I have just finished Fr Nicholas Schofield and Fr Gerard Skinner's excellent book on the English Cardinals. Can I recommend it most heartily to anybody who wants an overview of the History of Catholicism in England (and Wales, though only slightly). A short biography of each Cardinal as a way of fixing a piece of time into its context was a wonderful idea.
(Were they interested, I would like to give the two Fathers some advice about how to make the second, revised, edition longer, by asking them to answer all the questions they raised in my mind. I suspect their answer might be for me to do a bit of the work for myself.)
The perfect Christmas present for any Catholic who has the slightest interest in history: once the book is open, its unputdownable.
And now the children have finished their tea, it's back out there to get to grips with Alastair Campbell's diaries. I've been dipping in and out since the book arrived from Amazon, but I was good, and read the book about the Cardinals first.
And on its way from America is the Worlock Archive, Clifford Longley's mining of the archive left by the late Archbishop. Don't worry: I will read this in the same spirit as British Staff Officers read Clausewitz, or Conservative philosophers read Das Kapital. It is only by understanding the ideas which inspire our opponents that we will have chance of undermining and defeating them.