Timothy Radcliffe

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The Very Reverend

Timothy Radcliffe

Master Emeritus of the Order of Preachers
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
In office1992–2001
PredecessorDamian Byrne
SuccessorCarlos Azpiroz Costa
Personal details
Timothy Peter Joseph Radcliffe

(1945-08-22) 22 August 1945 (age 78)[1]
London, England
ResidenceBlackfriars, Oxford
OccupationPriest, academic, theologian

Timothy Peter Joseph Radcliffe, OP (born 22 August 1945) is an English Catholic priest and Dominican friar who served as master of the Order of Preachers from 1992 to 2001. He is the only member of the order's English Province to hold that office.

Radcliffe served as director of the Las Casas Institute of Blackfriars, Oxford, which promotes social justice and human rights.[2] He has been a supporter of outreach to LGBT Catholics.[3]



Timothy Radcliffe was born on 22 August 1945 in London. He studied at Worth Preparatory School (Worth School) in Sussex, Downside School in Somerset and St John's College, Oxford. He entered the Dominican Order in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1971.[4]


During the mid-1970s, Radcliffe was based at the West London Catholic Chaplaincy. He taught scriptures at Oxford and was elected provincial of England in 1988.[5] In 1992, he was elected master of the Dominican Order, holding that office until 2001.[4] During his tenure as master, Radcliffe served as ex-officio grand chancellor of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome.[6]

In 2001, after the expiration of his term as master, Radcliffe took a sabbatical year. In 2002, he became again a simple member of the Dominican community of Oxford. He previously led the Las Casas Institute, dealing which leads with issues of ethics, governance and social justice at Blackfriars, Oxford.[7] He now preaches and carries out public speaking internationally.

In 2015, Radcliffe was named a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.[8][9][a]

Although not a topic Radcliffe has often written on in his numerous publications, he has publicly defended the teaching of the Catholic Church on same-sex marriage:[11]

The Catholic Church does not oppose gay marriage. It considers it to be impossible... Marriage is founded on the glorious fact of sexual difference and its potential fertility. Without this, there would be no life on this planet, no evolution, no human beings, no future. Marriage takes all sorts of forms, from the alliance of clans through bride exchange to modern romantic love. We have come to see that it implies the equal love and dignity of man and woman. But everywhere and always, it remains founded on the union in difference of male and female. Through ceremonies and sacrament this is given a deeper meaning, which for Christians includes the union of God and humanity in Christ.

In January 2023, Pope Francis named Radcliffe to lead a three-day preparatory retreat for participants in the synod on synodality in October 2023.[12]


In 2003, Oxford awarded Radcliffe an honorary Doctor of Divinity.[13] The Chancellor, the Right Honorable Christopher Patten, ended the award citation with the following words:[14]

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.

Radcliffe received the 2007 Michael Ramsey Prize for theological writing for his book What Is the Point of Being A Christian?[15]

Radcliffe is also patron of Positive Faith, the main ministry of Catholic AIDS Prevention and Support,[16] sits on the Council on Christian Approaches to Defence and Disarmament,[17] and is a patron of Embrace the Middle East.[18]

In 2024, Liverpool Hope University, awarded an Honorary Doctorate to Radcliffe.[19]



  • 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
  • ”Alive in God:A Christian Imagination”London:Bloomsbury Continuum 2019 ISBN 978-1-4729-7020-6


  • "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. ^ The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace ceased its functions in January 2017 with the erection of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.[10]


  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. ^ "'Orthodoxy is spacious': At retreat, synod members hear about women's hopes, LGBTQ issues". National Catholic Reporter. Archived from the original on 18 October 2023. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  4. ^ a b "Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP". Blackfriars Hall. Retrieved 28 October 2023.
  5. ^ Catalogue of the Province of England of the Order of Preachers 2010, p. 7
  6. ^ "Radcliff to speak on search for wisdom | Emory University | Atlanta GA". news.emory.edu. Archived from the original on 5 April 2023. Retrieved 28 October 2023.
  7. ^ "Faith & the Imagination - Timothy Radcliffe (English Literature and Creative Writing Annual Priory Lecture), Wednesday 26 October, 7:30pm". Lancaster University. Archived from the original on 26 October 2022. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  8. ^ "Rinunce e nomine (continuazione), 16.05.2015" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 16 May 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  9. ^ O'Loughlin, Michael (16 May 2015). "Controversial preacher, writer Timothy Radcliffe given Vatican role". Crux. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  10. ^ McElwee, Joshua J. (31 August 2016). "Francis creates new Vatican office for charity, justice, peace, migration". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  11. ^ Radcliffe, Timothy (8 March 2012). "'Can Marriage ever Change?'". The Tablet. UK. Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  12. ^ Lamb, Christopher (23 January 2023). "Pope asks Fr Timothy Radcliffe to lead bishops' synod retreat". The Tablet. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  13. ^ Timothy Radcliffe's Honorary D.D. Citation
  14. ^ Oxford University Gazette, "Chancellor's Honorary Degree Ceremony, 21 November 2003", Supplement (1) to Gazette No. 4677, Wednesday, 26 November 2003, https://web.archive.org/web/20130516215234/https://www.ox.ac.uk/gazette/2003-4/supps/1_4677.htm#11Ref. Retrieved 3rd December 2023
  15. ^ "Past Winners". Michael Ramsey Prize. Archived from the original on 28 October 2023. Retrieved 28 October 2023.
  16. ^ "About PositiveFaith". Positive Faith | CAPS. Archived from the original on 18 October 2023. Retrieved 28 October 2023.
  17. ^ "Council on Christian Approaches to Defence and Disarmament". Archived from the original on 17 January 2022. Retrieved 28 October 2023.
  18. ^ "Meet the Team". Embrace the Middle East. Archived from the original on 18 October 2023. Retrieved 28 October 2023.
  19. ^ Willsher, James. "Liverpool Hope University awards Fr Timothy Radcliffe Honorary Doctorate". www.catholiceducation.org.uk. Retrieved 15 March 2024.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Master General of the Dominican Order
Succeeded by