Peter Hebblethwaite

Infobox journalist
name = Peter Hebblethwaite

caption =
birthname =
birth_date = birth date|1930|09|30|df=y
birth_place = Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire
age =
death_date = death date and age|1994|12|18|1930|09|30|df=y
death_place = Oxford
education = Xaverian College; Jesuit novitiate
occupation = Jesuit priest, editor, journalist
alias = Robert Myddleton (in "The Tablet")
status =
title =
family =
spouse = Margaret Speaight
children = two sons, one daughter
relatives =
ethnic = English
religion = Roman Catholic
salary =
networth =
credits = "The Month", "The Tablet", "The Observer", "National Catholic Reporter"
agent =

Peter Hebblethwaite (September 30, 1930, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire - December 18, 1994, Oxford), was a British journalist and biographer.


The son of Charles and Elsie Ann Hebblethwaite, he was a British journalist on Vatican affairs (regarded by many during his lifetime as the leading English-language Vaticanologist) and for some years he was a Jesuit priest.

He was educated at the parish primary school of St Anne's, Ashton under Lyne, and the Salesian-run grammar school Xaverian College, Manchester. [Michael J. Walsh, "Hebblethwaite, Peter (1930–1994)," in "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. [ Online edition] accessed 4 January 2008.] He entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1948, studying in England and France. He was ordained a priest in 1963. Two years later he joined the staff of the Jesuit journal "The Month", covering the final session of the Second Vatican Council. In 1967 he was appointed editor, a post he held until leaving the priesthood to marry Margaret Speaight in 1974.

From 1976 to 1979 he taught French at Wadham College, Oxford, earning a reputation as an expert on the work of Catholic writer Georges Bernanos, before launching himself as a freelance journalist, concentrating on Catholic affairs and the Vatican in particular. He was the Vatican correspondent for the American Catholic weekly "National Catholic Reporter" from 1979 to 1981, but it was his numerous books which brought him to a wider public.

"The Runaway Church" (1975) looked at the changes in the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council. "The Year of Three Popes" covered the dramatic papal events of 1978. But his two papal biographies sealed his reputation: "John XXIII: Pope of the Council" appeared in 1984 and "Paul VI: The First Modern Pope" in 1993.

He died on December 18, 1994.



*"Bernanos: An introduction (Studies in modern European literature and thought series)" (1965)
*"Understanding the Synod". Dublin and Sydney: Gill & Son, 1968.
*"The Runaway Church". London: Collins, 1975. ISBN 0002116480
*"The Christian-Marxist Dialogue: beginnings, present status, and beyond". London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1977. ISBN 0232513902
*"The Year of Three Popes". London: Collins, 1978. ISBN 0002150476
*with Ludwig Kaufmann, "John Paul II: A Pictorial Biography". New York: McGraw-Hill, c1979. ISBN 0070333270 (hbk.), ISBN 0070333289 (pbk.)
*"The New Inquisition? Schillebeeckx and Küng". London: Fount Paperbacks, 1980. ISBN 000626106X
*"The Papal Year". London: Chapman, 1981. ISBN 0225662973
*"Introducing John Paul II: The Populist Pope". London: Collins / Fount, 1982. ISBN 0006263461
*"John XXIII: Pope of the Council". London: Chapman, 1984. ISBN 0225664194
*"Synod Extraordinary: The Inside Story of the Rome Synod November-December 1985". London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1986. ISBN 0232516650
*"In the Vatican". London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1986. ISBN 0283993243
*"Paul VI: The First Modern Pope". London: HarperCollins, 1993. ISBN 000215658x
*"The Next Pope: An Enquiry". London: Fount, 1995. ISBN 0006278310:reissued in 2000 with the subtitle "A Behind-The-Scenes Look at the Forces That Will Choose the Successor to John Paul II and Decide the Future of the Catholic Church". ISBN 0006281605


*"Changes in the Church?". London: Catholic Truth Society, 1967.
*"What the Council Says about Cultural Values". London: Catholic Truth Society, 1968.
*"The Theology of the Church". Theology Today no. 8. Notre Dame, Ind.: Fides Publishers, 1969.
*"Some Aspects of Revisionist Thinking". Boston College Studies in Philosophy 2. Boston: Boston College, 1969.
*"Pope John Paul II, the Gulf War and the Catholic tradition". Oxford Project for Peace Studies paper no.31. Oxford: Oxford Project for Peace Studies, 1992. ISBN 1871191319


*Ladislaus Boros, "Breaking Through to God: The Way of the Cross". London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1973. (from German) ISBN 0232512221
*Pierre de Calan, "Cosmas, or, The Love of God". London: Collins, 1980. (from French) ISBN 0002221187



*"The Times", Dec. 19, 1994.
*"The Guardian", Dec. 19, 1994.
*"The Daily Telegraph", Dec. 19, 1994.

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