Giles Hibbert [1923-2013]
Giles Hibbert died a member of the Order of Preachers, whose motto is 'Veritas' or 'Truth' and lived a live devoted to witnessing to the truth and setting it uncompromisingly before others. This commitment to truth meant both some initial alienation from his Protestant family (his father, Major General Hugh Hibbert DSO, was the local squire and read the lesson at Matins in the local parish church) as well as some trials for his brethren in the order over the years. He came from a family of admirals and generals and was brought up in a country house in Wiltshire surrounded by servants. His grandfather on his mother's side was a grandson of the third Marquess of Bath, a fact he would be mortified to have brought to public attention, as for many years he was an active Marxist, like the notorious 'red' Dean of Canterbury, and frequently travelled to Eastern Europe under the Communists.
He was one of the fifty-five priests who wrote to the The Times in August 1968 to show their disapproval of Pope Paul VI's unilateral declaration, in the face of the opposition of the papal commission, of Humanae Vitae. A battle with the Inquisition resulted in an editorial about him in The Guardian of which he was ever afterwards immensely proud. Similarly he was uncompromising about his homosexuality, playing a major public role in the founding of what was then the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, one of the few clergymen to do so and certainly the only RC one.
He had always supported CCC from its foundation in 1969 as the Catholic Renewal Movement and perhaps his most useful contribution to it was his taking over CCC's publications in 1998. By 2010, he had produced over fifty different booklets by writers as diverse as James Alison, Paul Collins, Eamon Duffy, Rafael Esteban, Sean Fagan, Paul Hypher, Nicholas Lash, Pat Pinsent, Elizabeth Price, Frank Regan, Cathy Scott, Joseph Seferta, Clare Short, Adrian Smith, Jack Spong, John Wijngaards and Rowan Williams. Six of his own titles featured in CCC's list and his support was greatly appreciated by the movement.
Born in 1923, Robert Hibbert was educated at Uppingham and was an officer during the war. Originally trained at Cambridge as a civil engineer, he entered the Dominicans after becoming a Catholic and abandoning his advanced engineering studies. He was sent to study at Louvain and moved on to Oxford where he completed a doctorate. By his own account (RENEW 120) he had a number of run-ins with ecclesiastical authority, all of which he survived. This was in no small part due to the support which his order gave him but also to the fact that Giles had a brilliant mind and was nobody's fool.
After some time teaching at Blackfriars Oxford and in the university, where he taught Plato and Aristotle as well as Hebrew and Biblical Studies, he was appointed chaplain to the Catholics at Sheffield university where he spent eight fulfilling and rewarding years. After two years as chaplain at York University, he ended up living alone in a small house in the Peak district which the order bought for him. He became very active as chaplain to the local Newman circle. From there he ran Blackfriars Publications, set up in 1993 under the patronage of Timothy Radcliffe, until his health forced him to return to live in community. In 2009 he moved to the Dominican House on Haverstock Hill in London and in December 2012 to Cambridge where he had a happy final year of life.
As he readily admitted, he was not a community man. Indeed, on his return to community life in London another member of the community stopped him in the corridor and said “I don't like you Giles. You have always been a bully,” to which Giles truthfully responded, “Yes, you are right. I am sorry!” He had mellowed from being a highly combative and even serious troublemaker, who deeply hurt and offended many people, to becoming more capable of demonstrating the deep humility he had, which only an attack on the truth as he saw it could allow his blazing guns to conceal. He had a wide group of friends and will be sorely missed.
Dear Archbishops Nichols and Smith,
I now have in front of me a copy of Lumen Fidei. Para 48 reads: “Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity. Precisely because all the articles of faith are interconnected, to deny even one of them, even of those that seem lest interconnected, is tantamount to distorting the whole. Each period of history can find this point of faith easier or harder to accept. Hence the need for vigilance in ensuring that the deposit of faith is passed on in its entirety”
I have been quoting Mt. 19 4-6 as a statement by Christ revealing the core truth of the relationship of marriage “They two shall be one flesh, therefore are they no longer two but one flesh. What God has joined together let no man put asunder”
Augustine, speaking from the experience of fornication not marriage, changed those words of Christ into “In intercourse a man becomes ALL flesh”. He then proceeded to teach that original sin had distorted human sexuality. The human habit of “being one flesh” in terms of times per week (as is known both to individual married people and documented by reports such as Kinsley and Hite), instead of being seen as living out this Gospel teaching of oneness, was seen instead as lustful seeking of the physical pleasure put in the act to ensure procreation occurred. Hence all intercourse which was not procreative in intention or form was condemned as mortal or venial sin. E.g. intercourse in pregnancy was called mortal sin till the 16th century, this because no farmer seeds a field twice. Sperm was thought to contain the whole embryo, so coitus interruptus, the most common form of birth control was seen as homicide. 1845 saw the discovery of the ovum, so nothing live was being killed.
