26 July 2010

Loss and Gain: The story of a convert's chapel

After yesterday's article about Our Lady of Oxford, readers might be interested to see how her chapel has developed over the years.  Here is the first Oxford chapel, as it stood up until 1907 in Hartwell de la Garde Grissell's house at Number 60, High Street, in Oxford.  Many of the features still observable in today's chapel can be seen: the lavish baroque frame with the picture of Our Lady of Oxford, the altar (carved in Rome) and its canopy, and the reliquary cupboards.  Under the altar is the body of the boy-martyr St. Pacificus.

Grissell kept a register of the clergy who celebrated Mass in his chapel.  They included Fr. Bowles (who had been at Littlemore with Newman), Henri Brémond, abbé Loisy, Dom Bede Camm, the future Cardinals Mercier and Gasquet, Bishops Hedley and Ilsley, and the great Dominicans Bede Jarrett and Vincent McNabb.

1900s - Foundation
The fate of Grissell's collection preoccupied him.  He contemplated the foundation of a 'Newman Memorial Chapel' in Oxford and corresponded with Cardinal Vaughn, who was eager to obtain the collection for Westminster Cathedral.  However, Grissell was determined that the collection should remain in Oxford and, when he died in 1907, his will stipulated that it be enshrined in a chapel of St. Aloysius' Church, Oxford.  This next photograph shows the chapel as it was fitted out to receive the collection in 1908.  Grissell's original relic cubboards were reconstructed to right and left of the altar.  The paintings on the ceiling are by Gabriel Pippet and depict iconography from the Roman catacombs, alluding to the relics of many of the Roman martyrs housed within the chaepl. A sacristry was erected to the epistle side of the chapel and was accessed through a door where St. Aloysius' statue stands today.  Here were kept a valuable collection of vestments, books, objects from the catacombs, and other artefacts.

1950s - Grey
The next stage of the chapel's development came in the 1950s.  The florid Victorian stencilling of the chapel had fallen out of fashion and the ceiling was painted battleship grey, leaving Pippet's paintings floating in mid-air.  The iron railings seen in the previous picture were removed and the bottom of the relic cupboards were cut away to house radiators for a new heating system.
1970s & '80s - Loss
The 1970s and 1980s witnessed the saddest period in the chapel's history.  The cult of relics did not chine with the spirit of the age.  Despite Grissell's fastidiousness in ensuring that all his relics were authenticated by ecclesiastical authorities, the entire collection was declared to be 'inauthentic' and was dispatched to the local crematorium.  The physical remains of St. Pacificus had survived the Roman persecutions of the church, but did not survive the twentieth-century.  The top of the altar still bears the marks of an asiduous 'recker' who chiselled out a relic of St. Peter's altar enshrined there.  The other artefacts of Grissell's collection were dispersed and the sacristry was turned into a public conveniance.  The chapel stood empty and Mass was no longer said there.  Thankfully, the image of Our Lady of Oxford survived in place above the altar.

1990s - Gain
With the arrival of the Oratory Fathers in the 1990s efforts were made to restore the chapel.  In late 1994 a new collection of relics, most of which were given by the Carmelites of Chichester, was installed in the chapel.  The Carmelites also gave a cast iron screen, which can be seen in the above picture.  Happily, the present screen is rather finer than the original one.  Visible on the altar is the inscription announcing the indulgences granted to Our Lady of Oxford by Blessed Pius IX in 1869.  A statue of St. Aloysius was placed in the chapel and its walls (which had become damp and were in a poor state) were draped with temporary hangings of red damask.

2000s - The threshold of hope

In 2009 the chapel was restored as part of the Oxford Oratory's 'Reaffirmation and Renewal' campaign.  The original ceiling stencilling was reinstated, contextualising Pippet's paintings in their original artistic setting.  The relic cupboards were given state of the art lighting, showing off the new relics on display.

Among the relics on display is a first class relic of Blessed Lucy of Narnia, given by the C.S. Lewis scholar Walter Hooper!  The ashes from the relics of Grissell's collection have be re-enshrined in a glass urn, bearing an inscription which translates as 'From the ashes of ten thousand martyrs'.  Thus, St. Pacificus and his celestial companions continue to interceed upon supplication of the faithful!
There follow some photographs of the newly restored chapel and of Pippet's paintings.

24 July 2010

Society's Patronal Feast Day of Our Lady of Oxford

Today - the Saturday before the fourth Sunday in July - is the feast of Our Lady of Oxford and is the patronal Feast Day of the Newman Society. The image of Our Lady of Oxford depicts the Madonna under the title Mater Miserecordiae ('Mother of Mercy') and is enshrined in a chapel at the Oxford Oratory.

The image was originally brought from Rome by the Newman Society's co-founder, Hartwell de la Garde Grissell (wikipedia article here), who housed it together with his vast collection of relics in a private chapel on the High Street. Upon his death Grissell left the image and relics in trust to the Archdiocese of Birmingham, with the proviso that they be enshrined in a special chapel at St. Aloysius' Church in Oxford. The church's former baptistery was hastily prepared to receive the collection and was opened to the public in 1908. A number of ex voto offerings, including several silver 'miracle hearts', are preserved in the parish and attest to miraculous favours attributed to the intercession of Our Lady of Oxford.
The Newman Society was formally dedicated to Our Lady of Oxford by Cardinal George Pell on 7th March 2009. After a Mass said at Our Lady of Oxford's altar the Cardinal consecrated the society to her and placed its members under her special patronage. The photograph on the right shows His Eminence celebrating the Mass.
Click on the images of the prayer card below for information about the indulgences which Blessed Pius IX gave to Our Lady of Oxford and for the special prayer to her: O Blessed Virgin Mary, whom we venerate in this thy Sanctuary under the sweet title of Mother of Mercy: thou who wast of old so loved and honoured in this University and City ...

10 July 2010

Society launches Newman beatification website

The society has a new section of its website dedicated to Cardinal Newman's forthcoming beatification.  The society is planning a number of events to mark the occasion and details will be posted on the site shortly.  Visit the site by clicking here.

'Are you in the club?' The Newman tie featured in Country Life magazine

The people at Country Life magazine have kindly written to us about an article which they recently published on tie fashion, 'Are you in the club?'.  The Newman tie - which is a broad stripe of Papal gold, Oxford blue, and Cardinal red - is featured in the article and is pictured above.  Members will be pleased to learn that the Newman tie makes the top twenty in the list of 'Notable neckwear' appearing in the article, whereas the Bullingdon tie does not!  To read the article click on the image below and then click again to zoom in.
Members may purchase the Newman tie from Walters of Oxford on Turl Street.

