Catholic Theology in Britain: the scene since Vatican II - part 1
Catholic Theology in Britain: the Scene since Vatican II
Aidan Nichols OP
Let us enumerate the institutions where a specifically Catholic syllabus is adhered to in the
construction of courses, the definition of research topics, the mounting of special events, and where such institutions
understand their task as being at the service of the wider mission of the Church. The Seminaries come to mind first.
Whether through lack of corporate self-confidence, or the demands of pastoralia, they have not, in recent times,
produced the kind of comprehensive studies of theological doctrine which are necessary for the intellectual good
of the Church. Nor perhaps could they, in the form of - in Newman's words - a genuine conspiratio of clergy and laity, without some damage to their primary vocation-the training of priests. The single
Pontifical Athenaeum, Heythrop, with its transfer from Oxfordshire to the University of London in 1970, put its
pontifical identity into cold storage, since which time, two souls - one the idea of a tertiary institution witnessing
to the Catholic intellectual tradition, the other an ecumenical approximation to a State faculty - have struggled
for mastery in its breast. The theology departments of the Catholic teachers' training college might be more hopeful,
insofar as they tend to cater for a more confessionally Catholic body of students than those colleges do at large,
but they suffer from pressure of excessive work, caused in part by the over-heavy bureaucratic procedures the State
lays on them, as well as anxieties over funding and spiritual identity. Those larger religious communities that
can boast a reasonable number of well-trained personnel - one thinks of in the past and present, Blackfriars Oxford,
and in the future, perhaps, Ampleforth - can do something, but evidently such an enterprise should not be confined
to a single Order or monastery. The proliferation of small centres of Catholic studies - the von Hügel Institute
at Cambridge, the Centre for Marian Studies at Ushaw, the Margaret Beaufort Institute at Cambridge, the Centre
for Faith and Culture now based at Plater College, Oxford, shows there is a demand for a more coherent and corporate,
ecclesially self-conscious, practice of Catholic theological reflection and writing, but of the four I have mentioned,
the first two are limited by their chosen themes - social theology in the first case, Mariology in the second,
and the third by gender (women only), while the fourth, with its wider purview, inspired by the nouvelle théologie of de Lubac and Balthasar, as well as G. K. Chesterton,
and taking its stand on the helpful thesis that doctrine, worship and social ethics form an inseparable whole,
lives from hand to mouth on the foundation of the most skeletal of infrastructures. Writing under correction, it
seems that the only place in England which offers a complete course in Catholic theology to degree level is the
Maryvale Institute, a work of the archdiocese of Birmingham, whose baccalaureate in theology is validated by the
Pontifical Faculty of St Patrick's College, Maynooth. Maryvale's 'distance learning' procedures, however, do not
require - indeed, militate against - the formation of a body of teachers, thinkers, writers, scholars and researchers
who would be, by vocation, on the spot. In
this perspective, the failure to convert St Edmund's House, Cambridge, a recognised house of study in the care
of the hierarchy of England and Wales, into a centre of church-oriented research, writing, and teaching and its
development as (in effect) a secular College of the University of Cambridge can be accounted little less than a
disaster for the Catholic Church in England.
Unless the recent proposal by Dr Gavin D'Costa of the Theology Department at Bristol whereby
the State faculties would gradually be allowed to crystallise out into different theological formations more or
less representing the variety of specific religious traditions found in the country at large were widely welcomed
by academy and State (and at a time when even non-confessional
academic theology is not exactly easy to justify it is difficult to think of this as anything but a political non-starter),
the need which Illtyd Trethowan identified over fifty years ago, in the pages of the Downside
Review for 1947, remains as acute as ever it was.
There should be in England a Catholic faculty for theology and its ancillary and related
disciplines, a faculty serving the mission of the entire Church (not least of the episcopate), contextualised in
a setting of liturgical and spiritual effort (it would be ideal to have a contemplative monastery, whether of women
or of men, using the paradigm Latin liturgy of the Western Church, at its heart), and articulating a theological
doctrine which the Church herself would not disown. As chronicled by Denis Chiles, outgoing principal of Plater
College, Oxford (the erstwhile 'Catholic Working Men's College', now an institution in search of a rationale),
the first steps taken toward such an entity, by a group of laity and clergy, under the provisional title of the
Newman Institute of Catholic Studies, met with no favour, alas, from the educational committee of the English and
Welsh bishops. Their proposal for the part use of Plater's facilities was simply turned down: 'no reason', Dr Chiles
reports, 'was ever given'. Good reasons there
may have been. If so, they would not include, I submit, any superfluity attaching in principle to the project itself.
