News & Events

Learning lessons from a sixteenth-century Polish princess.

2020-12-15T13:56:37+00:00December 15th, 2020|

In a new article for the Catholic Herald, I considered what we might learn from Katarina Jagellonica, the Queen Consort to John III of Sweden. Faithful, determined and learned, Katarina is an unlikely but inspiring model. You can read the article in the magazine or here:

New article on the turbulent history of Christianity in Sweden.

2020-12-15T13:52:00+00:00December 15th, 2020|

You can read my article on the turbulent history of Christianity in Sweden, from the 9th century to our own day, in the October issue of the Catholic Herald or here: The article accompanied a piece by Cardinal Anders Arborelius: the first ever Swedish cardinal. Together, the two texts will bring you bang up-to-date on the fate of Catholicism in the country.

Intrepid and Imperfect. Hugh Trevor-Roper: An Historian For Our Time

2020-06-22T09:02:43+01:00June 22nd, 2020|

It is easy to view historical figures as sepia-toned strangers or faceless names on a page. Hugh Trevor-Roper’s great gift as an historian was his ability to see his subjects animated, in vivid colour and profoundly relevant to his own time. This is patent throughout the essays in ‘Hugh Trevor Roper: The Historian’, a volume edited by Blair Worden, re-released as a paperback a few weeks ago. Across the volume quotations from Trevor-Roper’s works showcase Trevor-Roper’s intimacy with the past. Considering how the sixteenth-century humanist Erasmus would be treated in the modern age, Trevor-Roper declared that whilst the sixteenth century had ‘accused him of levity, [...]

My review of a new history of women and the Vatican in the Catholic Herald

2020-04-03T14:24:20+01:00March 25th, 2020|

You can read my review of Lynda Telford's new book on 'Women and the Vatican' online at the Catholic Herald. In this review I ask if the picture of oppression and scandal painted by Telford is a faithful image of female influence in the Catholic Church or if her history has been marred by cynicism. Read the full article here:

My New Book Out Now

2020-06-04T14:25:21+01:00March 11th, 2020|

Between Popes, Inquisitors and Princes How the first Jesuits negotiated the religious crisis in early modern ItalyWhen the first Jesuits arrived in Italy in 1538, nobody could have predicted that they would soon be the most important religious order in Europe. Up until then, this motley group of young men had been plagued by misfortune, suspicion and venomous accusations of heresy. Their quest to save souls had also been blighted by grave circumstances. For, as these young men travelled to Rome, the continent was facing unprecedented religious and political crisis. In the wake of Martin Luther’s condemnation of Catholicism, leaders of [...]

New article for History Today’s April edition: The Inquisition’s Secret Weapon

2020-04-03T14:25:54+01:00March 11th, 2020|

In a new article for History Today, I expose the secret weapon of the sixteenth-century Roman Inquisition: a new religious order called the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits. Most people have only a hazy notion of the popes’ Roman Inquisition, yet many are confident that violence and fear were its main means of dealing with those who had erred from Catholic teaching. Interrogation, fires and torture were all very real elements of the inquisitors' work; elements that struck terror into hearts across early modern Europe and persist in the popular imagination. But these fearsome tactics are far from the full picture. [...]

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