1 July 2010

'Loyal to Peter' - The Newman Society's lost statue of Saint Peter

The Newman Society gave a bronze statue of St. Peter to St. Aloysius’ church in 1893. The gift commemorated the departure of the much loved Fr. Walter Strappini SJ, who had served as Rector of the parish for eleven years and had been a formative influence in those early years of the society’s history.

The statue was a scaled replica of the famous statue of St. Peter which stands in the Vatican Basilica and is attributed to the thirteenth century sculptor Arnolfo di Cambio. The original model for the sculpture can be seen in the Basilica’s crypt, where there can be found a classical sculpture of a seated philosopher which has been transformed into a christianised image of the Prince of the Apostles teaching from his cathedra.

On Ss Peter and Paul’s day the bronze statue is vested with a cope, Episcopal ring, and Papal tiara. A special indulgence can be obtained by kissing its foot, which has been worn down to a smooth surface by the veneration of pilgrims over the centuries. The gesture has a two-fold meaning: it is an act of veneration of St. Peter and - as the traditional gesture of obeisance upon meeting a Pope - is also an expression of loyalty to the person of the Holy Father as successor of 'the Fisherman' Peter.

In St. Aloysius’ parish records there survives a papal grant giving this same indulgence to the Newman Society’s statue and Fr. Martindale’s history of the parish records that it was much venerated by people entering and leaving the church.

The statue was removed from the church and decapitated (!) several decades ago. The head was rescued by a parishioner and has recently been returned to the parish.  It can now be seen in the Oratory House, where it serves as a sad reminder of the reprehensible destruction of so much of our Catholic patrimony falsly carried out in the name of the Second Vatican Council (see below).

The above photograph has recently come to light. The astute observer will notice that the marbled base of the sculpture is now used as a plinth for St. Joseph’s statue in the church.

The Fathers of Vatican II on sacred art:
Very rightly the fine arts are considered to rank among the noblest expressions of human genious. This judgment applies especially to religious art and to its highest achievement, which is sacred art. By their very nature both of the latter are related to God’s boundless beauty …

The practice of placing sacred images in churches so that they may be venerated by the faithful is to be firmly maintained …

Ordinaries must be very careful to see that sacred furnishings and works of value are not disposed of or allowed to deteriorate; for they are ornaments of the house of God.

(Vatican II, S.C., 122, 125, 126)

15 June 2010

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's address to the Newman Society


Speaking Notes of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland

Newman Society, Oxford, 4th June 2010

The title that I have chosen for my reflections this evening – There are many young people who are struggling to find a reason to remain in the Church” – may seem slightly puzzling to some of you. Let me explain its origin. It is a line taken from the comment of the Parish Pastoral Council of one Dublin parish sent to me in the light of the publication of the Murphy Report into the sexual abuse of children by priests within the Archdiocese of Dublin.

The Murphy Report was a very significant examination of how allegations of sexual abuse by priests were managed by Church and State authorities in Ireland. The Report was the fruit of a Government instituted Commission which was established to examine a representative sample of how abuse cases were managed in the period of time between 1975 and 2004.

The findings of the Murphy Report were disastrous. Certainly much of what was dealt with took place in different times and in a different culture. Medical science and juridical reflection may have underestimated the damage done to children who were sexually abused. But what the Murphy Report narrated was nonetheless catastrophic. I have repeated on numerous occasions that for me the only honest reaction of the Church to that Report was to publicly admit that the manner in which that catastrophe was addressed was spectacularly wrong; spectacularly wrong “full stop”; not spectacularly wrong, “but…” You cannot sound-byte your way out of a catastrophe.

Visit of the Archbishop of Dublin

The Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, the Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin, visited the society earlier in the term.  He gave a lecture at the Catholic Chplaincy, which was followed by Ecumenical Evensong in Christ Church Cathedral and the society's termly black-tie dinner, which was also held in Christ Church.

Here is Patsy McGarry's report on the Archbishop's lecture, which appeared in the Irish Times (click here for original article):

Children 'rarely in equation over abuse'


CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said it was hard to understand why in the church’s dealing with the sexual abuse of children, “the children themselves were for many years rarely even taken into the equation”.

Speaking last night, he said: “Yes, in the culture of the day children were to be seen and not heard, but different from other professions church leaders should have been more aware of the Gospel imperative to avoid harm to children, whose innocence was indicated by the Lord as a sign of the kingdom of God.”

Archbishop Martin was addressing Oxford University’s Newman Society.

Last month the Catholic primate, Cardinal Seán Brady, withdrew from a lecture he had been invited to deliver to the same society at Oxford on May 12th when authorities there expressed concerns about his attendance.

It was feared his presence might provoke protests following recent revelations about the cardinal’s handling in 1975 of canonical investigations into allegations of child sex abuse by Fr Brendan Smyth.

The Newman Society at Oxford did not want negative incidents associated with Cardinal Newman as he is to be beatified by Pope Benedict during the papal visit to England and Scotland in September.

“The findings of the Murphy Report were disastrous,” Archbishop Martin continued last night. “The cultural situation was different; abuse takes place in many other sectors of society. This is all true. But it cannot be used as an excuse to downplay the gravity of what took place in the church of Christ.”

He said the church was a place where children should be the subject of special protection and care; and that the Gospel reserved “some of its most severe language for those who disregard or scandalise children in any way”.

He said he felt that the light at the end of the tunnel for the Catholic Church in Ireland was still a long way off.

He said the grief of the past could and should never be forgotten. “There is no simple way of wiping the slate of the past clean, just to ease our feelings.

“Yet the Catholic Church in Ireland cannot be imprisoned in its past. The work of evangelisation must if anything take on a totally new vibrancy,” he said.

There was no way “that we can underplay the effect that the abuse scandals have had on young people. But it must be said very clearly that the crisis of belief among young people has far deeper roots and roots which were there well before the abuse scandal.”

There were “structural and cultural factors which are unique to the Irish church which have contributed to this alienation of our young people”, he said.

“The particular religious history of Ireland led to great emphasis being placed on the school as the principal vehicle for religious education.” This “became a rather authoritarian school system, with Victorianism, Jansenism and older Irish penitential spirituality combining. Questioning was not encouraged. Questions of faith were to be accepted in obedience.”

He added: “In more recent years, due to the drop in the number of priests and the increase of their workload, the link between sacramental preparation and school deepened and the link between sacramental preparation and parish diminished. A form of religious education which is separated from the parish or some other non-school faith community will almost inevitably cave in the day that school ends.”

12 May 2010

Presidential league table!

