Fr. Edward Holloway, an active pastoral priest for fifty-five years, founder of Faith movement, editor of Faith Magazine, theologian and philosopher, died on 24 March 1999, aged 81 years. His legacy of writings and the Faith movement remain a remarkable achievement for someone who never really held any academic posts but was, in his quiet way, a ‘charismatic’ figure, much loved by many and whose thinking and unique apostolate had a profound effect, especially on the young. Those who came to him he encouraged and supported in their faith in Christ and the Church in very difficult and confusing times, offering always both clear and profound intellectual answers as well as spiritual guidance. He gave many talks and lectures to diverse groups in which he inspired them with a thrilling vision of Christ, the Master-Key to the Meaning of the Universe, and always the centre of our own spiritual lives.
Birth, ordination, parishes
Edward Henry Holloway was born on 18 November 1917. His family came from Woolwich in South London: parents Agnes and Henry Holloway. After studies at Mark Cross junior seminary, and the English College, Rome he was ordained priest on 13 February 1944 for the diocese of Southwark, and after 1965, for the new diocese of Arundel and Brighton. From 1944 to 1957 he was assistant at Walworth, London and priest-in-charge of St Augustine’s House for late vocations. He was parish priest at Bramley, Surrey (1961-67); Portslade-by-Sea, Sussex (1967-76); and Esher, Surrey (1976-86). After retiring he assisted Fr. Victor Cook at Cranleigh, Surrey (1986-92) and from 1992 at Warlingham until his death.
Fr. Holloway was the author of Catholicism: A New Synthesis (1969 and 1976 - Foreword by Cardinal John Wright). This was based on the vision of Christ and creation given earlier to his mother Agnes Holloway. In 1988 he edited and published her writings as God’s Master-Key: the Law of Control and Direction. This was the inspiration for his life’s work on a synthesis of Catholicism and the modern scientific vision of the universe. Fr. Holloway was Editor of Faith Magazine 1969-91 and, with Fr. Roger Nesbitt, founder of Faith Youth Movement in 1972, which became the charity Faith-Keyway Trust in 1979.
Faith Magazine became a vehicle for Fr. Holloway’s thinking and his leadership of what might be called post-Vatican II neo-orthodoxy, although he thought that neo-orthodoxy was not really enough - that a new synthesis had to be developed for the new age in which Catholicism was synthesised with the scientific and evolutionary vision of creation. In this synthesis he diverged from Teilhard de Chardin and from any pantheism or confusion of the orders of matter and spirit, or denial of the doctrine of original sin. The real distinction of spirit and matter could be seen, in the synthesis he proposed, in a remarkable and new way through the “Law of Control and Direction” which had been originally shown to his mother. He found that this vision sustained and consoled him but was also a source of misunderstanding, and an obstacle for some. Before the Council he was considered unsound because of his espousal of evolution, and he was shunned after the Council because of his undoubted orthodoxy - he himself said, with a smile: “I could never win!”
Fr. Holloway was the author of numerous pamphlets and articles which develop the original vision of Christ the Lord of Science and of Religion. The priests and laity of Faith movement are committed to continue propagating this vision. Fr. Holloway’s philosophical works are his three volumes of Perspectives in Philosophy, which involve a critique and re-alignment of Catholic philosophy for the scientific age. The last volume of these, Noumenon and Phenomenon: Rethinking the Greeks in the Age of Science, was published just before he died. This is probably his most brilliant work and, with his New Synthesis, his most outstanding legacy.
Dedicated pastoral priest
Fr. Holloway was a dedicated priest, who deeply loved Our Lord and his Church, a man of prayer, a friend to so many, especially the young, and one who inspired and nurtured many priestly vocations. This was seen in the many young priests present at his funeral from all over the country, one of whom said, “we had a great love for him”. The Faith youth conferences each summer now number some 200 young people including about 30 young priests, with groups from several parts of the UK. Fr. Holloway, ‘Slim’ to most of his friends, spent his whole life in pastoral work but also managed, despite many obstacles and difficulties, to single-mindedly leave a far-sighted and remarkable theological and philosophical legacy for this millennium, surely the millennium of the harmony of Science and Religion, in which Christ is seen as the Master of both. Some think that we have not heard the last of Fr. Edward Holloway, even in this world! His many labours over, may he truly rest in peace.