Short Bio

I am a Permanent Deacon incardinated in the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth, England, where I was, from 2004 to 2018, the Diocesan Oeconomus.   I am married to Caroline, a painter, and have three young-adult children: Peter who works as a Lay Chaplain for AoS/Stella Maris; Sophia, a history student at Goldsmiths University of London; and Hugo, who has recently completed a MEng in Material Science at the University of Manchester.   I was born in Wales (the country God made for Himself) in 1965.

After theological education during formation for the priesthood at St Mary's College, Oscott, I returned to the academic study of theology in my mid-thirties, taking a first-class honours in a BA(Divinity) in Catholic Theology at the Maryvale Institute, validated by the Pontifical University of Maynooth.   I then went to Oxford to read for a Master of Studies degree in Ecclesiastical History, submitting a dissertation on the origins of the theology of the laity in the Second Vatican Council, particularly in the work of Yves Congar, Gerard Philips and Karl Rahner.   I then moved on to complete my doctorate in theology (DPhil – Oxford, for historical reasons, uses these post-nominals for degrees described elsewhere as PhD) under the supervision of Professor Mark Chapman. 

My doctoral dissertation provided an analysis of the sequential attempts by Blessèd John Henry Newman to account for the historical reality of doctrinal change within Christianity in the light of his lasting conviction that the idea of Christianity is fixed by reference to the dogmatic content of the deposit of faith.    The existing literature on Newman is enormous and wide-ranging but my work fills a notable gap,by treating Newman at any particular point in the account as a person with an open future, where his present acts are not determined by or seen in the light of later events, and where any apologetic intent is identified and accounted for by reference to the immediate matter under consideration and the contemporaneous evidence.   The argument of the thesis is that Newman proposed a series of hypotheses to account for the apparent contradiction between doctrinal change and continuity, that this series begins for him much earlier than is generally recognised and that the final hypothesis he was to propose, contained in An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, provided a methodology of lasting theological value.  I defended my thesis before the internationally-recognised doyen of Newman scholars, Dr Ian Ker of Oxford University and Professor Terrence Merrigan of KU Leuven, another widely-acclaimed leader in the field.   The dissertation is now in preparation for publication.

I was a Research Associate at St Benet’s Hall, Oxford, from 2013 to 2015.  I have been part of the associate staff of the Maryvale Institute of Higher Religious Sciences, in Birmingham, since 2011, where I lecture in dogmatic theology, liturgy and sacraments.  I also tutor students undertaking the Bachelor of Divinity and the MA (Pastoral Theology) degree.   These students study using programmes combining distance-learning and intensive-study residential courses.

I am a member of the Academic Board of the Quarterdeck Lectures – a series of enrichment lectures offered to students at the UK Defence College.  These students are senior officers from the UK, the Commonwealth and other countries undertaking staff courses for senior command and staff roles.   In March 2019 I delivered a lecture in this series entitled “The Human and Conscience” to Post-graduate Students from 67 nationalities.

In my spare time, I fly-fish for trout, whip-in to the New Forest Beagles, follow-on-foot the New Forest Hounds, support Wales and Cardiff Blues rugby teams, the Boston Red Sox and the English Cricket team.   I am fond of good beer, fine wine, early music and sleep.





Books in progress    

‘A Monk at the Council: the Conciliar letters and diaries of Abbot Christopher Butler’, Downside Abbey Press, proposed 2021                                 

‘Two Minds on One Saint: Collected Essays on John Henry Newman’, with Dr Cyril Law, forthcoming early 2020

 ‘Newman and the Hermeneutic of Continuity: searching for continuity in the face of change in the work of John Henry Newman’, forthcoming early 2020


Book Chapters         

John Henry Newman and the New Evangelisation, in Kim and Grogan, (eds.), The New Evangelization: Faith, People, Context and Practice, (T&T Clark, 2015)

 ‘The State and the Christian Voluntary Sector’, in Chappell and Davis, (eds.), Catholic Social Conscience, (Gracewing, 2011).



‘Holy and secular: Vatican II and the Theology of the Laity’, Downside Review, forthcoming February 2020.

‘Butler and Ecumenism as a theological category in the implementation of Vatican II’, Downside Review, May 2016, 134(1-2), 3-10.

 ‘Cracks in the Edifice: Recent Challenges to the Received History of Vatican II’, in Downside Review, January 2015, 133(467), 66-85.                          

 ‘The Oxford Origins of John Henry Newman’s Educational Thought in “Idea of a University”’, in Newman Studies Journal, 2012, 9(1), 32-43.


Book Reviews           

Mezzaros, ‘The Prophetic Church: History and Doctrinal Development in John Henry Newman and Yves Congar’, (OUP, 2016), in Irish Theological Quarterly, October 2017, 82(4), 348-350.

Keating, The Character of the Deacon: Spiritual and Pastoral Foundations, (Paulist Press, 2017), in Catholic Herald, 14th September 2017.

Marchetto, ‘The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: A Counterpoint for the History of the Council’, (Scranton UP, 2010), in Nova et Vetera, 2017, 15(1), 342-344.

Aquino and King, (eds.), ‘Receptions of Newman’, (OUP, 2015), in Journal of Anglican Studies, 2016, 14(2), 246-248.

Hodgetts, (ed.), ‘John Gerard, The Autobiography of an Elizabethan Translated from the Latin by Fr Philip Caraman SJ and with an introduction by Michael Hodgetts’, (Family Publications, 2006), in Faith Magazine, July-August 2007.


Year 1 Doctorate
Year 1 Bachelor
Year 2 Bachelor
2 credits
Year 3 Bachelor
Year 4 Bachelor
3 credits
4 credits
Year 2
2 credits
2 credits