Daily Archives: 7 Apr 2017

Total Depravity: The Thieving Fornicating Priest Edition

A Roman Catholic priest who fell in love with his housekeeper defrauded his parish of more than £50,000 while lavishing her and her daughters with gifts. Father John Reid, 70 was supposed to live a simple life, but spent £1,200 on a canteen of cutlery, was a member of the Sunday Times Wine Club and spent £80 on oysters and smoked salmon while holidaying in Scotland.

Jane Waugh, prosecuting, said the priest, now living in Stockton, had joined the parish in 2009 and accounts showed spending increased fourfold in some areas after he took over. She said “female clothing” had been found in the bedrooms and passports belonging to the housekeeper Gillian Leddy and her two daughters had been found in the safe.  The court heard that Fr Reid told police he had fallen in love with Gillian Leddy, and saw her daughters, Veronica and Alice, as “the family that he never had”.

During the inquiry, it emerged that the priest gave property and money to the Leddys on a “large scale”, buying two homes each for Veronica and Alice, a car each and financing a cafe business for them. He also gave them both substantial amounts of cash. But Ms Waugh said the money for these gifts came from an inheritance of the priest, not the result of fraud.  Fr Reid accepted taking the Leddys out to eat “a few times a week”. Over the four years he was at St Cuthbert’s, his basic remuneration should have totalled £31,455.

Etc.  Ick.

Great News From the Genizah Research Unit

From their facebook page-

A new search tool which facilitates the exploration of the Taylor-Schechter Cairo Genizah Collection is now available.

The keyword metadata provides a new way of searching and browsing the Collection both across broad subject areas and around distinctive items of vocabulary or key concepts. Furthermore, the interface is able to suggest similar items that might be of interest to the user, based on the similarity of the accrued data.

You can find the search slider here:http://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/genizah by scrolling to the bottom of the page. A login is required (various login options are given).

To read more about the project through which this tool was developed: http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/departments/taylor-schechter-genizah-research-unit/projects/discovering-history

Signs of the Times

The Bee Stings the Mall-ish ‘Church’

After shopping for over three hours Sunday afternoon, the Gibson family suddenly realized they were actually on a megachurch campus, and not at a local mall as they had originally thought, sources confirmed.

The family came to the realization after they made a wrong turn near a vendor selling T-shirts and hats, leading them into the church’s auditorium rather than the fair-trade, artisan coffee shop they were trying to get to.

“I told you we should have taken a shortcut between the skate shop and book store,” one of the Gibson boys reportedly told his mom. “It clearly said on the mall map back there that was the fastest way to get over to the food court.”

“What’s this big room for?” Mrs. Gibson asked. “Maybe they have concerts or something on weekends. Oooh, or maybe this is where Santa comes to take pictures with the kids.”

But suddenly, the family realized in horror they were standing on a church campus rather than a shopping mall, causing them to flee the property, driving out of the parking lot to the identical mall across the street.


‘Eerdmans All Over’ This Week

Here.  Enjoy.

From Rome to Zurich

97463From Rome to Zurich, between Ignatius and Vermigli brings notable scholars from the fields of Reformation and Early Modern studies [together] …. Touching Protestant scholasticism, Reformation era life writing, Reformation polemics – both Protestant and Catholic – and with several on theology proper, inter alia, the essays collected here by a group of international scholars break new ground in Reformation history, thought, and theology, providing fresh insights into current scholarship in both Reformation and Catholic Reformation studies. The essays take in the broad scope of the 16th century, from Thomas More to Martin Bucer, and from Thomas Stapleton to Peter Martyr Vermigli.

Contributors include: Emidio Campi, Maryanne Cline Horowitz, A. Lynn Martin, Thomas McCoog, SJ, Joseph McLelland, Richard A. Muller, Eric Parker, Robert Scully, SJ, and Jason Zuidema.