If you become President you have over a one in four chance of becoming a priest! Over the past fifteen years twelve of forty three Presidents have gone on to be ordained or are currently training for the priesthood. The number soon looks set to rise still further …

Since 1995 the top three colleges in the presidential league table are St. Benet’s, with eight Presidents, Keble with five, and Exeter and Merton in joint third place with four each.

Here is the list:

TT10 - Conor Ganon (Wolfson)

HT10 - Hubert MacGreavy (St. Peter’s)

MT09 - Emeric Monfront (Christ Church)

TT09 - Jocky McLean (Christ Church)

HT09 - Patrick Milner (Keble) [second term]*

MT08 - Patrick Milner (Keble)*

TT08 - Mark Hamid (Corpus) [one day Presidency]

TT08 - Paul Fleming (Mansfield)

HT08 - Yaqoob Bangash (Keble)

MT07 - Michael Ryan (Brasenose)

TT07 - Laura Barrosse-Antle (St. John’s)

HT07 - Darren Collins (Keble)*

MT06 - Alexander Morrison (Oriel)*

TT06 - Matthew Allen (St. Benet’s)*

HT06 - Alexander Stafford (St. Benet’s)

8 May 2010

Cancellation of Cardinal Brady's lecture

Oxford University Newman Society regrets to announce that Cardinal Seán Brady has cancelled his visit to Oxford, which was scheduled to take place on 12th May 2010. The following message has been received from Cardinal Brady’s Office:

As he continues a gradual return to normal duties following a short period of illness Cardinal Brady has, with deep regret, decided to cancel his proposed visit to Oxford.

He was due to deliver a lecture to the Oxford University Newman Society on the subject of the ‘Challenges Facing the Church in Ireland in the Twenty First Century’; in addition to celebrating Mass in Trinity College and attending a Dinner in St Benet’s Hall, on Wednesday 12th May before travelling to Lourdes with the Armagh Diocese.

Cardinal Brady expressed the hope that he would be able to visit the members of the Oxford University Newman Society in due course and conveyed his good wishes and prayers for the work of the Society and the University, especially for those students preparing for examinations at this time.

5 May 2010

Cardinal Seán Brady to visit Newman Society and deliver major lecture on Irish Catholicism - Wednesday 12 May

The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, will be visiting Oxford at the invitation of the Newman Society on Wednesday 12th May 2010. The Cardinal will deliver the society's termly Thomas More Lecture in the Divinity School of Oxford University on the subject of "The Challanges Facing the Church in Ireland in the Twenty-First Century". After the lecture His Eminence will celebrate a Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Chapel of Trinity College, the College where Newman studied as an undergraduate. Following this, the Cardinal will attend a dinner hosted by the society at St. Benet's Hall.
Press release: click here
Programme for the visit - Wednesday 12th May
  • Thomas More Lecture, Divinity School, Bodliean Library, 5pm
  • Solemn Pontifical Mass, Trinity College Chapel, 6.15pm
  • Dinner in honour of His Eminence, St. Benet's Hall, 7.30pm

 Members of the public are welcome to attend the lecture and Mass.

Members of the society wishing to attend the dinner should contact newman@herald.ox.ac.uk.

Further information about the lecture
Cardinal Brady's lecture tales place in the wake of the Holy Father's recent letter to the Catholics of Ireland on the issue of sexual abuse of children. The Cardinal will use his speech as an opportunity to respond to the issues raised by the Holy Father and to reflect on how the church can move forward seeking healing, forgiveness, and renewed dedication.

The Cardinal's lecture will be the last in the 2009-2010 series of Thomas More Lectures, which have examined the subject of 'Religion in the Public Square'. The previous lecturers in this series included Cardinal George Pell (Archbishop of Sydney), Francis Campbell (HM Ambassador to the Holy See), and Paul Murphy MP (Former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland).

25 April 2010

Hartwell de la Garde Grisell, co-founder of the Newman Society

Hartwell de la Garde Grissell was born in 1839 as the son of Thomas Grissell, a prosperous public works contractor. He was educated at Harrow School and in 1859 matriculated to Oxford University as a commoner of Brasenose College.

During his time at Oxford Grissell came under the influence of the leading tractarian, Dr. Henry Parry Liddon. He became increasingly involved with the Anglican High Church movement and was admitted to the Brotherhood of the Holy Trinity, a movement existing to promote High Church principles within the University.

It was at also Oxford that Grissell developed a strong interest in ecclesiastical ritual. He came to believe that the Book of Common Prayer had its roots in the Catholic liturgy and argued for greater ritualism in Anglican worship. In 1865 he published a work called 'Ritual Inaccuracies', in which he attempted to 'bring the rubrics of the Protestant Communion Service into line with those of the Roman Missal'.[1] Reminiscing about this period of his life he was to write:

I soon came to the conclusion myself that this exhumation of scraps and snatches of an ancient rite, and the profane distortion of the rubrics of the Roman Missal for the disguise of Protestant worship was little better than an imposture.[2]
Whilst working on his book Grissell came into contact with a number of Catholic priests and developed a leaning towards Roman Catholicism. Under the direction of Fr. Edward Caswall, a priest of the Birmingham Oratory, Grissell began to read Catholic works. Writing in the year of his death, he recalled his conversion:

I came, after careful study of the question, to the conclusion that the Church of England, being purely a national Church, could hardly be considered Catholic and universal, in the sense of its being the Divine teacher of all nations, and that it was in schism … Prayer at length obtained for me the inestimable happiness of submitting myself to the Church, and of obtaining thereby the full certitude of my possessing undoubted and valid sacraments, and the enjoyment of that peace on earth which the true old faith can alone assure.[3]
Grissell was received into the Catholic Church on 2 March 1868, at the hands of Henry Edward Manning, the Archbishop of Westminster.

