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Monday, August 07, 2006

Timothy Radcliffe



Tuesday is the Memorial of St. Dominic, the founder of the Dominican Order, so I thought I'd write a little about one well known Dominican, Timothy Radcliffe. As Wikipedia says ...

Timothy Radcliffe OP (1945, London–) is a Catholic priest and Dominican friar of the English Province, and former Master of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) from 1992-2001. He is the only member of the English Province of the Dominicans to have held the office since the Order's foundation in 1216. Before Radcliffe became Master of the Dominican Order, he had been the Prior Provincial of the Dominicans in England. He is a professor of theology at Blackfriars, Oxford and a renowned and highly sought after speaker.

A few of his homilies can be read here - Preaching by Timothy Radcliffe O.P.

You can read some quotations of his here. My favorite :-) ...
We can identify with Frodo and Sam, setting off not knowing quite where they are going and what they are to do.

And a number of articles by and about Radcliffe can be found at The Tablet, including an interview by Catherine Pepinster of Radcliffe from last year - An enigma wrapped in a cowl. Here's a bit of it below ...

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.... But what does Timothy do, nowadays? The answer seems to be actually rather simple: he is very much a twenty-first-century member of the Order of Preachers, criss-crossing the world to give homilies, talks and lectures. Up until now his CV is certainly impressive: a biblical scholar; prior of Blackfriars, Oxford; head of the English province of the Dominicans; nine years as Master of the Order; head of the Angelicum in Rome; and author of regular publications. His latest book, What is the Point of Being a Christian?, is an examination of the ultimate goal and purpose of our lives in the modern world. ....

.... What is the Point of Being a Christian? explores different aspects of Christian faith, examining the extent to which it is bound up with freedom and happiness. Radcliffe suggests that it is joy which is needed so urgently in the Church today, yet there is also a sense of gloom in the book, a pessimism so often conjured up by Christian writers wanting to show how much the world is in need of salvation. He agrees that this is indeed a problem, which can cause people to feel alienated by a judgemental Church. ....

... One of the book’s abiding themes is the need for truth – not surprising for a man who chose the Dominican order, with its motto “Veritas”. He writes in the book of truthfulness being the essence of Christianity, while truth seems difficult for modern society. “We are drowning in information but we do not know whom or what to believe,” he writes. The influence of the Enlightenment means that many people believe the truth requires us to be detached observers, unmasking hypocrisy and denouncing failure, but Radcliffe emphasises trying to achieve a shared understanding, not closed to people’s goodness ...

... one might ask, what is the point of being Timothy Radcliffe? There is a sense in which Radcliffe remains an enigma. Many wonder if he sees himself at the age of 60 in the quiet days of his life, or whether he harbours ambitions for episcopal office. This Pope is believed to think well of him, and they certainly encountered each other in Rome in their previous respective positions as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Master of the Dominicans. In those days, Radcliffe was frequently dubbed by the press “the most important Englishman in Rome”. Then, he was easy to label. Today, he is harder, in the world’s terms of ambition, concrete achievement, or hierarchical advancement, to pin down. But perhaps that is the essence of his success and of his contribution: a sign that it is not the world’s values that really count.
- The Tablet
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4 Comments:

Blogger Paula said...

this is a very good post and great links.:-).Today I was very tense, but I relaxed reading it. Thanks.

3:22 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Paula, thanks for the comment :-)

7:17 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

It's nice to know a little bit more about him. He wrote an article a while back that I read on Joe Cecil's about factions in the Church. Lots of good insights.

8:24 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Jeff. The only article I've read of his myself is one at the Tablet about the Vatican document disallowing gays into seminaries. It seemed very balanced.

1:33 AM  

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