The Pontifical Commission on Birth Control, after a few years of discussion, said contraception could not be proven to be contrary to Natural Law. Despite this Paul VI continued to condemn an act of which the guilt could not be proven. I believe this was one of the most serious miscarriages of moral justice of the 20th Century, which has come about because the teaching of Augustine usurped the teaching of Christ.
Now is the time to accuse Augustine of heresy in changing the teaching of Christ and for the Magisterium to apologise for all the accusations of sin against married people for living out the teaching of Christ in Mt. 19 4-6. Contraception enables couples to lead a full married life when in the negative times mentioned in their vow “for worse, for poorer and in sickness” they should not conceive a child. Alas because contraception is used in fornication, contraception NOT fornication is being condemned, and because it is used in fornication Paul VI is being called prophetic and the married still wrongly accused!
The above quoted text from Lumen Fidei gives urgency AND VALIDITY to the above plea.
Yours, in fidelity to the teaching of Christ, Elizabeth Price
- Charismatic: Only one. Hands already in the air.
- Pentecostals: Ten. One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.
- Presbyterians: None. Lights will go on and off at predestined times.
- Roman Catholic: None. Candles only.
- Baptists: At least 15. One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad.
- Episcopalians: Three. One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks and one to talk about how much better the old one was.
- Mormons: Five. One man to change the bulb, and four wives to tell him how to do it.
- Unitarians: We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your light bulb for the next Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.
- Methodists: Undetermined. Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved. You can be a light bulb, turnip bulb, or tulip bulb. Church-wide lighting service is planned for Sunday. Bring bulb of your choice and a covered dish.
- Nazarene: Six. One woman to replace the bulb while five men review church lighting policy.
- Lutherans: None. Lutherans don't believe in change.
- Amish: What's a light bulb?
The New Translation of the Mass – the People’s Part. Part 1: The Opening Greeting and the Gloria. (#167)
The new Latin Missal (1969), introduced after the Second Vatican Council, made important changes: three Bible readings, public intercessions, and a choice of Eucharistic Prayers. And a different style of service came in: the people joined in, the priest faced them, there was a real kiss or handshake at the Peace, and Communion was given under both bread and wine. The 1970 English translation came out in 1970 with Vatican approval. For two generations of English speaking Catholics, born after 1960, it is the Mass.
Basically, this translation tried to say in English what the original Latin meant. It deliberately did not reproduce wordy and elaborate language in the Latin, taken from the high style of the Roman Emperor’s court when spoken and written Latin were growing further and further apart. It used plain English – though not colloquial English. The result was dignified when it said something important clearly and simply. For example, consubstantialem Patri became “of one being with the Father”. Neat, plain, and exact: the same being, God, as the Father, even though a separate “person” and perceived as such. “I and the Father are one” (John 10.30).
There were four representatives of the European Network Church on the Move, of which Catholics for a Changing Church is a member, at the June 2013 meeting in the spectacular Agora building of the Conference of INGOs (what we generally call 'the voluntary sector') at the Council of Europe: Francois Becker and Fernard Jehl of France, Gerd Wild of Germany and Simon Bryden-Brook of the UK. The Council provides the conference with expert simultaneous translations into French and English and this makes a great difference – as long as one understands the jargon.
We arrived on Monday afternoon in time for workshop on the important Human Rights recommendations which had been in preparation for some years under the guiding hand of our own Francois Becker; it required a tedious but necessary examination of a draft in French and English in order to submit a document for consideration two days later by the Human Rights committee before being present to the full Conference.