In 1869 he moved to Rome, where he served as Cameriere (a Chamberlain of Honour) to Pope Pius IX. The Cameriere wore a Spanish-style costume with cape and sward and had the duty of attending upon the Pope during ecclesiastical and state functions. With his love of ritual Grissell relished life in the Papal Court, and writing in later life he reminisced:

Having had the privilege for a period of some thirty-five years of being Chamberlain to three successive Pontiffs, [I have] many diaries … These many interesting reminiscences include an Œcumenical Council, four Jubilees, three Canonizations, two Papal Consecrations of Bishops, many Consistories (including those at which Cardinals Manning, Howard, and Newman received their hats), a Blessing of the Golden Rose, and of the Ducal Sword and Cap, an 'Anno Santo,' two Conclaves, and two Coronations, as well as many pilgrimages and visits of Sovereigns to His Holiness.[4]
The temporal power of the Pope came to an end in 1870, when Victor Emmanuel II seized Rome, but Grissell nonetheless continued to serve under Pius IX and his two immediate successors, Leo XIII and St. Pius X. He was rewarded for his service, being created a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great and, in 1898, one of the four Papal Chamberlains 'di numero' (an honour usually reserved to the Roman nobility). Writing from Rome in 1900 Oscar Wilde referred to Grissell as a stalwart of the conservative Papal Court:

We came to Rome on Holy Thursday ... and yesterday, to the terror of Grissell and all the Papal Court, I appeared in the front rank of the pilgrims in the Vatican, and got the blessing of the Holy Father - a blessing they would have denied me. He was wonderful as he was carried past me on his throne--not of flesh and blood, but a white soul robed in white and an artist as well as a saint-the only instance in history, if the newspapers are to be believed. I have seen nothing like the extraordinary grace of his gestures as he rose, from moment to moment, to bless-possibly the pilgrims, but certainly me. [5]
Whilst residing in Rome Grissell amassed a vast collection of relics and sacred curios, including a portion of the Crown of Thorns and the entire body of St. Pacificus. The centrepiece of the collection was the reputedly miraculous image of the Madonna called 'Mater Misericordia' (now housed in the Oxford Oratory and popularly known as 'Our Lady of Oxford'), to which Pius IX granted indulgences at Grissell’s request. Besides being an expert in matters liturgical, Grissell was a noted numismatician and was elected to a fellowship of the Society of Antiquaries of London.[6]

When not serving at the Papal Court, Grissell resided at 60 High Street in Oxford. Here he set up a private oratory, which was frequented by many early convert members of Oxford University. In 1877 he suggested the possibility of establishing a society for the University's Catholics and in the following year this idea came to fruition with the foundation of Oxford University Newman Society (which prior to 1888 was called Oxford University Catholic Club). Grissell was also to be influential in persuading Leo XIII to lift the papal ban on Catholics attending the English universities; this was to result in the foundation of Oxford University's Catholic Chaplaincy.[7]

Grissell died in Rome on 10 June 1907, leaving his relic collection to the parish of St. Aloysius Gonzaga in Oxford.

To mark the centenary of his death in 2007 the Newman Society mounted an exhibition commemorating his life and times, which was held in his Oxford alma mater, Brasenose College.  Details were posted here on the Newman Society's blog. 

    By Richard Pickett
    Exeter College

The founders of the Newman Society
outside St. Aloysius' Church, Oxford, 1878;
standing, second-from-right, Gerard Manley Hopkins,
fourth-from right, Grissell

This article has been posted on wikipedia.

[1] Hartwell de la Garde Grissell, Ritual Inaccuracies (J. Masters & Co, 1865)

[2] 'Hartwell de la Garde Grissell, Esq, MA, Brasenose College, Oxford' in J. Godfrey Rupert, Roads to Rome: Being Personal Records of Some of the More Recent Converts to the Catholic Faith (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co, 1908).

[3] 'Hartwell de la Garde Grissell, Esq, MA, Brasenose College, Oxford' in J. Godfrey Rupert, Roads to Rome: Being Personal Records of Some of the More Recent Converts to the Catholic Faith (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co, 1908).

[4] Hartwell de la Garde Grissell, Sede Vacante, being a Diary written during the Conclave of 1903, with additional Notes on the Accession and Coronation of Pius X (James Parker & Co, 1903).

[5] http://www.readbookonline.net/read/9873/23977/

[6] John Evans, Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Royal Numismatic Society Vol VII (Read Books, 2006, p.35)

[7] Alberic Stackpoole OSB, 'The Return of Roman Catholics to Oxford' in New Blackriars, vol. 67, issue 791, p. 225

Term Card TT10

Tuesday 27th June from 8.30pm
The Rev. Fr. James Pierero (Opus Dei)
Reflections on the Beatification of John Henry Newman: An Historical Perspective

Tuesday 4th May, 8.30pm
The Very Rev. Richard Duffield, CongOrat (Postulator of Newman's Cause and Past-President)
Preparing for the Beatification of John Henry Newman

Wednesday 12th May
His Eminence Sean Cardinal Brady (Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland)
The Challanges facing the Irish Church in the Twenty-First Century


Tuesday 18th May, 7-9pm
Newman Society Jazz Evening at the Oxford Union

Saturday 22nd May
Pilgrimage to Newman's 'College' at Littlemore
A joint event with the Catholic Society. Depart from the Catholic Caplaincy at 9.30am. Mass to be celebrated by Fr. Daniel Seward, CongOrat (Past-President)

Tuesday 25th May, 8.30pm
The Rev. Fr. Antoni Uccrler, SJ
Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Matteo Ricci: Missionary and Scholar in the Middle Kingdom

Tuesday 1st June, 8.30pm
Mr. Damian Thompson (Blogs Editor of the Daily Telegraph)
Universtanding the Relationship Between the Church and the Media

Friday 4th June
Celebrated by The Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin (Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland)
Followed by dinner and lecture at the Catholic Chaplaincy

Tuesday 12th June
Meeting with The Most Rev. Vincent Nichols (Archbishop of Westminster)
Leaving Oxford Railway Station at 7.30am. Morning Coffee with Archbishop Nichols. Lunch in London and a tour of Westminster Cathedral in the afternoon.

Tuesday 15th June
The Rev. Fr. Jerry Hughes SJ and The Rev. Fr. Philip Endean SJ
What is the Point of Being a Jesuit Today?

Saturday 20th June
Garden Party (A joint event with the Catholic Society)
Campion Hall, 3-6pm

Unless otherwise stated meetings take place at The Old Palace (Catholic Chaplaincy), which is located in Rose Place, just off St. Aldates and opposite Christ Church Memorial Gardens.

Speaker dinners are held at 7pm prior to Tuesday evening speaker meetings at a cost of £10 (three courses and wine). Please contact the President by the preceding Monday if you wish to dine.

24 April 2010

Trinity Term 2010

The programme for Trinity Term is now up on the web-site!

A highlight of the term with be the visit of His Eminence Sean Cardinal Brady, who will deliver this term's Thomas More Lecture, celebrate Pontifical Mass, and be present at the termly black-tie dinner.

17 March 2010

Paul Murphy MP delivers Thomas More Lecture

‘The Apostle Paul’ on making politics dull: 
Paul Murphy MP reflects on peace in Ireland

From The Catholic Herald, 19 March 2010 (click here for the original article):

As an architect of the Good Friday Agreement, and subsequently as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Paul Murphy MP played a pivotal role in bringing an end to violence in the province, writes Richard Pickett.

