Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


Several bloggers have cited or referred to the account by former students of theological formation at Maynooth which has appeared recently.

St Patrick's College Maynooth

Following Fr Blake I would point those interested to Fr Zuhlsdorf's easier to read version.

It is sobering reading, and points to a malaise in the Irish Church that is not related to past instances of abuse but to more recent theological and cultural drift that is not just a problem in Ireland. We should be grateful for the authors having the courage to voice their criticisms, as I suspect there is considerable pressure not to rock the boat. However this is a boat(s) in the flotilla of the barque of Peter that looks in serious need of being rocked.

One can hope, and indeed pray, that a genuine renewal of priestly formation can emerge which will in turn help in the renewal of the Church.

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