PROFESSOR Gilbert Murray,
O.M., who died on May 20 was reconciled to the Church and received Extreme Unction before his death at the hands Fr. John Crozier, of North Hinksey, Oxford. He was 91, and had been baptised in a Catholic Church. He had during life professed to be a militant agnostic.
Fr. Crozier has told the CATHOLIC HEItAi la that Mr. Murray had recognised him during his illness and that he had asked for the consolations of religion.
In answer to allegations of forcing his spiritual ministry on the famous agnostic, hc has stated that in January they discussed agnosticism and Fr. Crozier gave him the Christian answer in the words of the Vatican Council. Two months later, in March, Fr. Crozier had tea with Mr. Murray and after tea undertook to give Mr. Murray a copy of the quotation. He did not see him again until hc was summoned by his daughter Rosalind Murray (Mrs. Toynbee) to the sick man's bedroom.
• When THE CATHOLIC HERALD asked Fr. Corbishley S.J., Master of Campion Hall. Oxford. for an explanation of the Church's point of view in a ease like this, Fr. Corbishley said: "The Church gives the benefit of the doubt In foro interno, and we can believe that Gilbert Murray in fart died in the Catholic Church, the religion of his baptism. Bat in fora externo the evidence in a case like this is not such as to cause the Church to oppose the wishes of the family as represented by his. nearest relations.
"It may further be observed that Catholics, aware of the circumstantws, believed that Gilbert Murray died a Catholic, they were anxious that no public report of the fact should be made. This shows how careful the Church is, even in the case of an extremely famous man. not to make public any conversion or reconciliation to the Catholic Church where the circumstances_ involve this distinction between a person'.s apparent inner dispositions and what he hints-lf is unable, owing to the conditions (which in this case were severe illness and approaching death), normally and publicly to confirm and profess."
The Latin phrase " in fora inferno" refers to what may happen before God in a person's conscience. "In foro externo" refers to the Church's public jurisdiction. The Church, when a person is dying, never refuses her spiritual benefits so long as any sufficient signs in the circumstances are given of a sincere wish to be reconciled to time Church.
. Much stricter rules apply in normal conditions.