Timothy Radcliffe

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Timothy Radcliffe

Master of the Order of Preachers
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
In office1992–2001
PredecessorDamian Byrne
SuccessorCarlos Azpiroz Costa
Personal details
Born (1945-08-22) 22 August 1945 (age 75)[1]
London, England
ResidenceBlackfriars, Oxford
OccupationPriest, academic, theologian

Timothy Peter Joseph Radcliffe, OP (born 22 August 1945, London) is a Roman Catholic priest and Dominican friar of the English Province, and former Master of the Order of Preachers from 1992 to 2001. He is the only member of the English Province of the Dominicans to have held the office since the Order's foundation in 1216. He is formerly the Director of the Las Casas Institute of Blackfriars, Oxford which focuses on the promotion of Social Justice and Human Rights.[2]


Timothy Radcliffe was born into a Catholic family in London. He studied at Downside School and St John's College, Oxford. He entered the Dominican Order in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1971.


During the mid 1970s Timothy was based at the West London Catholic Chaplaincy at More House, Cromwell Road, London SW7. Timothy Radcliffe taught Holy Scripture at Oxford University at Blackfriars, and was elected provincial of England in 1988.[3] In 1992 he was elected Master of the Dominican Order and held that office until 2001. During his tenure as Master, he was ex officio Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum in Rome.

In 2001, after the expiration of his nine-year mandate as Master of the Dominican order, Timothy Radcliffe took a sabbatical year. Starting in 2002, he became again a simple member of the Dominican community of Oxford and does public speaking.

Timothy Radcliffe occasionally presided at the Mass for gay people at Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street, which Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, recognised as part of the Archdiocese's mission to gay people.

In 2015 Radliffe was named a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.[4] This caused controversy due to statements he had made about the "eucharistic" dimension of homosexual sexual activity. The American television network EWTN dropped plans to cover an event in Ireland at which he was scheduled to speak because of Radcliffe's participation. A host at the station called Radcliffe's views "at sharp variance to Catholic teaching.” [5] Radcliffe had written, “Certainly [homosexual activity] can be generous, vulnerable, tender, mutual, and non-violent. So in many ways, I would think that it can be expressive of Christ's self-gift."[6][7]


In 2003, Timothy Radcliffe was made an honorary Doctor of Divinity in the University of Oxford, the University's highest honorary degree.[8] The Chancellor of the University of Oxford Rt Hon Christopher Patten ended his citation with the following words: "I present a man distinguished both for eloquence and for wit, a master theologian who has never disregarded ordinary people, a practical man who believes that religion and the teachings of theology must be constantly applied to the conduct of public life: the Most Reverend Timothy Radcliffe, MA, sometime Master of the Dominican Order and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas, for admission to the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity."[9]

He was the 2007 winner of The Michael Ramsey Prize for theological writing, for his book What Is the Point of Being A Christian?

Timothy Radcliffe is Patron of the International Young Leaders Network and helped launch Las Casas Institute, dealing with issues of ethics, governance and social justice. These are both projects of Blackfriars, Oxford.

He is also Patron of 'Catholic AIDS Prevention and Support', 'Christian Approaches to Defence and Disarmament', and 'Embrace the Middle East', as well as being on the Board of 'Fellowship and Aid to the Church in the East.

Incomplete bibliography[edit]


  • Sing a New Song. The Christian Vocation. Dublin: Dominican Publications, 1999. ISBN 1-871552-70-2
  • I Call You Friends. London: Continuum, 2001. ISBN 0-8264-7262-1
  • Seven Last Words. London: Burns & Oates, 2004. ISBN 0-86012-365-0
  • What Is the Point of Being A Christian?. London and New York: Burns & Oates, 2005. ISBN 0-86012-369-3
  • Just One Year: Prayer and Worship through the Christian Year, edited by Timothy Radcliffe with Jean Harrison. London: Darton, Longman and Todd for CAFOD and Christian Aid, 2006. ISBN 0-232-52669-9
  • Why Go to Church? The Drama of the Eucharist London: Continuum, 2008. ISBN 978-0-8264-9956-1. Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent book 2009.
  • Christians and Sexuality in the Time of AIDS, with Lytta Bassett. London: Continuum. ISBN 978-0-8264-9911-0
  • Take the Plunge: Living Baptism and Confirmation. London: Burns & Oates, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4411-1848-6.
  • The Hope that is Within You: Interviewed by Raymond Friel. Redemptorist Publications. April 2016. ISBN 9780852314630


  • "I was hungry and you gave me food". The Tablet. 264 (8856): 17. 7 August 2010.

Letters to the Order[edit]

  • Vowed to Mission (1994)
  • The Wellspring of Hope. Study and the Annunciation of the Good News (1996)
  • The Identity of Religious Today (1996)
  • Dominican Freedom and Responsibility. Towards a Spirituality of Government (1997)
  • The Bear and the Nun : What is the Sense of Religious Life Today ! (1998)
  • The Promise of Life (1998)
  • The Rosary (1998)
  • Letter to our brothers and sisters in initial formation (1999)
  • To Praise, to Bless, to Preach. The Mission of the Dominican Family (2000)
  • The Throne of God (2000)
  • St Catherine of Siena (1347–1380) Patroness of Europe (2000)
  • The Parable of the Good Samaritan (2001)
  • "A city set on a hilltop cannot be hidden" A Contemplative Life (2001)
  • Mission to a Runaway World: Future Citizens of the Kingdom (2002)


  1. ^ Catalogus – Province of England of the Order of Preachers (2013–2014), p. 41
  2. ^ "Las Casas Institute". bfriars.ox.ac.uk/hall/las-casas/las-casas-people/. Archived from the original on 22 May 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  3. ^ Catalogue of the Province of England of the Order of Preachers 2010, p. 7
  4. ^ http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2015/05/16/controversial-preacher-timothy-radcliffe-given-vatican-role/
  5. ^ http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2015/05/16/controversial-preacher-timothy-radcliffe-given-vatican-role/
  6. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20160919090726/https://www.churchofengland.org/media/1879636/radcliffepresentation.pdf
  7. ^ http://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/452/0/irish-conference-dismisses-calls-to-ban-timothy-radcliffe
  8. ^ Timothy Radcliffe's Honorary D.D. Citation
  9. ^ Oxford University Gazette, "Chancellor's Honorary Degree Ceremony, 21 November 2003", Supplement (1) to Gazette No. 4677, Wednesday, 26 November 2003, http://www.ox.ac.uk/gazette/2003-4/supps/1_4677.htm#11Ref. Retrieved 9 August 2013

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Damian Byrne
Master General of the Dominican Order
Succeeded by
Carlos Azpiroz Costa