Official Title: Dean of Faculty of Religious Studies | Assistant Professor

Faculty: Faculty of Religious Studies


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, studying for 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 from 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 mywork 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.

My current research comprises two, discrete projects: I am editing the letters and diaries from the Second Vatican Council of Abbot (later Bishop) Cristopher Butler, on of the most distinguished of the English-speaking theologians to have participated in and contributed to the work of the Council; and I am working on doxa as a liturgical concept and it's relationship to sacntification/divinisation/theosis, with particular reference to the Letter on the Holy Spirit of St Basil the Great and the work of the Liturgical Movement.

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 will be delivering a lecture entitles “The Human and Conscience” as part of this prestigious series.

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.



A Monk at the Council: the Conciliar letters and diaries of Abbot Christopher Butler, (Downside Abbey Press, forthcoming 2020)

The search for continuity in the face of change: John Henry Newman and the Hermeneutic of Reform in Continuity, (Gracewing, forthcoming 2019)

'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)



English Catholic reactions to the publication John Lingard's History of England’, in Downside Review, forthcoming 2019

‘Butler and Ecumenism as a theological category in the implementation of Vatican II’, in Downside Review, May 2016

'John Henry Newman and the key to the New Evangelisation', in The Oscottian, 2015

‘Cracks in the Edifice: Recent Challenges to the Received History of Vatican II’, in Downside Review, January 2015           

‘The Oxford Origins of John Henry Newman’s Educational Thought in “Idea of a University”’, in Newman Studies Journal, Spring 2012.

'An uncomfortable vista: Newman’s reaction to Wiseman’s article on the Donatist Heresy’, in Vigilia, 2010.

Book Reviews        

Mezzaros, The Prophetic Church: History and Doctrinal Development in John Henry Newman and Yves Congar, (OUP, 2016), in Irish Theological Quarterly, Winter 2017

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

Aquino and King, (eds.), Receptions of Newman, (OUP, 2015), in Journal of Anglican Studies, November 2016


'John Henry Newman and the challenge of Liberalism in Religion', in the series Saints and fight against heresy, Guardian Angels, Mile End Road, London, May 2018

‘How Wiseman caught Newman’, the Wiseman Society Lecture 2017, at the Venerable English College, Rome

‘How the Bologna School stole the Council: Vatican II and a historiographical coup’, a lecture given at the Evangelium Conference, The Oratory School, Reading, August 2016

‘The Church is One: Has the Church changed her teaching about herself’, a paper given to the Fifty Years of Ecumenism clergy conference of the Archdiocese of Southwark, London, May 2016

'Newman, Pusey and Ecumenism', a lecture to the Clergy Plenary Meeting of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, London, October 2015

‘Butler and Ecumenism as a theological category in the implementation of Vatican II’, a paper given to the Vatican II –Remembering the Future: Ecumenical, Interfaith and Secular Perspectives Conference of the American Academy of Religion, Ecclesiological Investigations Group, Georgetown University, DC, May 2015

'Talking Past One Another: the correspondence between Manning and Newman', a paper given at the The Abbé Chapeau and the Manning Papers Conference of the Archdiocese of Westminster, London, May 2015

‘Cracks in the Edifice: Recent Challenges to the Received History of Vatican II’, a paper to the Summer Conference of the Ecclesiastical History Society, Oxford, August 2011.


Year 2 Bachelor
2.00 credits
Year 4 Bachelor
3.00 credits
2.00 credits