Christopher Lamb’s thoughtful profile of Mgr Roderick Strange, outgoing Rector of the Beda College , will have been much appreciated by those alumni of Oxford University to whom he ministered during his time as Catholic Chaplain, not least the many couples whom he meticulously prepared for the Sacrament of Marriage. Despite possessing the sheen of a clerical smoothie gliding towards the sunlit uplands of ecclesiastical preferment, it was in fact Call Me Rod’s sturdy and uncompromising adherence to the deeply unfashionable Absolute Truths of the Magisterium which made the greatest impression on my contemporaries. One of Fr Rod’s blood-and-thunder sermons or assaults on religious illiteracy was guaranteed to leave even the suavest customer both shaken and stirred. For all his openness to sensitivity and nuance, one felt this was a prelate with no pretensions to trendy political correctness: “Here I stand; I can do no other” (with apologies to Luther). In a spiritually tepid age, he represents precisely the kind of priest we need to see at the top of the tree. Surely the time is ripe to explode the superstition that ex Rectors of the Beda cannot become Bishops. Although I suspect that Mgr Strange’s response to such a suggestion might be a typically bracing “Super Tandem Tuum” (or “On Your Bike”, to use the vernacular).
(Published in The Tablet, August 2015)