Karl Rahner asked that the theology of the next century be at once missionary and mystagogical. To render what
Catholic theologians and scholars have already achieved since the Second Vatican Council even more fruitful for
the Church in England in the next century some setting more conducive to such mission and mystagogy-in a word,
some more ecclesial setting should be provided. This will not of course guarantee that people will write great
theology; but it will provide, insofar as human ingenuity under grace can, the conditions in which a more comprehensive
Catholic theology could optimally be produced.
Such a modest yet not insignificant proposal would I think have the blessing of Newman in whose
one time home this material was originally presented. It would bring together those elements, intellectual, mystical
and institutional, which Baron von Hügel drew out of Newman's 'Preface' to the Via
Media, and not fall foul of the doubts which, after the fiasco of his Dublin years,
afflicted Newman when he wondered whether the idea of a Catholic University-a total reflection of knowledge in
its full differentiation-might after all be only a 'speculative perfection'. And that is ad
rem, for we have in modern English Catholicism no model more pervasively present
than Newman, no theologian reference to whom occurs more widely among the different kinds of writer or teacher
I have mentioned or described. Someone might object, - yet Newman was no systematician. Granted, but as Fr Ian
Ker has abundantly shown, one can draw from Newman's work a world which displays the 'fulness of Christianity',
a Catholicism that carries the Gospel in plenary form.
Bene notandum: I gratefully acknowledge the help of Fr Robert
Murray, S. J., and Fr Fergus Kerr, O. P., editor of New Blackfriars, in compiling this survey, which makes no claim to exhaustiveness, in respect either of figures mentioned,
or of their published work. An earlier version was given as a lecture at a study day with Fr Avery Dulles, S. J.,
at the Maryvale Institute, Birmingham in November 1997.
1 J. Coulson (ed.), Theology and the University: An Ecumenical Investigation (London 1963). For the setting, see B. Sharratt,
'English Roman Catholicism in the 1960s', in A. Hastings
(ed.), Bishops and Writers. Aspects of the Evolution of Modern English Catholicism (Wheathampstead, Herts., 1977), pp. 127-158.
2 B. C. Butler (O. S. B.), The Originality of St Matthew
(Cambridge 1957); Spirit and Institution in the New Testament (London 1961)-exegesis; The Idea of the Church
(London 1962); The Church and Unity (London 1979)-ecclesiology; Prayer. An Adventure in Living (London 1961; 1983)-spirituality; The Church and Infallibility (London 1954); Why
Christ? (London 1960); An Approach to Christianity (London 1981)-apologetics.
3 Idem., The Theology of Vatican II (London 1967; 19812).
4 For his intellectual autobiography, see idem., A Time to Speak (Southend-on-Sea 1972); see also Searching. Essays and Studies (London 1974).
5 C. Davis, Liturgy and Doctrine. The Doctrinal Basis of the Liturgical Movement (London 1960); The Study of Theology (London
1962); The Making of a Christian (London 1964).
6 For his 'post-Catholic' theology, see e.g. Christ and the World Religions (London 1970); The Temptations of Religion
(London 1973); Body as Spirit. The Nature of Religious Feeling (London 1976). Davis returned quietly to the practice of Catholicism in the 1990s.
7 As well as writing studies of general topics in (especially) the philosophy of mind-Action,
Emotion and Will (London 1963; 1966); The Anatomy of
the Soul. Historical Essays on the Philosophy of Mind (Oxford 1973); Will, Freedom and Power (Oxford 1975), Kenny showed an enduring fascination
with the giants of the Catholic philosophical tradition-Descartes. A Study of his Philosophy
(New York 1968); The Five Ways. St Thomas Aquinas's Proofs
of God's Existence (London 1969); Thomas More (Oxford 1983). He hovered between obsessed ex-believer-Faith and Reason (New York 1983); God and Two Poets: Arthur Hugh Clough and Gerard Manley
Hopkins (London 1988); What is Faith? Essays in the Philosophy
of Religion (Oxford 1992), and servant of secular academe
and State: A Life in Oxford (London 1997); The Ivory
Tower. Essays in Philosophy and Public Policy (Oxford 1988).
