Vatican II - Voice of The Church
Vatican II - Voice of The Church

Bishop Christopher Butler - A Personal Memoir

By Anne T. Flood SC

On March 11, 1982 Christopher Butler wrote these words to me that made me very gratified that I had spent years of research and writing in regards to him as a significant Council Father in Vatican II.

Dear Sister Anne,
Thank you very much for sending me a copy of the dissertation and for the very kind message you sent with it. I have to admit that I am fascinated by the book! I am afraid that shows a touch of egoism. More seriously, I am extremely grateful for the catalogue of my various articles and reviews covering so many years. The research required for this catalogue must have been very laborious. It is a great help to me because I have never kept such a list for myself.
Once again, I want to thank you very warmly. You have made me feel quite important!
God bless you,
Yours sincerely,
† Christopher Butler

These words would have been enough to reward my efforts had I not also had the privilege of meeting Bishop Butler when he was at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He was warm and kindly and smiled at the thought that he was becoming the subject of a dissertation. This was soon after I had begun my research, but that meeting encouraged me often during the years that followed.

I recall vividly the day that Professor R. Kevin Seasoltz, OSB, the Director of my thesis at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC, first proposed the possibility of research into the life and ecclesial work of Basil Butler. I had indicated to him that my major areas of interest would be conversion, ecclesiology and Vatican II. That suggestion and many years of study made Bishop Butler's letter to me a treasure, indeed.