Make Robert Grosseteste a saint, says lecturer

Bishop Robert Grosseteste on a stained glass window in St Paul’s Church in Morton.

A lecturer from Bishop Grosseteste University College is calling for the institution’s namesake to be made a saint.

Theology lecturer Dr Jack Cunningham says philosopher and intellectual Grosseteste deserves to be a saint, despite his reputation being unfairly damaged.

Dr Cunningham wrote a book on the figure, called Robert Grosseteste: His Thought and Its Impact, which will go on sale this month.

It is a collection of essays from medieval historians and philosophers, launching on May 5 after a lecture from Cunningham.

He said: “It’s a really interesting story, and it’s a mystery why this influential mediaeval thinker was never made a saint.

“The story goes that after his death he appeared as a ghost to Pope Innocent IV and hit him in the side with his bishop’s staff as punishment for the pontiff’s waywardness and corruption.

“In fact this is a legend which has no basis in truth, but it was recorded by the Benedictine chronicler Matthew Paris, and as a result Robert Grosseteste went down in history as an English hero who stood up to the Pope.

“His reputation was scuppered. Clearly he should have been canonised but he became associated with an anti-Papist movement which ultimately led to the formation of the Church of England.”

He added: “Before we can make any headway on this [the sainthood] we need to provide evidence of local devotion and prove that he has performed two present-day miracles”

Dr Cunningham has even written to the Vactican, who have not replied yet.

However the Roman Catholic Bishop of Nottingham gave a more positive response.

“He was a scientist and a theologian – that was unusual in mediaeval times and even now science and religion are meeting head-on, with creationists on one side and people like Richard Dawkins on the other.

“Robert Grosseteste is a good example of someone who argues that you could be both.

“He even came up with a theory of creation which seems to anticipate the Big Bang Theory seven centuries later.

“To have him canonised would be a massive event for Lincoln’s most famous historical figure. In my opinion he should be made the patron saint of quantum physics.”

Source: Shooting Star