8 C. Davis, A Question of Conscience (London 1967); A. Kenny, A Path from Rome. An Autobiography (London 1985).
9 A. Hastings, A History of English Christianity, 1920-1985 (London
1986), pp. 574-575.
10 J. Coulson, Newman and the Common Tradition (Oxford
1970); Religion and Imagination (Oxford 1981). Coulson's
own legacy was the creation of the 'Newman Fellowship Trusts',
earlier the Downside Fellowship at the University of Bristol, and presently held by Dr Carolyn Muessig, an expert
on mediaeval monastic preaching. I am grateful to Abbot Charles Fitzgerald-Lombard of Downside for this information.
A very different appeal to the English literary scene is constituted by the Tolkienesque inspiration of Rosemary
Haughton, Tales from Eternity. The World of Faerie and the Spiritual Search (London 1973); The Passionate God (London 1981).
11 B. Wicker, Culture and Liturgy (London 1963)-with
appeal to D. H. Lawrence, Dickens, George Eliot, Hardy, Morris, T. S. Eliot, Orwell. Important influences were
Raymond Williams and E. P. Thompson, a remark of whose William Morris. Romantic to
Revolutionary (London 1955)-'Morris has not sufficiently emphasized the ideological
role of art, its active agency in changing human beings and society as a whole, its agency in man's class-divided
society'-quoted in Culture and Liturgy, op. cit., p.
141, provides the marching orders whereby these figures are rallied. Culture and Theology.
A Sketch for Contemporary Christianity (London 1966) adds Golding to the writers'
gallery but appeals more widely to social theorists (Marx, Marcuse); anthropologists of religion (Eliade, van der
Leuuw); and philosophers (Merleau-Ponty, Wittgenstein).
12 M. Kenny, The First New Left. British Intellectuals after Stalin (London 1995); and for the Second New Left-and more widely-D. Widgery, The
Left in Britain, 1956-1968 (Harmondsworth 1976). A Catholic comment from a fairly
balanced standpoint was J. M. Cameron, 'The New Left in Britain', The Listener 64. 1641 (8. 9. 1960), pp. 367-368. Those Catholics who gravitated towards the New Left
did so for a variety of motives-reaction to what was perceived as the accommodationism of German Catholicism under
Nazi rule; the hostility to the British Establishment aroused by the Suez Crisis; the nuclear arms issue which
in the 1980s would unite Catholic radicals with the more rigorous of the orthodox moralists. From the standpoint
of the late 1990s it seems a considerable waste of energies, an example of the excessive diversion of Christian
talent into non-virtuous theories and practice of justice via ideological schemes. Yet some of the ideas produced
may prove recuperable: see, e.g. B. Wicker, First the Political Kingdom. A Personal
Appraisal of the Catholic Left (London 1967); T. Eagleton, The
Body as Language (London 1970).
13 B. Wicker, The Story-Shaped World. Fiction and Metaphysics: some Variations on a
Theme (London 1975).
14 Already there is attention to literary tropes in N. Lash, Newman on Development (London 1975); indicative are such later titles as Doing Theology on Dover
Beach (London 1979), with a reference to Arnold; Easter
in Ordinary. Reflections on Human Experience and the Knowledge of God (London 1988),
with a reference to Herbert.
15 C. Ernst, Multiple Echo. Explorations in Theology,
edited by F. Kerr and T. Radcliffe (London 1979), offers a representative set of soundings in his thought.
16 F. Kerr (O.P.), Immortal Longings. Versions of Transcending Humanity (London 1997). Via philosophers, the book considers literary 'versions' of transcendence (or anti-transcendence)
in for instance Samuel Beckett, Blake, Dante, Henry James, Shakespeare, while Iris Murdoch, a major voice in the
work, can count as both thinker and imaginative writer.
