The nice thing about the film It’s a Wonderful Life is that it shows a man how much he is valued while he’s still around to take pleasure from the knowledge. It’s been a little like that since Mark Langham, until lately chaplain at Cambridge, let it be known to the chaplaincy that he’s very unwell and receiving palliative care; Westminster Cathedral, where he was administrator, did the same. There has been an outpouring since of prayer and affection since then, which was enormously moving to witness. Friends got in touch with friends to let them know; students organised rosary rotas; people who knew him at various points in his life surfaced to share their bewildered concern. Having known him since we were undergraduates at Cambridge, my own sensation was one of utter vexation with God for striking down with illness someone who brought so much to the world. Being both intensely private and modest, he will probably hate my saying so.
Being a priest doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, along with all the business of life and death
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