One of the pleasures of being a Catholic convert from Anglicanism is that I feel much warmer towards the Church of England than when I was in it. Last week, I went to a truly endearing Anglican ceremony in Westminster Abbey. After evensong, there was a short service to unveil a plaque in memory of the Chadwick brothers, Owen and Henry. Both were clergymen, both were Regius professors (Owen at Cambridge, Henry at Cambridge and Oxford). Both were tipped to be Archbishops, but preferred the life of the mind. They are the first brothers to be thus linked in an Abbey monument since John and Charles Wesley. Professor Eamon Duffy — who is, as his name hints, Catholic — gave a brilliant tribute to the two. He told how Henry, the mastermind of ARCIC — the Anglican/Roman Catholic conversations which did so much to break down theological barriers — collapsed at a conference in Venice. He woke up in hospital to find himself surrounded by ARCIC colleagues. ‘I see I am not in Heaven,’ he murmured. The inscription on the plaque describes the brothers simply as ‘Priests and Scholars’. The Chadwicks were almost the last embodiment of that combination, in its distinctively Anglican form of sweetness and light.
This is an extract from Charles Moore’s Notes, which appears in this week’s Spectator