17 P. Sherry, Spirit and Beauty: An Introduction to Theological Aesthetics (Oxford 1992). Sherry arrived at this topic by way of Wittgenstein-idem.,
Religion, Truth and Language-Games (London 1977)-and anthropology, as represented
in his Spirit, Saints and Immortality (London 1984).
18 F. A. Murphy, Christ the Form of Beauty. A Study in Theology and Literature (Edinburgh 1995).
19 J. Martin Soskice, Metaphor and Religious Language
(Oxford 1985); idem., 'Sight and Vision in Medieval Christian Thought, in T. Brennan and M. Jay (ed.), Vision in Context (London 1996).
20 M. Bell, F. R. Leavis (London 1988) makes at more sustained length the comparison with Heidegger suggested by
Fergus Kerr in 'Liberation and Contemplativity', New
Blackfriars 50.587 (1969), pp. 356-366, and 'Resolution and Community', idem. 50.589 (1969), pp. 471-482.
21 Kenny would go on to develop his own view of the sage in Wittgenstein (London 1973), and The Legacy of Wittgenstein
(Oxford 1984). As a literary executor of Wittgenstein's corpus, Professor G. E. M. Anscombe would play a major
role as translator and interpreter of his work: especially in re Remarks on the Foundations
of Mathematics (Oxford 1956); Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (London 1959), Notebooks 1914-1916 (London
1961), Philosophical Investigations (Oxford 1963), and
Zettel (Oxford 1967).
22 For McCabe see H. McCabe, O. P., The New Creation
(London 1964); Law, Love and Language (London 1968),
and God Matters (London 1987).
23 F. Kerr (O. P.), Theology after Wittgenstein (Oxford
24 Idem., Theology after Wittgenstein (London 19972),
25 G. E. M. Anscombe and P. T. Geach, Three Philosophers
(Oxford 1961); P. T. Geach, God and the Soul (London
1969); G. E. M. Anscombe, Intention (Oxford 1957); P.
T. Geach, Providence and Evil (Cambridge 1977); idem.,
The Virtues (Cambridge 1977). A sense of their shared
achievement can be gauged from their Festschriften, C. Diamond and J. Teichman (eds.), Intention
and Intentionality. Essays in Honour of G.E.M. Anscombe (Brighton 1979); H. A. Lewis
(ed.), Peter Geach: Philosophical Encounters (Dordrecht,
Boston, London 1991) and L. Gormally (ed.), Moral Thought and Moral Tradition. Essays
in Honour of Peter Geach and Elizabeth Anscombe (Dublin 1994).
26 P. McMylor, Alasdair MacIntyre. Critic of Modernity
(London 1994); J. Horton and S. Mendus (eds.), b (Oxford 1994).
27 P. T. Geach, Mental Acts (London 1957); Reference and Generality. An Examination of Some Mediaeval and Modern Theories
(New York 1962; 19803); Logic Matters (Oxford 1972);
Reason and Argument (Oxford 1976); note also his translations
(with M. Black) from Frege's philosophical writings (Oxford 1952); M. Dummett, Intuitionist
Mathematics and Logic (Oxford 1974-1975); Elements of
Intuitionism (Oxford 1977); Truth and other Enigmas (London 1978); The Interpretation of Frege's Philosophy (London 1981); Frege. Philosophy and Language
28 D. Braine, The Reality of Time and the Existence of God: the Project of Proving
God's Existence (Oxford 1988); The Human Person, Animal
and Spirit (London 1993). Braine's 'reconstruction of epistemology', the third part
of his master-work, is still to appear.
29 B. Davies (O.P.), An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (Oxford 1982); Thinking about God (London 1985);
C. J. F. Williams, What is Truth? (Cambridge 1976); What is Existence? (Oxford 1981); What is Identity? (Oxford 1989); Being, Identity and Truth (Oxford
1992); J. J. Haldane (with J. J. C. Smart), Atheism and Theism (Oxford 1996). See also their common intellectual ancestor: G. E. M. Anscombe and P. T. Geach, 'Aquinas' in Three Philosophers, op. cit., pp. 65-125.