Despite being a practising Catholic he has succeeded in gaining respect from across the political and religious divide and has even won the nickname "the Apostle Paul" from arch-Unionist politician Ian Paisley.

In a recent lecture given to the Oxford University Newman Society Mr Murphy spoke about his role in driving forward the Northern Irish peace process. He told his audience: "My mission is to make politics as dull in Northern Ireland as they are everywhere else."

He said that he hoped the continuing process of devolution of power would bring about a situation in which schools, hospitals, policing and other bread-and-butter concerns would become the principal focus of political activity in the province.

Mr Murphy told the Newman Society that over a 30-year period 3,500 people had been killed out of a population of just one and a half million.

But one of the most remarkable things about recent Northern Irish politics, he said, had been the willingness of age-old enemies to come together in the face of this trauma.

As an avowed Labour politician Mr Murphy joked that he could never bring himself to enter into coalition with the Conservatives.

Despite this, he said that he felt privileged to have worked alongside people who had been able to set aside a painful and often very personal history for the sake of achieving a lasting peace.

The former Secretary of State observed that the role of religion in the conflict has often been mischaracterised.

Although the names Catholic and Protestant are employed as a common shorthand, the real divisions giving rise to violence have always been political.

Differences over national identity, and not religion, he said, have presented the most significant bar to achieving lasting stability.

Mr Murphy then turned to examine the positive role played by the churches in driving forward the desire for peace.

With Sunday church attendance at around 70 per cent of the province's population Northern Ireland remains the most religiously observant part of Britain and the churches wield a significant moral influence.

Mr Murphy said he felt privileged to be part of the Northern Ireland story, but that the real credit must be given to the people [of the province] themselves. His speech was part of a series of lectures put on by the Society [to examine the role plaid by religion in public life. Cardinal George Pell and Francis Campbell, British Ambassador to the Holy See, have given previous lectures in the series].

Photographs by James Bradley  
Click here for the full flickr set.

16 March 2010

Newman's beatification confirmed to take place during Papal State Visit to Britain


16 MARCH 2010, 12 noon


The Fathers and many friends of the English Oratories are delighted by the official announcement that our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI will beatify our founder, the Venerable John Henry Newman, in the Archdiocese of Birmingham during his visit to Britain in September. Newman made his home in the Archdiocese for all his adult life, first in Oxford, where he lived as an Anglican and was received into the Catholic Church, and later in Birmingham itself where he founded and worked in the Birmingham Oratory for over forty years.

The Holy Father's life-long devotion to Newman has made a profound contribution to understanding the depth and significance of our founder's legacy. His decision to beatify Newman in person confers a unique blessing upon the English Oratories and all who have drawn inspiration from Newman's life and work.

We joyfully look forward to welcoming the Holy Father, as well as the many pilgrims and visitors who will come to the Beatification ceremony and visit Newman's shrine at the Birmingham Oratory.

We also look forward to the challenging work of preparing for the Beatification in conjunction with Church and civil authorities. We pray that the Beatification will fittingly reflect both Newman's significance for the Universal Church and the honour paid to our Archdiocese and our country by the Holy Father's presence among us.

Very Rev. Richard Duffield
Provost of the Birmingham Oratory
and Actor of the Cause of John Henry Newman

10 March 2010

Fr. Aidan Nichols Criticises the Critics

A talk which Fr. Aidan Nichols OP gave to the society a few years ago has appeared in print as Chapter I of his most recent book 'Criticising the Critics'.  The chapter is titled 'For Modernists' - not, we hope, a reference to its original audience!

In this book, Fr Aidan Nichols O.P. turns his attention onto contemporary critics of the Catholic Church: those who are inspired by modernist rationalism to reject the supernatural; those who regard the New Age as an acceptable surrogate for the Christian doctrine of salvation; academic theologians who reject the historical and biblical basis for Christianity. Also coming under scrutiny are feminists who see the Church as an expression of a patriarchal society; Protestants who play down Christ’s nature as a priest; progressive Catholics who hesitate about proclaiming the Gospel of Life; those who regard the Church’s sexual ethics as ‘unrealistic’, and critics of Fr Nichols' book The Realm.

Copies can be ordered from Family Publications.

Preface . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1. For Modernists . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
2. For Neo-Gnostics . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . .29
3. For Academic Exegetes . . . . . . . . . . . . .51
4. For Feminists . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
5. For Liberal Protestants . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
6. For Progressive Catholics . . . . .  . . . . .103
7. For the Erotically Absorbed . . . .  . . . .121
8. For Critics of Christendom . . .. . .  . . . 137
Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157

Catholicism — and the Catholic Church at each stage of her history — is always well supplied with critics. When the Church is not all she should be — morally, intellectually, pastorally, aesthetically — such critics will often have useful points to make. And whenever, we may ask, is she all that she should be, short of the Parousia?

Critics essentially both benign and right-thinking are not, however, the only kind of critics that exist. Others, far from benign, may well be intemperate, even irrational, in their passions. Others again, possibly benign, offer their criticisms — whether from without or within — owing to a failure to grasp certain aspects of Catholic truth. This last category includes the critics this book has it in mind to criticise in turn.

I offer here a series of apologias for different facets of the truth of faith and morals held by the Church. The apologias are, it may be said, ill-assorted, and I can hardly deny the claim. It is part and parcel of the present conjuncture that intellectual assaults come from very different quarters at one and the same time. Those considered here are by no means all there are, but they are among those I personally have encountered and sought to answer. The audiences have been very varied — the Oxford Newman Society (Chapter 1); the annual conference of Kirkelig Fornyelse, the umbrella organisation of catholicising movements in Christianity in Norway (Chapter 2); the Walsingham Retreat of the (Anglican) Federation of Catholic Priests (Chapter 3); a summer school of (what became) the International Institute for Culture at Eichstatt in Bavaria (Chapter 4); the international bi-lateral dialogue of the Catholic Church with the Disciples of Christ at Klosterneuburg in Austria (Chapter 5); a day of recollection of the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life (Chapter 6); a conference to the young clergy of the Giffard Society (Chapter 7); the Craigmyle lecture of the Catholic Union (Chapter 8).

With the partial exception of the opening chapter, I have not spent a great deal of time in describing the positions I oppose. I have preferred to concentrate on the positive exposition of Catholic truth. Each chapter might be described as a quid pro quo, an offering appropriate, in its own way, to each of the categories of person involved. Readers of The Lord of the Rings may recall how, after his ‘eleventy-first’ birthday party, Bilbo Baggins left a set of carefully selected and labelled packages for various miscreant family members and friends. Clearing out the hobbit-hole of my room, these essays serve mutatis mutandis a like end.

