An interesting day. I went to the launch of “Common ground? : seeking an Australian consensus on abortion and sex education” edited (and largely written by) Dr/Fr John Fleming, and Dr Nicholas Tonti-Filippini. The launch was at the coffee shop in the Princess Theatre–nice coffee but a bit crowded.
Whole stack of interesting people there, including, of course, the good Fr John Fleming “and his lovely wife” (as they say of Protestant clergy, but rarely, as in this case, of Catholic priests) Allison. Allison was chatting to a shortish white-haired visiting priest/academic from Oxford, and it wasn’t until Fr Pritchard (also in the group) mentioned “your book ‘Mere Catholicism’” that I realised I was actually talking to none other than the esteemed and inestimable Dr Ian Ker, the John Henry Newman expert.
I have his rather thick Newman biography sitting on my bedside table waiting to be read. It’s been there for some time gathering dust, as it is currently buried under the Pope’s Jesus of Nazareth, N.T. Wright’s New Testament and the People of God, Bouyer’s Spirit and Forms of Protestantism, Garuti’s Primacy of the Bishop of Rome in the Ecumenical Dialogue, and my Office book–quite a high pile). He’s speaking at the Caroline Chisholm Library this Thursday at Noon.
Later on this evening, as I was pulling out of the carpark headed for home (Dad’s night with my eldest daughter at Guides), I was waylaid by Father Fleming himself, and joined by Fr Ker, wandering out of the presbytery (I love working at the Archdiocese!). It is very hard, when running late for getting home, to try to catch up on the last six years (about the length of time since I have had a decent chat with Fr John), but I was glad of the short conversation. I add at this point (somewhat cryptically) that he asked after at least one of you reading this blog right now and wondered what you were up to and when you would finally make “the decision”…