Reginald C. Fuller

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Reginald Cuthbert Fuller (12 September 1908 – 21 April 2011)[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] was ordained as a priest in 1931 by Cardinal Bourne, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, and appointed Canon (hon.) of Westminster Cathedral by Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor in 2001.[8] He celebrated his 100th birthday in 2008.[9]

Born in London, he contributed significantly to the advancement of Roman Catholic life and ecumenism in England during the 20th century, notably through co-founding the Catholic Biblical Association of Great Britain, his collaboration as an Editorial Committee member of the first one-volume Bible commentary for English-speaking Catholics and his General Editorship of its second edition, and his work as a member of the Revised Standard Version Bible Committee and as Co-Editor of the first complete Bible translation in modern English for Catholics from the Hebrew and the Greek, as well as of its ecumenical edition. His specialist subjects were the Deuterocanonical Books, on which he contributed articles to three major Biblical Commentaries (see "Publications" below), and the life and works of Alexander Geddes, a pioneer of biblical criticism, on which he wrote his doctoral thesis (see "Publications" below).[10]


Initially Fuller's parents, the physician and medical author Arthur William Fuller and Florence Margaret Fuller (née Montgomery), of St John's Wood, London, sent their son to Ealing Priory School (subsequently renamed St Benedict's School) where he happened to share classes and hone his Latin skills in competition with a younger pupil, later also a New Testament scholar who would be Fuller's colleague on a number of major academic projects, John Bernard Orchard. Recognizing his academic potential, they then decided to move their son to Cardinal Vaughan School, before sending him for the final years of his schooling to Ampleforth College.

Seminary and academic studies[edit]

Fuller attended seminary studies at Allen Hall, St Edmund's College, Ware, Hertfordshire, from 1926 to 1931 and was ordained priest by Cardinal Bourne at Westminster Cathedral in 1931. His academic studies at the Dominican University in Rome earned him a SThL in 1933 and a SThD in 1935, and at the Biblical Institute in Rome a SScriptLic in 1934. During 1964–1968 he took up biblical research at Cambridge University and earned a PhD.

Pastoral appointments[edit]

At various times during 1950–1994 Rev. Fuller held pastoral appointments in the Archdiocese of Westminster. He served as Rector of the Church and Shrine of Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory, Warwick Street, London W1 (1950–1963),[11] as Chaplain at Westminster Cathedral (1976–1978), and as Rector of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Islington (1978–1983). After his retirement he served as Assistant Priest at the Church of St. Mellitus, Tollington Park, London (1983–1990, (where on one occasion in the sacristy he was attacked by intruders and hit over the head with a crucifix but suffered no lasting injury), and at the Church of Our Lady and St. Joseph, Poplar, London (1990–1994). Thereafter he took up residence in Clergy House at Westminster Cathedral, regularly hearing Confessions at the Cathedral and helping with occasional exhibitions. In 2003 he moved to Nazareth House, where on request he continued to provide spiritual guidance to his visitors on an individual basis.[12]

Teaching appointments[edit]

Fuller was Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Allen Hall, St Edmund's College, Ware, Hertfordshire, from 1936 to 1949, for the Newman Association from 1950 to 1954, and at St Mary's College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, from 1968 to 1972. He then spent three years in Kenya as Lecturer in Old Testament Studies at the University of Nairobi from 1972 to 1975. While there he availed himself of the opportunity to indulge some of his recreational interests and with members of the university staff went mountain climbing and visited Mount Kenya and the Ngorongoro Crater, and admired the wild-life in Serengeti/Tanzania and the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

Other professional activities[edit]

From 1949 to 1990 Fuller was a member of the Society of Old Testament Studies (SOTS). Among his involvement in major professional projects was the co-founding of the Catholic Biblical Association of Great Britain (CBA), of which he then was Hon. Secretary from 1940 to 1965 and chairman from 1968 to 1982. As representative of the CBA he acted in 1963 as Promoter of the English spelling of Biblical names for Catholic use to the Conference of the Bishops of England and Wales (e.g. Noah, Elijah, Joshua, in place of Noe, Elias, Josue as in the Douay-Challoner Bible, based on the Latin text).

Fr Bernard Orchard invited Fuller onto the Editorial Committee of the first one-volume Bible commentary for English-speaking Catholics, entitled A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (CCHS, 1953 [1]); and the Diocese entrusted Fuller in 1951 with the office of Censor Deputatus for the Nihil Obstat in its regard (cf. CCHS, p. iv). When subsequent developments – among them Vatican II and the discovery of the manuscripts in the caves at Qumran – required an updating of the commentary, he was General Editor of its second edition, entitled A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (1969).

He was, moreover, Co-Editor of the first complete Bible translation in modern English for Catholics from the Hebrew and Greek, entitled The Holy Bible – Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (1966), and its ecumenical counterpart, The Common Bible (1973). He was a member of the Revised Standard Version Bible Committee from 1969 to 1980 and of the Joint Committee on the Revised English Bible from 1979 to 1989. From 1946 to 1953 he was the Editor of the quarterly journal, Scripture.


In addition to many articles[13] and book reviews that Fuller contributed to specialist journals, e.g. Scripture Bulletin, Priests and People, The Tablet. He wrote articles on the Deuterocanonical Books for A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (1953), A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (1966), and International Catholic Bible Commentary (1996), and the articles "Alexander Geddes, 1737–1802" and "Mythology and Biblical Studies to 1800" for Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation (1999).

His PhD thesis was published in 1984 under the title Alexander Geddes: A Pioneer of Biblical Criticism, 1737–1802.

He outlined the history of the Church and Shrine of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, better known as "Warwick Street Church", where he had been a Rector from 1950 to 1963, in a small illustrated book entitled Steadfast in Loyalty – Warwick Street Church – A Short History and Guide (1956, 1973).[14]

His friendship with Leonard Cheshire led to his editing a slender volume providing an insight into Cheshire's spiritual resources during his struggle with the effects of motor neurone disease, entitled Crossing the Finishing Line – Last Thoughts of Leonard Cheshire VC (1998, ISBN 0-85439-527-X, see pp. 7–14, 80).


  • Who's Who in Catholic Life (2005)