The volume is comprised of the following:

Introduction: The Editors

  • Reminiscences:
    I. An Irish-American Jesuit in the Madison Mafia. A. Lynn Martin
    II. Joseph McLelland
  • Bio-Bibliography O’Donnelly


  • Mourning in Lonely Exile: the Irish Ministry of William Good, S.J. – Thomas M. McCoog, S.J.
  • Man of Conscience, Martyr, and Saint: Thomas More’s Life and Death in the Memory of the English Catholic Community – Robert Scully, S.J.
  • Thomas Stapleton: Loathes Calvin; will travel – Gary W. Jenkins
  • Sixteenth- and Early Seventeenth-Century Ideas of Imagination – Maryanne Cline Horowitz
  • Calvinist Thomism Revisited: William Ames (1576-1633) and the Divine Ideas – Richard A. Muller
  • ‘Saint Dionysius’: Martin Bucer’s Transformation of the Pseudo-Areopagite – Eric M. Parker
  • “Protestant Monasticism between the Reformation Critique and New Monasticism” – Jason Zuidema
  • Cognition and Action: Conversion and ‘virtue ethics’ in the Commonplaces of Peter Martyr Vermigli – Torrance Kirby
  • Was Peter Martyr a grandfather of the Heidelberg Catechism? A relecture of Questions 47 and 48 against the background of Peter Martyr’s Christological controversy with Johannes Brenz – Emidio Campi


As is the case with every Festschrift, the essays here collected aim to honor aspects of the honoree’s academic contributions.  This one highlights the vast interests of its recipient which extend quite widely to include such topics as Vermigli and monasticism and Calvinism and anti-Calvinism and others besides.

And like all such collections there are good essays and excellent essays.   Three here stand out.  First, Gary Jenkins’ wonderfully written explanation of Stapleton’s hatred of Calvin and Calvinism is superbly entertaining.  Jason Zuidema’s investigation of Protestant monasticism is both eye opening and enlightening.  And Emidio Campi’s work on the Heidelberg Catechism and Brenz is, as is the case with all of Campi’s work, a demonstration of the apex of historical knowledge.

Time is too short to engage with every essay so I would like to spend the remainder of the review engaging Jenkins’ work on Stapleton.   Stapleton, like so many figures in the history of the Church, is, I confess, a person previously unknown to me.  Jenkins’ chief accomplishment in his essay is to bring to life and light a man who clearly despised the heretic Calvin and was unafraid to speak his mind about him and his teachings.

As Jenkins notes:

For Stapleton, a prime evil afflicting Calvin was the notion of certitude (p. 78).

Calvin, in short, annoyed Stapleton precisely because Calvin was so sure of his views and so certain of his correctness.  Jenkins also observes

While Stapleton spent enormous effort in defending both Catholic Eucharistic doctrine and the Catholic doctrine of the authority and jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff and the Church herself, the question of justification held the primary place in Stapleton’s mind as explanatory of the errors of Protestantism (p. 77).

And quite interestingly

For Stapleton, Calvin had so twisted the truth of Christianity that it was impossible to believe that he even worshiped the Christian God. In short, Calvin was an atheist, for he had so wildly corrupted the moral order that it stood unrecognizable in Stapleton’s mind as anything Christian (p. 74).

What I find so intriguing here is the fact that Stapleton, and English Catholic, had many of the same attitudes towards Calvin that our own modern day Arminians (Weslyans) do.  It’s passing odd that Catholics like Stapleton and Arminians like Wesley could find common ground in their unhidden disdain for Calvin.

There really is nothing new under the sun.  Not even hatred of Calvin.

Jenkins entire essay is a case study in English Catholic contempt for Calvinism.  It is no accident, then, that the concluding lines nicely summarize the situation:

It probably did not help Calvin’s standing in his [i.e., Stapleton’s] eyes that so many of his fellow English looked to Calvin, though ironically, many, like bishop Jewel, looked to Zurich. This Zurich turn of course was not the case when he wrote “contra Guillelmum Whitakerum Anglo- Calvinistam.” It is no jump, therefore, to assert that Stapleton the Catholic apologist saw in Calvin the star guiding so many of those who effected both his vagabond life and the odyssey of the exile English Catholic community.

Calvin, for Stapleton, was the root cause of all his struggles.

This is a very useful collection and I commend it to you and recommend it for inclusion in your University or College library (the cost being rather prohibitive for personal libraries unless researchers are engaged in examining a rather slim and concentrated period of the history of the Church).

The Obituary of Joseph Fitzmyer in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly

The latest issue of CBQ arrived today and most noteworthy is the obit of the brilliant Joe Fitzmyer-

Quote of the Day

Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. –  Jesus