The Anscombe Centre Pays Tribute to the Late Professor Luke Gormally (1939-2023)

On Sunday 30 April, Professor Luke Gormally died. Professor Gormally was a leading British bioethicist, and the first Research Officer and long-time Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre (when it was the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics). More recently, he served as a Senior Research Fellow and then Governor of the Centre and became Research Professor of Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, before retiring.

In one of his last public lectures, Professor Gormally gave the Centre’s Anscombe Memorial Lecture in 2017, a video of which you can see below.

Bishop John Sherrington, an Episcopal Governor of the Anscombe Centre and the Episcopal Member (Life Issues – Advocacy) of the Department for Social Justice of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has offered his condolences and prayers to Professor Gormally’s family, and also released a statement praising his contribution to the Anscombe Centre and “very positive contribution to bioethical debate in society”.

Our Director, Professor David Albert Jones, makes the following tribute to Professor Gormally, his formative role at the Centre, and his life:

“Professor Luke Gormally’s contribution to bioethics and especially to the life and mission of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre was profound and deserves our greatest honour and thanks.

“Prior to joining the Centre, Luke undertook philosophical studies with the Jesuits at Heythrop and theological studies with Benedictines and Dominicans at Prinknash Abbey. A remarkable feat of Catholic ecumenism! While Senior Research Fellow he was simultaneously Research Professor, at Ave Maria School of Law, Ann Arbor, Michigan and was member of the Pontifical Academy for Life (a former member of the former academy).

“Married to Mary Geach, the daughter and literary executor of Elizabeth Anscombe, Luke co-edited four volumes of Anscombe’s papers, further co-edited a collection on her Moral Philosophy, and edited a festschrift for her and her philosopher husband, Professor Peter Geach. He edited and contributed to five other volumes and published dozens of papers in the field of bioethics.

“Appointed Research Officer of the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics at its very foundation in 1977, he was Director of the Centre from 1981-2000, and Senior Research Fellow from 2001-2007. He returned as Governor from 2011-2016 to help the Centre establish itself in Oxford as the Anscombe Bioethics Centre. Thus, in one role or another he has been an abiding presence for most of the Centre’s forty years.

“More than anyone else he shaped the mission of the Centre for those who have worked with him or who have followed him. Not larger than life but as large as life, a defender of life and a pillar both of religious and of academic integrity. On the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the foundation of the Centre I was delighted to have the opportunity to acknowledge my own debt to him.

“I and all the Staff and Governors of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre send our condolences to his family, and commend him and them to the prayers of our supporters and friends. We thank God for his life and many important accomplishments. May he rest in peace”.

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