Martindale, Cyril Charles
MARTINDALE, CYRIL CHARLES
Jesuit scholar, writer, and preacher; b. London, May 25, 1879; d. March 18, 1963. The son of Sir Arthur Martindale, a civil servant who spent most of his active life in India and Ceylon, Cyril was educated at Harrow School. He was received into the Catholic Church by the Jesuit fathers at Bournemouth and soon afterward entered the English Jesuit novitiate. After philosophical studies at St. Mary's Hall, Stonyhurst, he matriculated at Pope's Hall (afterward Campion Hall), Oxford, in 1901 and had a distinguished academic career, receiving first-class honors in literae humaniores and numerous prizes and scholarships in classics and theology. He taught at Stonyhurst College and at Manresa House before returning to Oxford. He was ordained in August of 1911.
Despite his great scholarship, Martindale spent little time in formal teaching. At Oxford during World War I, he did much to help the wounded Australian soldiers in the hospital there, and so began an apostolate that reached the ends of the earth and every class of people. He was uniquely equipped to stimulate the awakening apostolic spirit of English Catholics, and in many fields he was prophetic in his understanding of the religious needs of his times. Thus, his work with university students (he was a tireless supporter of pax romana, for which he did much to establish) encouraged the intellectual development of Catholic life throughout the world.
He was an enthusiastic and informed pioneer of the liturgical revival, especially through his books on the Mass. His position on the Permanent Committee of the International Eucharistic Congresses took him to Australia, Africa, and South America and brought him close to the realities of missionary work. Deeply rooted in the Greco-Roman culture of the West, he saw very clearly that the future must bring great changes. The apostleship of the sea was established largely through his efforts. He was a preacher and speaker of unique appeal, lacking of rhetoric, but with a personal sympathy that later made him the most popular of broadcasters. An army of converts, from dukes to dustmen, bear witness to his patience as a teacher. He was never surprised by human folly, and he was never so much at home as in the East End of London, where he did an immense amount of work in clubs and settlements to manifest the Church's concern for the poor.
During World War II, he was in Denmark at the time of its invasion and was held captive until the end of the war. After his release he returned to England and, despite recurring illness, kept up a large correspondence and showed a lively interest in the new manifestations of Catholic life he had done so much to stimulate. Although he wrote some books and articles that were scholarly, his greater achievement was as a popularizer, in the best sense of the term; and his numerous lives of saints, books of travel, biographies, and spiritual writings, despite a discursive style, were always rooted in an exact intellectual discipline. He responded best to a subject that compelled compassion: Lourdes has found no truer interpreter, and St. Benedict Joseph Labre no more faithful friend.
Bibliography: t. d. roberts et al., "C. C. Martindale: A Symposium," Month 30 (1963) 69–90. i. evans, "C. C. Martindale, S.J. 1879–1963," America (6 Apr. 1963) 466–467.