Highlights from the week online

How Sherlock Holmes deduced the afterlife

At the National Catholic Register, Sherlock Holmes fan Dan Andriacco went sleuthing – on the trail of Sherlock’s faith. Holmes wasn’t a Catholic, but he seems to be a believer of some sort. He says that flowers demonstrate “the goodness of Providence” – a matter of “deduction”, he tells Watson. He dissuades one character from suicide by telling her, “Your life is not your own. Keep your hands off it,” and warns another: “It is not for me to judge you. You will soon answer for your deed at a higher court than the Assizes.”

Holmes believes that “If there is not some compensation hereafter, then the world is a cruel jest.” But he himself was hopeful: life, he remarks in The Adventure of the Red Circle, is “a series of lessons with the greatest as the last”.

An ambiguous faith? How very convenient

At Word on Fire, Bishop Robert Barron discussed the new film Silence. (Spoiler alert). It follows a Jesuit missionary to Japan, Fr Rodrigues, who is arrested by the authorities. “As Japanese Christians, men and women who had risked their lives to protect him, are tortured in his presence, he is invited to renounce his faith and thereby put an end to their torment,” the bishop wrote. After agonising, Fr Rodrigues gives in, and abandons his faith to work for the Japanese government.

Many commentaries, the bishop said, “emphasise how Silence beautifully brings forward the complex, layered, ambiguous nature of faith”.

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