In Memoriam

We remember the following CCA members and benefactors who have shared our CCA journey with us during their lives:

CCA Chair Emeritus, Dr Edward Echlin

Catholic Concern for Animals is extremely sad to report the passing of our great friend and Chair Emeritus, Dr Edward Echlin who entered into eternal life on 23rd December 2019, aged 89.  He contributed many thoughtful and inspiring articles to The Ark, indeed he wrote the lead article in the last Ark (autumn 2019) ‘Christians and a Healthy Climate’.  He contributed so much to the animals and the wider environment during his time on Earth and we celebrate his life and his life’s works as we remember him fondly.  He has inspired us all.

Dr Edward P. Echlin, eco-theologian, organic gardener and Chair Emeritus of Catholic Concern for Animals, did his theological thinking with his hands in the soil. He was born on 15 January 1930 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1948 and remained a Jesuit for 25 years. In the sixties he taught theology at John Carroll University, Cleveland, Ohio. He had a special interest in ecumenical relations, especially between Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. He wrote his first book, The Anglican Eucharist in Ecumenical Perspective in 1968, plus many articles, and in 1974 The Story of Anglican Ministry. When the permanent diaconate was restored he chaired the US RC Bishops’ Committee on the theology of the diaconate and wrote his best selling book The Deacon and the Church, Past and Future (1971). He saw preaching the Word as the prime function of the priest and wrote The Priest as Preacher (1973). In 1972 he lectured in ecclesiology at Ushaw College, Durham, and in 1974 spent one term as Catholic Lecturer at the Anglican theological college at Lincoln. He was laicised and married Barbara in December 1974. He taught RE briefly at Bexhill Grammar School.

Always interested in the environment, from the eighties onwards he focused all his efforts on relating Jesus Christ to the Earth. He saw reintegration with the Earth, in a mutually supportive relationship of humans with the Earth community, as the defining issue of the twenty-first century. He wrote three books: Earth Spirituality, Jesus at the Centre (1999/2002), The Cosmic Circle, Jesus and Ecology (2004), and Climate and Christ, A Prophetic Alternative (2010) plus numerous articles in both academic and popular journals and magazines. He had a passion for fruit trees and in the past year inspired the planting of 24 apple and pear trees, in church grounds, schools and individual gardens.

May he rest in peace.

A Personal Tribute to Ed Echlin by Dr Deborah Jones

Edward Echlin, former Jesuit and a deep theological thinker, was an admirer of the great naturalist John Muir and his philosophy of learning from wide, wild spaces. In his turn he was looked up to as a foremost advocate of the simple, organic life, close to nature and reverencing the whole of God’s creation. Somehow he and I made contact in the early 1980s, when I was lecturing on the then-largely undeveloped Theology of Creation at the Suffolk College in Ipswich. He became my guru – my adviser and encourager – always ready to put me in contact with people and ideas to prop up my own shaky understanding of the subject. My main theme was of the interconnectedness and relatedness of all of creation, one that Edward pursued with typical theological thoroughness in his many books and articles. Being the authentically good Christian man that he was, Ed did not drop me once I left the world of lecturing and adult education, and even attended a talk I gave in London when I was editing the Catholic Herald. (A woefully underprepared talk, but Ed’s support was unfailing). He accepted writing commissions with a will, and I knew that for both the Herald and the monthly Priests & People, he could be relied on for clear original thinking and a readable easy style.  Ed, with his wife Barbara, participated in several of the Ecumenical Animal Welfare Retreats whenever they could, and as they would not leave their adored pug dog, they often smuggled her in! When Mervyn Bocking retired from chairing the committee of CCA, it seemed a natural step to invite Ed to take over. I hardly dared believe he would, as he had such a busy life – not least in tending his beloved organic garden, planted with rare or heritage seeds. With characteristic humility, he accepted.

