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Corbishley, Thomas

CORBISHLEY, THOMAS

English Jesuit, a foremost figure in England's Christian unity movement, author, journalist, and broadcaster; b. Preston, May 30, 1903; d. London, March 11, 1976. Corbishley studied philosophy and theology at St. Mary's Hall, Stonyhurst, and at Heythrop College (Oxon.); as an undergraduate at Campion Hall, Oxford, he received a first in Classical Mods and Greats. Ordained in 1936, he was prefect of Jesuit students 193845, then at Oxford, Master of Campion Hall, 194558. From 1958 he was Superior of the London Farm Street Church and Community until 1966 and spent the remainder of his life there with a reputation as "the Priest of London." Besides writing, broadcasting, lecturing, and caring for souls, he was active in groups concerned with ecumenism, relations with Jews, humanists, and Marxists, and with the promotion of the European Community ideal. One of his favorite roles was that of Chaplain to the Catholic Institute for International Relations. He was a frequent contributor to the Jesuit review The Month and served on its editorial board.

In addition to the many contributions he made to national and religious journals, he published many books, including: Roman Catholicism (1950), Religion Is Reasonable (1960), Ronald Knox the Priest (1964), The Contemporary Christian (1966), The Spirituality of Teilhard de Chardin (1971), and The Prayer of Jesus (1976); he also translated and edited the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola (1963).

Although he had the quality of a professional scholar, Corbishley's main contribution belongs to the realm

of haute vulgarisation. It was first as a teacher that he revealed his Ignatian (and Teilhardian) vision in his awareness of continuity between the life of the spirit and natural creationhis understanding that the whole of creation is subsumed in Christ's redemptive dispensation, that the eternal Kingdom of God is to be quarried out of history. Many of those he taught learned the incarnational theology of Vatican Council II twenty years before it opened. His generous openness to the "separated brethren" prompted ice-breaking sermons at Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral, yet was also manifest in his travels up and down the country, speaking to small audiences in church halls, students' societies, and local ecumenical groups.

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