2 September 2017

Has a pope ever visited Oxford?

Blessed John Henry Newman records in Loss and Gain a rumour that circulated in the febrile atmosphere of mid-forties Oxford:
"Have you heard the news?" said Sheffield; " I have been long enough in college to pick it up. The Kitchen man was full of it as I passed along. Jack's a particular friend of mine; a good honest fellow, and has all the gossip of the place. I don't know what it means, but Oxford has just now a very bad inside. The report is, that some of the men have turned Romans; and they say that there are strangers going about Oxford whom nobody knows anything of. Jack, who is a bit of a divine himself, says he heard the Principal say that, for certain, there were Jesuits at the bottom of it; and I don't know what he means, but he declares he saw with his own eyes the Pope walking down the High Street with the priest. I asked him how he knew it; he said he knew the Pope by his slouching hat and his long beard; and the porter told him it was the Pope ..."
Happy days, when Jesuits were sinister figures of subtle intrigue and stout defenders of Catholic orthodoxy.

6 comments:

Edward Ahlsen-Girard said...

Some Jesuits are still such even in these days, but it can no longer be presumed.

Bruvver Eccles said...

Antipope Alexander V studied at Oxford. Will that do?

roberts said...

Thank you for not posting anything on Cardinal Murphy O'Connor - may God have mercy on his soul:
If one can think of nothing good to say of the lately dead, then, in charity, say nothing at all...

Pastor in Monte said...

At least one future Pope visited Oxford: Achille Ratti. I don't remember the story well, but he broke an ankle or something when mountaineering, as was his curious wont, and spent a while at St Aloysius, I seem to remember.

Edwin said...

It was said at Pembroke that a nuncio, later Pope, visited Oxford. On being shown Pembroke chapel he declared,"Beautiful. Just like one of ours." But I can't be sure which future Pope it was.

Carl Kuss said...

When Oxford was mentioned to John Paul II, he asked immediately "Do you know Professor Anscombe." Professor Anscombe was an important translator and student of Ludwig Wittgenstein, and a notable analytic philosopher in her own right. Her thinking about morality influenced John Paul II.