Sunday, 29 March 2015
It is with much sadness that we have learned that the Revd Canon Joe Cassidy died yesterday, 28 March, after a short illness. He was 60.
Joe was a frequent commenter on this Thinking Anglicans blog, and also a valued contributor to our ‘just thinking’ series, writing challenging and pastoral pieces from a sound scholarly position. In the wider world he was the Principal of St Chad’s College, Durham, a place where many of our clergy have trained and where he will be much missed. Before joining the Church of England he had been ordained priest in the Roman Catholic Church, and was a member of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, in his native Canada.
The Dean of Durham, Michael Sadgrove, was his neighbour in the city, and has written this personal reminiscence.
To his wife Gillian and to his children and family we send our condolences.
May he rest in peace!
Simon, Simon and Peter
Posted by Simon Kershaw on
Sunday, 29 March 2015 at 8:14pm BST
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This is immensely sad. I echo all that Michael Sadgrove says and would add two reminiscences of my own.
When I lost my job at the neighbouring St John's college in 2006, Joe took me in at St Chad's, offering me a small office and a university internet connection so I could carry on with some academic work (and apply for jobs!) - and also have a college community to belong to. For this act of kindness I was very grateful.
Secondly, Joe did much to heal the unhelpful aspects of the longstanding rivalry between John's and Chad's. He and the principal of St John's (Stephen Sykes) got these two independent church of England colleges to work together on a number of things - a task continued by Stephen's successor David Wilkinson. Joe taught ethics in Cranmer Hall, much to the delight of Cranmer students.
May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
A great loss to the church militant. A Lonergan scholar and an Anglican scholar. Indeed, may he rest in peace and rise in glory.
Memory eternal. May he rise as did his Lord...
A lovely man; I met him only over one weekend, at an AffCath Conference in Durham many years ago, and he left a deep impression.
My apologies for the spell check typo [ed: typo corrected]. May he rest in peace, and rise in glory. The lovely tribute written by The Dean of Durham is very interesting.
Very sorry to hear this. I first met him in the early 90s when he arrived in Durham and I was still in Durham Classics. Then, very recently, renewed contact, when he attended Robert Song's book launch in St Chad's Chapel and he said hello very pleasantly as if there had been no 20 year interval. Then even more recently on TA when there was debate about the problem of evil/suffering, and I said (in my way) 'Joe's comment smacks to me of the higher mumbo-jumbo', to which he responded most graciously: 'And there I was, largely agreeing with John'. So then I apologised by e-mail and we met up for coffee at St Chad's, when we talked about many things, including how he felt 'very comfortable' in the Liberal Catholic wing of the C of E but 'very frustrated' by the generally low standard of theological discussion within the C of E, how he greatly esteemed the Dean of Durham, how he thought Tom Wright 'totally wrong' in his interpretation of 'Romans', how our current archbishops were staging a take-over of the church, how there should be provision for 'Traditionalists', etc. etc. I suppose I always thought he had a high colour. He was the sort of high-powered 'Catholic' (it so happens, liberal Catholic) that the current C of E doesn't greatly esteem but oh desperately needs, if it's to maintain Christianity's purchase on the minds of British people. The fight continues.
I'd second Gerry's comment above, also a fleeting recollection from an Affcath event. Too few memories of a man to be worth sharing except this: I was in the presence of someone wise, holy, fully alive, and to be remembered with gratitude. Thanks be to God.
Joe Cassidy emailed me a few years ago to talk of our common background as former Roman Catholics and education by Jesuit priests. We exchanged several pleasant and rather lengthy emails, and he seemed a learned and altogether lovely man. I'm sorry to hear of his untimely death.