30 'A Bibliography of the Publications of Dom Illtyd Trethowan', Downside Review 95. 320 (1977), pp. 157-163; A. Baxter, 'Illtyd Trethowan as Thinker: An Appreciation', ibid., 112. 387
(1994), pp. 75-87. Insofar as Trethowan had English successors in looking to Augustine for philosophical inspiration,
these were mediated in part by Lonergan, Hugo Meynell (who, however, moved to Canada), God
and the World. The Coherence of Christian Theism (London 1971); An Introduction to the Philosophy of Bernard Lonergan (London 1976), and,
taken neat from the historical sources John Rist (a convert to Catholicism while teaching in Canada), Augustine. Ancient Thought Baptized (Cambridge 1994). They differed, though,
from Trethowan by their considerable continuing indebtedness to the English analytic school.
31 G. E. M. Anscombe, 'Twenty Opinions common among Anglo-American Philosophers, in A. Ansaldo (ed.), Persona, verità e morale (Rome 1986), pp. 49-50.
32 J. Milbank, Theology and Social Theory (Oxford 1990);
The Word Made Strange. Theology, Language, Culture (Oxford
33 G. Loughlin, Telling God's Story, Bible, Church and Narrative Theology (Cambridge 1995).
34 J. Milbank, C. Pickstock, G. Ward (eds.) Radical Orthodoxy. A New Theology (London 1999). The vision of the history of philosophy found in these writers is sometimes idiosyncratic.
A more dispassionate account has been made available to English Catholics by F. C. Copleston, the Heythrop Jesuit,
volumes of whose A History of Philosophy, begun in 1946,
continued to appear throughout the Conciliar period and beyond.
35 B. Orchard (O. S. B.), The Griesbach Solution to the Synoptic Question (Manchester 19772); A Synopsis of the Four Gospels in Greek (Edinburgh 1983). H. Wansbrough (O. S. B.), Event and Interpretation (London 1967); Theology in St Paul (Cork 1968);
Risen from the Dead (Slough 1978); The Lion and the Bull (London 1996); (ed.) Jesus
and the Oral Gospel Tradition (Sheffield 1991).
36 J. McHugh, The Mother of Jesus in the New Testament
(London 1975). Canon McHugh is using his retirement to produce a long matured commentary on St John's Gospel for
the International Critical Commentary. Earnests of what is to come are, idem., '"In Him was Life". John's
Gospel and the Parting of the Ways', in J. D. G. Dunn (ed.), Jews and Christians. The
Parting of the Ways, A. D. 70 to 135 (Tübingen 1992), pp. 123-158, and '"Behold
your Mother". Reflections on John 19. 25-27', in W. McLoughlin, O. S. M., and J. Pinnock (eds.), Mary for Everyone (Leominster 1997), pp. 2-14. The invitation to McHugh
from the International Critical Commentary serves to mark the distance travelled by English Catholic biblical scholarship
since 1966 when it was content to produce in the Jerusalem Bible, a translation of the French Bible de Jérusalem of 1956, a peg on which to hang baskets of fruits gleaned from the efforts of exegetes elsewhere. In notable
contrast, the New Jerusalem Bible of 1985 with Wansbrough
as general editor was a translation from out of the original languages.
37 R. Murray, The Cosmic Covenant. Biblical Themes of Justice, Peace and the Integrity
of Creation (London 1992); see also idem., 'Hebrew Bible,
Jewish Scriptures, Christian Old Testament', The Month CCLIX. 1572 (1998), pp. 468-474.
38 Idem., Symbols of Church and Kingdom; A Study in Early Syriac Tradition (Cambridge 1975).
39 Idem., 'Maurice Bévenot, Scholar and Ecumenist, 1897-1980', Heythrop Journal XXIII (1982), pp. 1-17 (with bibliography by J. S. Poole following at pp. 18-29).
40 E. Yarnold, S. J., The Awe-inspiring Rites of Initiation. Baptismal Homilies of
the Fourth Century (Slough 1971).
41 A. Meredith, The Cappadocians (London 1995); Gregory of Nyssa (London 1998).
42 T. Weinandy, O. F. M. Cap., The Father's Spirit of Sonship. Reconceiving the Trinity (Edinburgh 1995); E. Hill, O. P., 'St Augustine's De Trinitate: The Doctrinal Significance of its Structure', Revue des Etudes augustiniennes 19 (1973), pp. 277-286; see also idem., The Mystery of the Trinity (London 1985), and, especially, Fr Edmund's translation of Augustine, The
Trinity (New York 1991).