What made Edward Echlin stand out were his specific qualities of authentic living, gentle manner and loyal friendship. In his passing, we in CCA have lost a good friend, and God’s beautiful creation a powerful advocate.

Violet Flint (died 11th November 2017)

Violet Gladys Flint passed away on 11th November 2017 aged 99. Her funeral was held at St Edwards RC Church, Peverell, Plymouth on 8th February 2018.
Violet was a member and long time supporter of CCA, making a monthly donation by direct debit for much of her life. She also left a generous legacy which, quite literally, has saved CCA and given it another two years’ existence. We are extremely indebted to Violet for this.
Violet was an only child who married late in life and had no children. Both she and her husband enjoyed the theatre and acting and her husband taught drama. In later life she lived in a care home in Plymouth with her beloved cat. She loved cats. RIP Violet and thank you.

Fr Robert Murray SJ (8th June 1925 – 24th April 2018)

Fr Robert Murray SJ

Fr Robert Murray SJ was a Catholic theologian and a Jesuit, who was ordained in 1959 after studying philosophy and theology at Heythrop College in Oxfordshire and then teaching at St Ignatius College in Stamford Hill. He was editor of the Heythrop Journal from 1971 – 1983 and wrote the books The Cosmic Covenant: Biblical Themes of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation in 1992 and Symbols of Church and Kingdom: a Study in Early Syriac Tradition in 2004. He could read 12 languages.
Fr Murray had been a friend of the Tolkein family which had led to his interest in religion and he proof-read drafts of Lord of the Rings, given to him by J.R.R. Tolkein.
He led CCA’s first animal welfare retreat at Aylesford Priory in Kent, taking all the prayers, services and talks.

Dr Hugh Wirth (9th September 1939 – 5th February 2018) Patron of CCA-Australia

Hugh Wirth with a dog
Hugh Wirth

Hugh Wirth, AM, DVSc, was for many years – and very deservedly so – the main public face of animal welfare in Australia. Educated at Xavier College in Melbourne and at the University of Queensland, he spent his life in private veterinary practice – at first, briefly, in the Gippsland (Victoria) town of Drouin (1965-6), and thereafter until retirement in August 2006, in the Melbourne suburb of Balwyn. He suffered from Parkinson’s disease during the last 10 years of life.
It was a stroke of good fortune that our (CCA-Aus’s) foundress, Marion Craig, and her two sisters became clients (in connection with their fox terrier ‘Lady’) – partly for the reason that his practice was not far from the Craigs’ residence in Kew. He was very supportive of our newly established society (then called ACSCAW), and he accepted our invitation to be one of its patrons. The other patrons were Australian bishops; Dr Wirth was the only lay patron. In his case especially, this meant much more than giving us his blessing or approval and appearing on our letterhead. He advised us about activities, he attended some of our meetings and was guest speaker at several of our annual animal blessings, and we worked along with him in some of his campaigns.
It was largely for his leadership in the RSPCA and relevant reforming work that Hugh was chiefly known. He had joined the Victorian RSPCA as a junior member in 1948. In 1972 he became its president, remaining so until 2015, a period of 43 years. He was also instrumental in bringing together the various State and Territory RSPCAs to form RSPCA Australia: he was its foundation president, continuing as such for 22 years. He was also for a time president of WSPA (now WAP: World Animal Protection), the first non-European to occupy that position. For more than 30 years Hugh was ‘resident vet’ for ABC radio, answering listeners’ questions knowledgeably and forthrightly. One such answer began: ‘The problem, madam, is not with your dog but with you’.
A truly tireless campaigner, his activities were not without some controversy. He sometimes came into conflict with others, including some of the more radical animal reformers. But he achieved many reforms at the political level – banning puppy farms, stopping the export of horses to Japan, and much more.
Hugh received numerous honours. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1985. He was the first Australian to be awarded the George T. Angell Humanitarian Award from the Massachusetts SPCA (in 1988). He was named Victorian of the Year in 1997. And the University of Melbourne conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Veterinary Science in 2001.
Hugh always spoke slowly and authoritatively. He often appeared to be gruff in manner, outspoken, dogmatic, even pontificating; but his words were always backed by well thought out and comprehensive knowledge and experience.
Hugh never married: he considered himself to be too much of a meticulously demanding and exacting person to fill that role. His life was almost entirely devoted to the welfare of animals. (by John Drennan).