Finally, I would like to thank Fr Vivian Boland, of the Order of Preachers, for contributing a number of helpful suggestions and corrections.

Blackfriars, Cambridge
Memorial day of St Francis Xavier, 2009

Hat tip: In Hoc Est Veritas.

Pontifical Mass and termly dinner HT10

Our old friend and Past-President, Fr. Tim Finigan, has posted the following report on the termly Mass and dinner on his Hermenutic of Continuity blog:

Yesterday evening the Oxford University Newman Society arranged for Pontifical High Mass at the Oxford Oratory, celebrated by Abbot Cuthbert OSB of Farnborough Abbey. (The photos of Mass are from Joseph Shaw's Flickr set.) I was Assistant Priest, which obliged me to some intensive study of Fortescue since this was the first time that I have acted in this capacity. The MC Yaqoob Bangash directed us all expertly and the choir sang Monteverdi's Mass for four voices as well as Victoria's Te Deum after Mass.

It was an "Et in Arcadia Ego" evening for me since I used to attend daily Mass at St Aloysius as an undergraduate, and lived just round the corner at 14 Wellington Square. Dinner after Mass was at St Benet's Hall and I had the opportunity to meet the Master, Rev J Felix Stephens OSB, a monk of Ampleforth Abbey who was a most gracious and genial host. The Newman Society seems to be thriving and the after-dinner speeches had various arcane references to shenanigans on the committee which, as I commented, were impenetrable to the outsider but all seemed to be good fun. It brought back memories from my own term as President in Hilary 1979.

My rambling as guest speaker was partly (and I hope excusably) taken up with reminiscence of 30 years ago, including the conclave of 1979 and the "Habemus Papam" announcement which I listened to on Vatican Radio in John Hayes' set at Keble. John was always an ardent follower of Vatican affairs and probably one of few people in the world to have exclaimed immediately at the word Carolum "My goodness: it must be Wojtyla!"

After dinner I got to re-visit Keble College for a gathering in the MCR. As ever, it was a little sad to have to take the train back to London after a brief opportunity to catch up with old friends and young friends. One of the men drew my attention to the number of vocations that have come from the Newman Society - a fact to which I had not explicitly adverted before. Long may heart speak to heart in that most venerable of Oxford societies.

For further reports on the Mass see LMS Chairman Blog and Rorate Caeli.

4 March 2010


Conor Gannon of Wolfson College, Junior Officer, has been appointed as next term’s President.

Tim Sherwin of Merton College, Treasurer, has been elected unopposed as President-Elect.  He will be President in MT10.

Next term Hubert MacGreevy of St. Peter's College, President, will continue to sit on the Executive Committee as a Past-President.

Demelza Shaw of All Souls has been co-opted to the Executive Committee as a Junior Officer.

Congratulations to them all!

3 March 2010

Bishop Andrew Bernham speaks about realising Pope Benedict's vision for Angican unity

Last Tuesday Dr. Andrew Bernham, the Anglican Bishop of Ebbsflet, addressed the Newman Society on the subject of Pope Benedict XVI's Apsotolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.  Dr. Joseph Shaw, Tutor in Philosophy at St. Benet's Hall, reports on the talk in his blog:

Last night Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet, addressed a packed meeting of the Newman Society on the subject of Anglicanorum Coetibus. I was there. (Picture: Bishop Burnham is introduced by the President of Newman Society, Hubert MacGreevy)

Andrew Burnham is the Anglican Bishop of Ebbsfleet and one of the 'flying bishops' who has been ministering to Anglicans who can't accept the ordination of women since these ordinations were authorised in England in 1994. He and his fellow 'flying bishops' administer a third of the country each, looking after any parishes who sign up for this.

I don't intend to give a summary of his talk but here are a few of the things he said.


First of all, the Apostolic Constitution on the Anglicans was a response to discussions he had with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and also with Cardinal Kaspar of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Chrisian Unity about two years before it was published. It is also a response to discussions between Rome and the Traditional Anglican Communion, and no doubt other groups and individuals, but in no sense is the English 'Forward in Faith' / 'flying bishop' set-up a side issue for the Apostolic Constitution.

When he was first ordained in the Anglican church the 'Anglo-Papalist' position was to recognise the Pope and work to re-unite Anglicanism with him. This was not such an extravagent view since the ARCIC talks seemed to be heading in this direction, but eventually the issue of the ordination of women pulled Anglicanism the other way. When he was made a 'flying bishop' he did so on the understanding that he would be continuing this stalled ecumenical project.

Since 1994 he has worked to create a sense of community among the very idiosyncratic and geographically scattered Anglo-Catholic parishes under his care. A good deal of progress has been made, making it much more likely that a good proportion of them will be able to come over to full communion with Rome as a body. His ideal would naturally be that they all came over, but this is clearly not going to happen.

He was very interesting on the subject of how the typical Anglo-Catholic parish is similar to, and different from, a Catholic one. Anglo-Catholic parishes tend not to have medieval buildings; they are the successors of the High Anglicans who built churches for the unchurched poor in the growing cities of the 19th Century. Their liturgy tends to be the 1970 Missal in English, distinguished outwardly from that of a Catholic parish mainly by the hymns. But they do have a different attitude to church-going: whereas a Catholic, at least a serious-minded one, will go to great lengths to get to some Mass or other on a Sunday if things disrupt his usual routine, an Anglo-Catholic who can't make the usual 9.30 service won't bother going to something else instead. They are very attached to their physical church, and lack the sense of 'Sunday obligation'. The attachment to the church, as has often been pointed out, will be a sticking point for many in joining an Ordinariate.

He was cautious not to make any promises about what he or anyone else would do, and when, but is was clear enough that he is going to join the Ordinariate and will be bringing others with him. Nothing will happen until the Anglican Synod debate on provision for Anglo-Catholics when women are ordained to the episcopate: he said he didn't want to go down in history as the man who scuppered the chances of a good deal for Anglo-Catholics staying in the Anglican Communion.

On the Ordinariate itself, he said that what happened after 1994 was that Anglican clergy who wanted to 'swim the Tiber' and become Catholic priests received three years' training before ordination. This created the problem that by the time they were back in circulation the Anglican laity who might have gone with them had dispersed. The key issue with the Ordinariate is to make possible the continuity of the communities and pastors so that whole groups will be able to come accross together.


Bishop Burnham spoke with great fluency and charm, in a witty and self-deprecating way, and without notes. His talk was less than an hour long and there are many issues which he didn't settle, but it gave the audience many important insights into the situation.