43 E. John, Orbis Britanniae, and other studies (Leicester
1966); H. Mayr-Harting, The Coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England (London 1972).
44 J. Scarisbrick, The Reformation and the English People
(Oxford 1984); E. Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars. Traditional Religion in England
1400-1580 (New Haven and London 1992); R. Rex, The Theology
of John Fisher (Cambridge 1991); Henry VIII and the English
Reformation (London 1993).
45 J Bossy, The English Catholic Community 1570-1850 (London
1976); V. A. McClelland, Cardinal Manning. His Public Life and Influence, 1865-92 (London 1962); English Roman Catholics and Higher Education, 1830-1903 (Oxford 1973); J. D. Holmes, The Triumph of the Holy See. A Short History
of the Papacy in the Nineteenth Century (London 1978); More
Roman than Rome. English Catholicism in the Nineteenth Century (London 1978); The Papacy in the Modern World, 1914-1978 (London 1981). There was a corresponding
effort among Catholic historians in Scotland, inspired by John Durkan: thus for the Middle Ages, L. J. MacFarlane,
William Elphinstone and the Kingdom of Scotland, 1431-1514. The Struggle for Order (Aberdeen 1995); for the Reformation period, M. Lynch, Edinburgh and Reformation
(Aldershot 1981); and for the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries especially, the
work of T. M. Devine: see, e.g., Exploring the Scottish Past. Themes in the History
of Scottish Society (East Linton 1995). Of course other Catholic historians have
looked beyond Britain: in Cambridge alone, Jonathan Riley-Smith to the Crusading kingdoms, Peter Linehan to mediaeval
Spain, David Brading to Latin America on the grand scale.
46 L. C. Sheppard, The New Liturgy (London 1970); J.
D. Crichton, Christian Celebration: the Mass (London
1971); Understanding the Sacraments (London 1973)'; Understanding the Prayer of the Church (London 1976); and with H. E. Winstone
and J. R. Ainslie, (ed.) English Catholic Worship. Liturgical Renewal in England since
1900 (London 1979); C. Howell, S. J., The Work of our
Redemption (Oxford 1953).
47 K. Flanagan, Sociology and Liturgy. Re-Presentations of the Holy (London 1991).
48 E. Doyle, O. F. M., St Francis and the Song of Brotherhood
(London 1980); Bringing Forth Christ. Five Feasts of the Child Jesus by St. Bonaventure. Translated with an introduction by Eric Doyle (Oxford 1984).
49 S. Tugwell, O. P., The Way of the Preacher (London
1979); Early Dominicans. Selected Writings (London 1982);
Albert and Thomas. Selected Writings (New York and Mahwah,
50 O. Davies, God Within. The Mystical Tradition of Northern Europe (London 1988); The Rhineland Mystics. An Anthology
(London 1989); Meister Eckhart, Mystical Theologian (London
51 S. Moore, God is a New Language (London 1967); The Crucified is no Stranger (London 1977); The
Fire and the Rose are One (London 1980); Let this Mind
be in You: the Quest for Identity from Oedipus to Christ (London 1985).
52 C. Smith, O. S. B., The Way of Paradox. Spiritual Life as taught by Meister Eckhart (New York and Mahwah, N.J. 1987).
53 R. Burrows, Guidelines for Mystical Prayer (London
1976); Before the Living God (London 1979); also, on
the companion teresian doctrine: Interior Castle Explored: St. Teresa's Teaching on
the Life of Deep Union with God (London 1981).
54 G. W. Hughes, God of Surprises (London 1985).
55 D. Nicholl, Holiness (London 1981).
56 J. Saward, Perfect Fools: Folly for Christ's Sake in Catholic and Orthodox Spirituality (Oxford 1980); The Mysteries of March: Hans Urs von Balthasar on the Incarnation
and Easter (London and Washington 1990). Redeemer in
the Womb. Jesus Living in Mary (San Francisco 1993);
Christ is the Answer. The Christ-centred Teaching of Pope John Paul II (Edinburgh
57 N. D. O'Donoghue, Heaven in Ordinarie. Prayer as Transcendence (Edinburgh 1979; 19962); Mystics for our Time. Carmelite Meditations for a
New Age (Edinburgh 1989); D. Turner, The Darkness of
God. Negativity in Christian Mysticism (Cambridge 1995).
