John Ignatius McCabe

(1926—2001) Roman Catholic priest and theologian

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Herbert McCabe was born in Middlesbrough on 2 August 1926 and died in Oxford on 28 June 2001. Educated at St Mary's College, Middlesbrough, he went to the University of Manchester in 1944 to read chemistry but changed to philosophy. He was taught by Dorothy Emmet. In 1949 he joined the Dominican Order. Ordained in 1955, he worked as a curate in an inner city parish in Newcastle-upon-Tyne before evolving an itinerant teaching ministry, mostly to university students. This bore fruit in two books, The New Creation (1964, on the sacraments) and Law, Love and Language (1968, on the basis of ethics). In 1965, at the height of the Second Vatican Council, he took over the editorship of New Blackfriars, the monthly review of the English Dominican friars devoted to theology, philosophy and literature. In the February 1967 issue he published an editorial prompted by the departure from the church of Father Charles Davis, then the most distinguished of English Roman Catholic theologians, arguing (contrary to Davis) that the manifest corruption of the church was no good reason for leaving. He was dismissed as editor at the behest of Roman authorities (see Simon Clements and Monica Lawlor, The McCabe Affair, 1967). Reinstated in 1970 he edited the journal until he resigned in 1979. He was visiting lecturer at various universities; his home for the rest of his life was Blackfriars, Oxford. He served as Subprior from 1969 to 1975 and Novice Master from 1981 to 1988. His main concern throughout these years was to keep the thought of Thomas Aquinas on the agenda. He ran a regular seminar with Anthony Kenny. In 1989 he was made a Master of Sacred Theology, the Order's highest academic honour.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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