As I have written before [Dr. Shaw is Chairman of the Latin Mass Society], the conversion of groups of Anglicans is a matter of great interest to Traditionally-minded Catholics, for a number of reasons, not all of which may seem obvious.

First, the Anglican converts we have seen since 1994 and, come to that, since 1558, have been a huge boon to the Church, in terms of their talents and zeal; many convert clergy have come to the Latin Mass Society's Priest Training Conferences.

Second, the existence of an Ordinariate with a certain Anglican spirit and its own hierarchy is itself exciting. I do not accept the argument often made by Anglicans that 'if England is to be Christian again, it will only be in the uniquely English way represented by Anglicanism': Edmund Campion, Richard Challoner, and Pugin are quite English enough, to my mind. Nevertheless, the Ordinariate will clearly remove psychological obstacles to conversion for many Anglicans, and that is a good thing.

Third, it will create a degree of legimate diversity in the English Catholic Church which will be healthy. Fr Aidan Nichols OP argued forcefully at the LMS Priest Training Conference at London Colney last Summer that we need to recover a sense of legitimate diversity. In the past the Catholic Church was far more characterised by a diversity of Missals and also by jurisdictional complexity than it is today. The monolithic Post-Vatican II uniformity of the Church has in many ways been stifling.

Whether or not they make use of the 'Anglican Use' based on the Book of Common Prayer, parishes in the Ordinariate will have far fewer qualms about allowing the Traditional Mass. And they will also serve as a model of jurisdictional diversity, of a very similar kind to that proposed for Traditional Catholics in the context of the reconciliation of the SSPX.

So we await developments with interest!

Former Northern Ireland Secretary to deliver Thomas More Lecture

‘Religion in the public square’

The Rt. Hon. Paul Murphy, MP
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 2002 - 2005
Catholicism and the Northern Ireland Peace Process

Tuesday 9th March, Catholic Chaplaincy, 8.30pm 

The inaugural series of Thomas More Lectures is examining the role of religion in public life and discourse. As the Western World increasingly identifies itself as 'post-believing', can Christianity continue to play an effective role promoting the common good in the public forum?

The previous lectures in this series were given by Cardinal George Pell and Francis Campbell, British Ambassador to the Holy See.  They examined the positive role which religion can play in public life.  Last term's Thomas More Debate between Bishop John Arnold and Even Harris MP illustrated the challenges presented to religious communities in the face of increasing secularism.

In this lecture Paul Murphy, the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, will address the historic challenges presented by religious affiliation in the province. He will argue that instead of seeing faith as the problem, we can find in it the building blocks to take forward peaceful and constructive dialogue.

Further details about the Thomas More Lectures, including the text of past lectures, can be found here.

Paul Murphy - Biography
Paul Murphy has been Labour MP for Torfaen since 1987. He has served twice as Secretary of State for Wales; from 1999 until 2002 and most recently under Prime Minister Gordon Brown from January 2008 until June 2009. Upon leaving the Cabinet, he was elected British Co-Chair of the British-Irish Assembly.

He was previously Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from October 2002 until May 2005. When he was last Secretary of State, Paul Murphy was also Minister for Digital Inclusion, and given responsibility for overseeing the British-Irish Council and the joint ministerial committees. He has also chaired Cabinet committees on Local Government and the Regions, and on data security and information assurance.

In May 2005, Paul Murphy was appointed Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee, serving until his re-appointment to the Cabinet in 2008.

Paul Murphy was Minister of State for Northern Ireland with responsibility for Political Development from 1997 to 1999, acting as Mo Mowlam's deputy in the talks that culminated in the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. In 1999, he was named 'Minister to Watch' at the Spectator Parliamentary Awards.

In opposition, he served as Shadow Welsh Office Minister (1988-1994), Shadow Minister for Northern Ireland, Shadow Foreign Office Minister and Shadow Minister for Defence.

Paul Murphy was born in 1948 and was educated at St Francis Roman Catholic School in Abersychan, West Monmouth School in Pontypool and Oriel College, Oxford. He was a management trainee with the CWS, before becoming a lecturer in Government and History at Ebbw Vale College of Further Education.

Mr. Murphy joined the Labour Party at the age of fifteen. He is also a member of Unite, formerly the Transport and General Workers Union. He was Secretary of the Pontypool/Torfaen Constituency Labour Party from 1971 to 1987. Mr. Murphy was a member of Torfaen Council from 1973 to 1987 and was Chair of its Finance Committee from 1976 to 1986. He contested Wells Constituency in Somerset in the 1979 General Election.

Mr. Murphy was made a Papal Knight of St. Gregory in 1997, a Privy Counsellor in 1999, and an Honorary Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, in 2000. He was Visiting Parliamentary Fellow of St. Anthony's College, Oxford from 2006 to 2007 and in 2009 was made a Fellow of Glyndwr University, Wrexham.

Mr. Murphy's leisure interests include classical music and cooking.

(Biographical text adapted from Paul Murphy's website)

28 February 2010

Termly Mass and dinner

The termly Mass will take place at the Oxford Oratory on Monday 8th March at 7.15pm. The Mass will be a solemn Mass in the 'extraordinary form' and will be celebrated by the Abbot of Farnborough (NB Not the Abbot of Belmont, as previously scheduled).

The society is grateful to the Latin Mass Society, the St. Catherine of Sienna Trust, and Mr. Julian Chadwick for their generosity in sponsoring the music (which should be excellent) and other expenses associated with the Mass.

The termly black-tie dinner will follow after Mass and will take place at Benet’s Hall at 8.30pm. The cost is £40 (members), £45 (non-members). Cheques are payable to ‘Oxford Newman Society’. RSVP to Mr. President: newman @ herald.ox.ac.uk.

27 February 2010

Dom Anthony Sutch on Catholic education

At the society's meeting this week the former Headmaster of Downside, Dom Antony Sutch OSB, spoke on Catholic education, not just in schools, but in the wider world. His talk took the form of a lively discussion for the last twenty minutes, in which was discussed the matter of teaching the faith to one's children and the need to educate others in the world around us about the faith.

20 February 2010

Re-reading Shakespeare

Last Tuesday, 16th February, the independent Catholic academic, Claire, Viscountess Asquith of Oxford addressed the Newman Society on the Catholic readings behind Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. Viscountess Asquith shed light on this highly dramatic, but complex tragedy, drawing on the language and symbolism of the play that reflected the brutal world of 1590s Elizabethan England. Her argument was stimulating as both an historical insight into violent, troubled era of religious persecution, and also as a spiritual reflection upon the cruelties carried out both by and upon Catholics in past centuries.

