14 February 2020

Eric Mascall

Today, February 14, is the twenty-seventh anniversary of the death of Eric Mascall, Priest and Scholar. CAPD.

Fr Aidan Nichols wrote that the Catholic Revival in the Church of England, in the twentieth century, inspired "a select band of first rate patristic scholars and systematic theologians. In such figures ... the orthodox Roman Catholic can recognise with but little effort 'separated doctors' of the Catholic Church'". In this select band he names Eric Mascall. Mascall's was indeed one of the most acute minds to detect and analyse the deceptions of the last part of the twentieth century.

Now that the tradition represented by Mascall has formally and corporately entered into Full Communion with the See of Peter in the Ordinariates, is it too ... pushy ... to hope that our fellow Catholics will regard these figures as having become their property too? Just as I trust that they will not resent us feeling that their own Saints and great men have now become ours as well ... the Elizabethan Martyrs; Bishop Challoner and his fellow Confessors?

Is this what the phrase "Church Unity" means?

10 comments:

Matthew F Kluk said...

Father Mascall, pray for us. He is now part of our Patrimony. And infinitely more Catholic too me than Pope Francis.

Richard said...

But the great names you allude to declined to take the final step. I would love to know what was so important to them that stopped them from doing so. Surely not just habit or material advantage?

Fr PJM said...

Yes. That's what it means.

T. Leo Rugiens said...

It works for me.

sophophilo said...

Greetings from the German underground church!

I first encountered Mascall on your blog a good while ago and was immediately struck by his fine sensibility regarding the eucharist. I've since read most of his works on that subject, and I'm glad I did. His thoughts on theology are also truly consolatory.
I do indeed regards him as part of our Catholic patrimony ;)

Fr PJM said...

Here's some more great "patrimony" stuff that is sorely needed today: http://acl.asn.au/resources/propositional-revelation/

√Čamonn said...

Almost everything he ever published is in the Special Collections room of the McClay Library at the Queen's University, Belfast. The sometime Reader in Scholastic Philosophy, later Primate of All Ireland and Cardinal-Priest of San Patrizio donated his personal library some years before his death, which included Mascall go leor! I think he would recognise the truth of your description.

William Tighe said...

"I would love to know what was so important to them that stopped them from doing so."

In Mascall's case it was the debility occasioned by the series of small strokes which he suffered in the last months of his life, as I was informed nearly twenty years ago by Fr. Robert Gould, Mascall's friend for many years, an Anglican clergymen who became a Catholic about six months before Mascall's death, and was subsequently ordained to the Catholic priesthood in the Archdiocese of Southwark.

I saw Mascall for the last time in August 1992. He told me then that "I know what I shall have to do if the bill - (the Women's Ordination (Priesthood) Bill then before the General Synod) - passes, but I don't know whether I shall have the strength to do so. I hope to die first." I didn't presume to ask him what it was that he should have to do, but Fr. Gould confirmed my surmise when I made contact with him nearly a decade later.

PG said...

I have never understood why the theologically lucid Eric Mascall didn’t become a Catholic. I once asked Graham Leonard about that and he acknowledged it was strange.

Shaun Davies said...

I would venture,tentatively, to suggest that what kept them back (as Richard asked) was the culture and architecture, the surroundings,institutions, their whole formation and childhood. As a convert, the things that held me back from taking the final step back in 1984 were not transubstantiation,papal infallibility,indulgences or purgatory ; no, it was the loss of those lovely buildings,services,music,people,history and an Anglican "graciousness". All this will be alien to most cradle Catholics - many friends of mine included - who cannot understand the emotional hold these things have on so many Anglicans. Read a book by Barbara Pym or even and especially Rose Macaulay's THE TOWERS OF TREBIZOND to find out more !