Fr Luciano Rocchi OFM CAP (died 3rd January 2018)

Fr Luciano Rocchi

On 3rd January 2018 our first chaplain, the widely respected and much loved Fr Luciano Rocchi OFM Cap, died. Readers who have the 2nd edition of God’s Animals (Dom Ambrose Agius, 1973) may see a photo of him (facing page 61) at our very first blessing of animals service, in 1972, at his church, St Anthony of Padua, in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn.
Fr Luciano conducted most of the first 29 such services (1972-2000), i.e. all except in those years (before 2001) when his duties within his Capuchin order took him to other places in Australia. These services were memorable events. We almost always had a visiting clerical speaker from a different Christian denomination (Anglican etc.) and a lay speaker prominent in practical animal welfare, along with music provided usually by a small contingent of Salvation Army players. Sometimes the mounted police also attended, their horse Gendarme being especially popular.
Fr Luciano exercised a moderating influence at some of our often rather tumultuous meetings in the 1970s and 80s, at which conflicting standpoints on animal welfare questions were variously canvassed.
Born in the Italian province of Modena in 1926, Fr Luciano was ordained just before Christmas 1950, and came to Australia the next year, at the age of 25, to minister to Melbourne’s growing Italian population, a task which he performed with great aplomb during the rest of his long life. His passing was fittingly marked by a requiem mass on 12th January, in the grand Italian manner, co-celebrated by his order’s Australian provincial superior, Fr Gerard O’Dempsey OFM Cap, Auxiliary Bishop Terence Curtin, and Emeritus Bishop Joseph Ouderman OFM Cap. (by John Drennan).

Susan Marshall (died 22nd November 2017)

Susan Marshall with a dog
Susan Marshall

Susan Marshall was a deeply committed champion and friend to all God’s creatures. In Oxford in the 1970s she was the face of ‘animal welfare’ as it was then known and a pioneer in the movement against experiments on animals – particularly those being undertaken at Oxford University.
With her quiet and determined demeanour and working with her many well connected Oxford contacts, she set up the Oxford Animal Fair – an annual event in the Town Hall opened by the Oxford Lord Mayor and bringing together all the many local animal welfare groups and charities.
It was at this time that NAVS and BUAV were bringing attention to the ‘industry’ and extent of animal experiments being carried out in utmost secrecy at Oxford University. Together with Jean Pink (the founder of Animal Aid) and her other well connected Oxford friends, Susan Marshall joined the first anti-vivisection march through the City of Oxford. Leading the group with her friend’s Shetland pony Missy – Susan, carrying the large yellow banner ‘stop animal experiments’ was accompanied by marchers dressed in animal costumes and also an Anglican sister, Sister Sylvia from Wantage’s Community of St Mary the Virgin. It was a definite ‘first’ for Susan, who then regularly joined protest marches in London against experiments on animals and the export of live food animals.
Susan was on the committee of the Oxford branch of NAVS and regularly held meetings in her home in Park Town (where her two rescued dogs made sure everyone ‘went through security’ before being let in). It was through Susan’s quiet determination and her local contacts that she persuaded the Rev. Mac Ramm to hold the first Animal Blessing Service at the Oxford City Church of St Michael in the Northgate (which then became an annual event). Susan’s Catholic faith was a great comfort and a strong drive in her work and commitment for the good of all God’s Creatures. She was a committed member of Catholic Concern for Animals – regularly attending annual general meetings and residential retreats and, in the earlier days, attending Ark holidays.
It was on an Ark pilgrimage to Rome (where Susan personally met the Pope John Paul II) and later in Assisi, that I had the privilege and unique experience of joining Susan (just the two of us) in walking at sunrise to pay homage at the shrine of St Francis. A truly memorable and spiritual experience.
Despite Susan’s stroke and failing health, she remained a determined champion for her friends the animals – accompanied to the last by her faithful rescued greyhound Lola.
Susan died on 22nd November 2017 aged 88 at her home in Oxford surrounded by her three sons and their families. Her Requiem Mass was held on 4th December at Blackfriars in Oxford.
She will be greatly missed by us all and her beloved animals. Susan RIP. (by Wanda Oberman)