Newman Society stars in major BBC series

Well, not quite.  The BBC's excellent Our Man in the Vatican series follows a year in the life of Francis Campbell, HM Ambassador to the Holy See.  If you look very carefully at around 11.50 in episode one you can see the society's recent invitation letter on his desk.  Woo!  Hurry, the programme expires on the iPlayer in just 19 days!

Francis Campbell delivered our second Thomas More Lecture on the subject of 'Faith and Foreign Policy' back in May.  The text of his lecture appears here on the Foreign Office website. 

17 February 2010

Cardinal Pell visits Newman's Oratory at Birmingham

During Cardinal Pell's visit to the society last year some of our members accompanied him on a trip to the Birmingham Oratory.  The following report has recently gone up on the Bishops Conference's web-site.

Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, took the opportunity during a visit to England to make a short private visit to the Oratory House in Edgbaston, opened by Cardinal Newman in 1852, writes Peter Jennings.

Cardinal Pell was shown the shrine of Cardinal Newman's remains in the Oratory Church, visited Newman's Library and celebrated Mass in Latin at the altar in Newman's Room, on Thursday, 5 March.

Fr Paul Chavasse, Provost of the Birmingham Oratory and Actor of the Newman Cause, showed the Australian visitor Cardinal Newman's galero - the famous red hat once given to new Cardinals by the Pope.

Cardinal Pell shared his thoughts about his first visit to the house where Cardinal Newman spent much of his Catholic life: "I was profoundly moved. I thought it was deeply significant that Cardinal Newman's desk and chapel were together in the same room. All of his work was very much of a unity and I prayed that a smidgen of his ability to preach the word of God effectively to his contemporaries would pass to me.

"I noticed that there was a crucifix in front of me as I stood at the altar. I always find this a big help to recollection in celebrating Mass. This is the same at every altar where Mass is celebrated but is especially true of the altar where Cardinal Newman celebrated Mass."

Asked about Newman's beatification, Cardinal Pell replied: "I would very much like to see Cardinal John Henry Newman beatified. All of his many admirers would like to see this happen soon."

Asked about the significance of such a beatification, the Australian prelate emphasised: "Cardinal Newman knew well the two worlds of learning, Catholic and Secular. We need his memory and example to inspire many other Catholic writers and preachers today."

Cardinal Pell added: "Their task is to explore the opportunities now open to us to explain the Christian message - the romance of orthodoxy - to the many people throughout the world who are uneasy and searching."

At the end of his visit to Newman's Room, Cardinal Pell wrote in the visitors book: "A special thanks for the privilege of celebrating Holy Mass in this room where the work of the Kingdom was carried forward so wonderfully."

Cardinal George Pell was in Oxford (4-7 March) at the invitation of the Newman Society of Oxford University, to deliver the inaugural Thomas More Lecture on the subject: "Varieties of Intolerance - Secular and Religious." (Friday, 6 March).

Cardinal Pell also visited Newman's two Oxford Colleges, Oriel and Trinity.

During a previous visit to England the Cardinal had visited Littlemore, where Newman was received into the Catholic Church on 9 October 1845, by Fr (now Blessed) Dominic Barberi.

Phogrographs by Peter Jennings

10 February 2010

Fr. Timothy Radcliffe calls for compassionate Catholicism

Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP, the former world wide Master of the Dominicans, addressed an audience of sixty at the Newman Society on the theme of 'Being a Christian in the 21st Century'. He spoke movingly about the significance of the Trinity as a realisation of God's love for humanity, and the importance of dialogue on this basis. At the heart of his talk lay the core theme of the Church as both a dynamic, relevant force in the world today, which still adheres to ancient tradition and principles. Fr Timothy spoke about the Catholic's life being enriched by the appreciation of both, and how this in turn fosters a greater understanding and compassion towards those of other faiths.

8 January 2010

Events for Hilary Term 2010

Tuesday 19th January from 8.30pm
Start of Term Drinks Party
Join us in the Blue Room at the Chaplaincy for free drinks and canapés. All are welcome. If you are interested in becoming a member or simply want to learn more, please do come along.

Tuesday 26th January, 8.30pm
Mr. Charles Moore
The role of the Church in modern British society
Charles Moore, renowned Catholic journalist, former editor of the Telegraph and Spectator, and chairman of Policy Exchange, will be speaking about the role of Catholicism in modern society.

Tuesday 2nd February, 8.30pm
Speaker to be announced

Tuesday 9th February, 8.30pm
The Most Rev. Timothy Radcliffe, OP
Being a Christian in the twenty-first century
Father Timothy Radcliffe, former Master of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), is one of the most renowned British Catholic theologians. He will be speaking on Christianity today, from a Dominican perspective.

Tuesday 16th February, 8.30pm
Viscountess Asquith
Catholic readings behind Shakespeare’s ‘Titus Andronicus’
Clare Asquith, the author of Shadowplay, will be talking about the Catholic background behind Shakespeare’s most bloody and violent play, and explaining thereby, why the Shakespeare wrote the play as he did.

Tuesday 23rd February, 8.30pm
Dom Anthony Sutch, OSB
Catholic education in schools today
Father Anthony Sutch, former headmaster of Downside School, and now a regular speaker on ‘Thought for the Day’, will be speaking about Catholic education, drawing on his own experience as a headmaster.
Tuesday 2nd March, 8.30pm
Dr. Andrew Burnham, SSC, Anglican Bishop of Ebbsfleet
Coming Over to Rome - Realising ‘Anglicanorum Coetibus’
As one of the most enthusiastic leaders in the Anglican Communion regarding the Holy Father’s invitation to Anglo-Catholics to ‘come over’ to Rome, his Lordship will speak about the situation faced by High Church Anglicans in the wake of the Pope’s recent Apostolic Constitution.

Monday 8th March
Pontifical Mass and termly black-tie dinner
Celebrant and after-dinner speaker:
The Rt. Rev. Paul Stonham, OSB, Abbot of Belmont
The termly Mass will be a Pontifical Mass in the ‘extraordinary form’ celebrated by the Abbot of Belmont. The Mass will take place at the Oxford Oratory at 7.00pm and will be followed by our termly black-tie dinner, which will be held at at St. Benet’s Hall. More details will be given out by the President nearer the time. To reserve a place at the dinner e-mail: newman@herald.ox.ac.uk.

Tuesday 9th March
The Rt. Hon. Paul Murphy, MP
Catholicism and the Northern Ireland Peace Process
Paul Murphy, Labour Member of Parliament for Torfaen and Pontypool, played a major role in the Northern Ireland peace process, as Minister of State for Northern Ireland from 1997-99. As a Catholic politician, he will be talking about his role in helping to resolve an era of sectarian violence.