Monday, 8 July 2013

Fathers and brothers

Six months ago, almost to the day, Miles Wright, youngest of four brothers, died after a long battle with cancer. I knew him relatively slightly, despite us being almost exact university and school contemporaries. My time at Ampleforth also overlapped with that of older Wrights, David and Martin, now Fr. Ralph and Abbot Timothy. Finally, the eldest brother, Peter (Fr. Stephen) has always been a very good friend of all the Davis family.

The three surviving brothers celebrated Mass in memory of Miles yesterday, at the little church of SS Gregory and Augustine, Oxford. I was privileged to be one of only a couple of handfuls of friends and family invited along, and to lunch afterwards. It was good to catch up with the brethren.

Each gave the assembly a short spiel about what has made him tick in life: Stephen - just off to spend eight weeks with Ampleforth's daughter community in Zimbabwe - has for a long time involved himself closely in the charismatic movement. Ralph many years ago moved from Ampleforth to join its now long independent foundation in St Louis, Missouri: he is a much published poet and veteran pro life campaigner. And Timothy, just approaching the end of seven years in Rome, teaching at the Beda, has become an authority on Christian-Muslim relations, and shortly takes up a teaching post in a North American university.

Third Wright: forthright, his verdict on Rome given with a question: "What sort of Church is it that requires a newly appointed Cardinal to spend €5000 in order to get properly togged up?" Ecumenism? "The Ordinariate: a complete waste of time!"  Other religions? "Yes Muslims and Christians can pray together, but not with Hindus and Buddhists."

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