Margaret Harrington

Margaret Harrington

Margaret was a trustee with CCA for over 20 years. She travelled to our meetings from her home in Hampshire which she shared with her husband Roy [RIP] and various dogs and other animals. Margaret was a valued member of the board particularly for her considered views and, at times, her challenging comments. We will miss her as a contributor to our trustee meetings and, when she was able to join us, at our retreats.
Margaret was a gentle person with a strong resolve for the rights and care of animals and, like all our members, did what she could for animals in her own way. At her Titchfield home in Hampshire she had a smallholding and would often come to meetings and the AGM with apples and vegetables to share out amongst members. She was greatly inspired by her deep spirituality, nurtured in her later years by the meditation group which she joined at Park Place, enjoying the company of the Franciscan sisters from India. Please pray for Margaret who did all she could to give many animals a better life. (by Judy Gibbons)

Fr Michael Campbell

Fr Michael Campbell with a pony
Fr Michael Campbell

Fr Michael Campbell of Middleton, County Cork, Ireland was a member of CCA who wrote to The Ark in 2015 and submitted this prayer which we published then and re-publish now in memory of him.

Prayer for Animals

Then God said to Noah, ‘Behold! I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, with every living creature that is with you and with the birds, the cattle and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the Ark’ – Genesis 9.
Eternal father, at the very dawn of human history you have given, through Noah, your protecting covenant to all animals, as well as to us. We intercede, therefore for our friends the animals and their welfare.
Inspired by the gospel message of mercy, given to us by your divine son, may all of us use our unique gifts of reason to protect these less privileged creatures which share this planet with us.
We ask this through Christ out lord.

CCA Members

Mr J.A. Field of Worthing, West Sussex
Mrs K.M. Tunstall of St Helens, Merseyside
Fr Francis McNamara OP of Kilkenny City, Kilkenny
Miss H. Mayer of London
Mrs Margaret Napier of Belfast
Mrs Olive O’Brien of Ilfracombe, Devon

Mrs E. Barry, Finchley, London
Miss M. Gwinnett, Wolverhampton, West Midlands
Miss J. Ierston, Telford, Shropshire
Dr L Marsden, Clitheroe, Lancashire
Mrs l. Matthews, Southwold, Suffolk
Miss V S Milesi, Reigate, Surrey
Rev. S. Porter, Salisbury, Wiltshire
Mrs C. Stinchcombe, Stevenage, Hertfordshire
Br Thomas, Coalville, Leicestershire

Miss A. P. Dryburgh
Mr R. J. Lewis
Fr V. Malloy
Mr D. Parkin

Mrs V. Austin of Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Mrs J. Hallett of Nottingham
Mrs J. Harrington of Higher Blackley, Gtr Manchester
Mrs Sheila Padfield of Epsom, Surrey
Rev D. Sox of Richmond, Surrey

Mrs Doreen Grisbrooke of Swindon, Wiltshire.

Mr Terry Baily-Pullen of Grange-Over-Sands, Cumbria.

Mrs P.A. White of Cannington, Somerset.

We remember with particular gratitude for the legacies they left:

Violet Flint
Margaret Harrington
Cyril Lunt
Jean Meehan
Marie Louise Wilson