Pope Francis has named the former head of the Dominicans, Fr Timothy Radcliffe, to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Fr Timothy, who lives at Blackfriars College at Oxford University, where he helped launch a social justice institute at the College, is a theologian and an honorary Doctor of Divinity at the university.
Fr Timothy, who was Master of the Dominicans between 1992-2001, will serve as a consultor on the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Vatican body devoted to social justice and human rights.
He told The Tablet: “I am very happy that the Pope has expressed his confidence in me in this way. Justice, peace and mercy are at the centre of his pontificate, and so it is an honour to offer whatever support I can. I do not a yet know what the role involves.”
He has been outspoken on social justice issues and caused controversy for appearing to support gay relationships.
In his contribution to the Church of England’s 2013 Pilling Report on human sexuality, he said of homosexuality: “Certainly it can be generous, vulnerable, tender, mutual and non-violent. So in many ways, I would think that it can be expressive of Christ’s self-gift.”
Organisers of Ireland’s largest Catholic conference, the International Conference of Divine Mercy, subsequently resisted calls to drop him as a keynote speaker at the event.