke’s writings, and trying to read it too in the light of the other biblical readings from the same Mass.
Round table: Climate change – doing our Christian duty
Environmental theologian Dympna Mallon, Augustinian canoness Sr Margaret Atkins, environmental scientist and policy advocate Dr Ciara Murphy, and energy economist Dr Muireann Lynch talk to Leaven editor Greg Daly about the realities and challenges of climate change. They explain why it is that care for the planet and its climate are vital duties of responsible Christians, why current concern about climate change is very much justified, and why dramatic changes in how we live are not merely possible but urgently necessary.
With Hallowe’en and the feasts of All Saints and All Souls falling at the halfway point in this issue’s publication period, Maria Connolly notes how October and November focus sharply on what happens to us after we die. Hallowe’en traditions remind us of the realities of evil and spiritual warfare, and can be fun to celebrate, but they’re ultimately empty if we don’t also mark how we look to the saints as models and pray for the souls in Purgatory.
A child of Chernobyl – and Catholic Ireland
The Belarusian opposition leader Svetiana Tsikhanouskaya spent many summers in Ireland with the family of Dr David Deane, who now lectures in theology in Canada. In this issue of Leaven he explores how Ms Tsikhanouskaya absorbed important lessons in Catholic Social Teaching from her visits to Ireland, with this having had a profound influence on her approach to politics and leadership more generally, and having primed her to respond gratefully and constructively to Pope Francis’s encyclical on Christian fraternity.
A song of suffering
A Hebrew poem, composed by a Russian Jewish poet in early twentieth-century Palestine and set to music as a folk song, took on a strange new life in the Nazi-controlled Theresienstadt Ghetto in occupied Czechoslovakia. Natalie Doherty describes how the folk song, based on the biblical character of Rachel, became something of an anthem in the barracks of Theresienstadt, becoming beautifully enshrined in the final classical composition of one of the greatest composers of the period.
Interview - When science, faith, and particles collide
The quest to understand the building blocks of our universe’s existence is a fundamental question of science and indeed humanity, according to Sr Katarina Pajchel OP, living proof that science and faith can complement each other, being as she is both a Dominican sister and an accomplished particle physicist. Between 2005 and 2014 she conducted research involving the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Centre for Nuclear Research, and now works at Oslo’s Metropolitan University, teaching teachers how to teach physics.
Not by bread alone – November
The story of the widow’s mite is regularly read as a story of heroic faith, generosity, and trust in God, writes Sr Eleanor Campion OSCO, arguing that that interpretation is genuinely inspiring. However, she adds, the fact that the parable comes after an explicit criticism of figures who ‘swallow the property of widows’ to fund ostentatious displays of wealth and status while presenting themselves as religious is a pointer to how it might best be read.
Jane Austen: romance or realism?
Too often Jane Austen’s novels are packaged or perceived as National Heritage chick-lit, writes Phoebe Watson, arguing that the Regency author’s books are anything but fluff but are in fact hilarious and hard-headed guides to living virtuously. Pride and Prejudice, perhaps the Austen novel most commonly painted as a beautiful romance, is in fact a study in the importance of facing up to our flaws, striving to overcome our shortcomings, and working to live in a manner both kind and responsible.
Finding a home onscreen
Positive depictions of traditional family life may seem a cinematic rarity, but Ronan Doheny believes there are all manner of films that highlight what families can be at their best. Films as diverse as the 1938 Frank Capra classic You Can’t Take It With You, 2004’s The Incredibles, and 2018’s A Quiet Place may come from radically different genres, but all present remarkably affirming visions of family life as loving spaces where people can be supported, nurtured, and helped to grow and change.
Virtual Campus Seminar on Global Catholic Literature
Monday, October 4, 20217:00 PM
Monday, October 25, 20218:30 PM
Lunchtime Lecture (Online event).
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Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland - Stephen Davis (UCD), 'Archaeological Science and Brú na Bóinne in the 21st Century'
Thurs 21 Oct
Online Lecture (Online event).
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Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland - Elizabeth O'Brien, 'Mapping Death: Burial practice in late iron age and early medieval Ireland'
Thurs 25 Nov
Online Lecture (Online event).
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