58 J. Finnis, Natural Law and Natural Rights (Oxford
1980); Moral Absolutes: Tradition, Revision and Truth
(Washington 1991). Expounding Catholic social teaching was less divisive: thus R. Charles, S. J. (with D. Maclaren,
O. P.), The Social Teaching of Vatican II. Its Origin and Development (Oxford and San Francisco 1982); F. P. McHugh and S. Natale (eds.), Things
Old and New: Catholic Social Teaching Revisited (New York 1992). Father Frank McHugh
of the von Hügel Institute at St Edmund's College, Cambridge, also figures in the delicate area of business
ethics: thus S. Frowen and F. P. McHugh (eds.), Financial Decision-making and Moral
Responsibility (London 1995), and from the same editorial hands, Financial Competition, Risk and Responsibility (London 1998).
59 H. Francis Davis, A. Williams, O. S. B., I. Thomas, O. P., J. Crehan, S. J., A Catholic
Dictionary of Theology, I-III (London 1962-71). They were gathering materials, in
effect, for a ressourcement systematics: cf. I, p. ix, 'Our work aims at presenting Catholic doctrines in the sources
from which they are drawn in Scripture and Tradition, since the study of these sources is leading to a rejuvenation
of theology in many parts of the Catholic world today'.
60 C. Ernst, O. P., The Theology of Grace (Cork 1973).
61 N. Lash, Believing Three Ways in One God. A Reading of the Apostles' Creed (London 1992); more elements of an overall dogmatics in idem., Theology on
the Way to Emmaus (London 1986); The Beginning and the
End of 'Religion' (Cambridge 1996), but these are essentially essays, manifesting
at times a deliberate rejection of the project of systematics as such: thus, e.g. Theology
on the Way to Emmaus, op. cit., p. ix. Also offered in essay form was the work of
the gifted Jesuit dogmatician Bruno Brinkman, in his To the Lengths of God. Truths
and the Ecumenical Age (London 1988). Here, however, I must mention an ambitious
proposal for a new dogmatics, based philosophically on the concept of 'kenotic ontology' and theologically on the
root idea of the divine compassion, announced by Oliver Davies, on whom see above, n. 50.
62 For a history of the place, see B. Penny, Maryvale
(Birmingham 1985). It is hoped that the Maryvale course books will eventually be made available to a wider audience
in published form.
63 G. D. D'Costa, 'The End of "Theology" and "Religious Studies"', Theology 99.791 (1996), pp. 338-351; [I. Trethowan], 'The Revival of Theology', Downside
Review 65.202 (1947), pp. 311-312.
64 D. Chiles, A Silken Thread. The History of Plater College, 1921-1996 (Oxford 1996), p. 200. What is needed is a 'think-tank' which is also a 'heart-tank' since empowered
by the Liturgy and especially the Mass, on which English Catholics have not ceased to write, if not always to consistent
effect. See, for example N. Lash, His Presence in the World. A Study of Eucharistic
Worship and Theology (London 1968); J. F. McHugh, 'The
Sacrifice of the Mass at the Council of Trent', in S. W. Sykes (ed.), Sacrifice and Redemption. Durham Essays in Theology (Cambridge 1991), pp.
157-181; P. J. FitzPatrick, In Breaking of Bread: the Eucharist and Ritual (Cambridge 1993); P. McPartlan, The Eucharist Makes the Church. Henri de
Lubac and John Zizioulas in Dialogue (Edinburgh 1993).
65 I. Ker, Newman and the Fullness of Christianity (Edinburgh
1993). See also his John Henry Newman. A Biography (Oxford
1988); The Achievement of John Henry Newman (London 1991);
Healing the Wound of Humanity: the Spirituality of John Henry Newman (London 1993). Fr Ker could look back to the inspiration of a Belgian Newmanian domiciled in England-C.
S. Dessain, John Henry Newman (London 1966), and the
wonderful edition of The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, still continuing, of which Dessain brought out the first volume in the year, 1961, before the Second
Vatican Council opened.
This version: 18th July 2009