Lawrence McReavy Papers
About the creator

Ushaw Papers
Papers relating to the ethics of warfare
Papers relating to Papal Commissions: Vatican II and Canon Law Reform
Synodal Papers
Papers relating to moral issues
Personal Papers
Printed Material

Reference code: GB-0298-UC/P41
Title: Lawrence McReavy Papers
Dates of creation: 1920-1989
Extent: 5 files
Held by: Ushaw College
Origination: Lawrence Leslie McReavy (1902-1990)
Language: English

About the creator

Lawrence Leslie McReavy was born in Sunderland in 1902. He began his studies at Ushaw College at the relatively young age of 10 (the Council of Trent stipulated a minimum age of 12 for those seeking to enter training for the priesthood). He was a minor professor 1922-1925, teaching a range of subjects from classics to poetry and was finally ordained in 1929. After a year studying canon law at Louvain University, Belgium, he returned to Ushaw, where he taught classics between 1930-1931, before another year in Louvain finishing off his doctorate in canon law. In 1934, and for the next 45 years, he lectured in canon law and moral theology at Ushaw, becoming the longest-serving member of staff in the history of the college. In 1962, he was appointed domestic prelate and was nominated a peritus for the duration of the Second Vatican Council. Mgr McReavy also made a valuable contribution to canon law, helping to revise the code in 1983. For his work on Book V of the code Temporal Goods of the Church, after his retirement, he was appointed Pronatory Apostolic in December 1989. He died the following year aged 87.


Photographs of church services, group and portrait photographs, synod papers, seminary papers, obituaries, personal correspondence, diplomas and certificates, transcripts of speeches, and printed material.

Previous custodial history

This collection was originally part of the Ushaw Personal Papers series created by Fr. Michael Sharratt in 1990.

Conditions of access

Open for consultation.

Copyright and copying

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material


A. Ushaw Papers
B. Papers relating to the ethics of warfare
C. Papers relating to Vatican II
D. Synodal Papers
E. Papers relating to moral issues
F. Personal Papers
G. Photographs
H. Printed Material


The following are works written by and about Leslie McReavy:
L.L. McReavy, “The Sunday Mass obligation”, Clergy Review (October 1962), pp. 620-622
L.L. McReavy, “Recollections of an Earlier Ushaw”, Ushaw Magazine, v. 88, no. 249 (June 1977), pp. 3-20
L.L. McReavy, “Recollections of Ushaw Life in Two World Wars”, Ushaw Magazine, v. 96, no. 265 (1984-5), pp. 22-33
McHugh, J., “The Right Reverend Monsignor Lawrence Leslie McReavy”, Ushaw Magazine, v. 101 (1989-90), pp. 99-105


Ushaw Papers
Reference: UC/P41/A
UC/P41/A1   early 20th century
Drawing of the Patmore Screen at Ushaw
1 picture 
UC/P41/A2   [?1950] - [1958]
Transcripts of three speeches by McReavy delivered at Ushaw, including: talks on the Cadet Corps; his memories of his early days in Ushaw (delivered to the Big Lads); an address on Ushaw's 150th anniversary.
UC/P41/A3   [?1960 x 1969]
Summarized lecture notes on “The elements of fundamental moral theology”.
UC/P41/A4   5 June 1959
Extract from a circular letter on obedience and discipline at the college.
UC/P41/A5   [December 1959]
Report on a symposium on the subject of seminary life and training.
UC/P41/A6   [September 1960]
Report by [?McReavy] on suggestions for pastoral training.
UC/P41/A7   17 May 1962
Report by McReavy on the teaching of spoken Latin at Ushaw College, with an attached summary of “Ordinationes ad Constitutionem Apostolicam “Veterum Sapientia” Rite Exsequendam”, with impressions and suggestions.
UC/P41/A8   [?1967]
Memorandum from the president-elect [Philip Loftus] circulated to the House professors concerning recommendations relating to the separation of the House from the Divines, spiritual matters, rules, timetable changes, amenities, and other issues.
UC/P41/A9   [1960 x 1969]
List of topics for discussion submitted to the bishops by the president.
UC/P41/A9b   [1960 x 1969]
Report by McReavy entitled “The Public Schools Commission and independent Catholic schools”.
UC/P41/A10   [?1970 x 1972]
Statement by Loftus concerning recommendations formulated by the Exploratory Committee on the subject of reforming the college following Vatican II.
UC/P41/A11   24 January 1975
Description of courses for the amalgamated senior seminary syllabus.
UC/P41/A12   14 March 1972 – 3 May 1977
Staff meeting agendas and minutes.
UC/P41/A13   [1970s]
Report from the working party on the improvement to library services.
UC/P41/A14   [1970s]
Report by McReavy, with a covering explanatory note, on the findings of the Junior Common Room Sub-Committee on the subject of post-university training.
UC/P41/A15   [1970s]
Preliminary report concerning the formulation of policy for the guidance of personal directors.
UC/P41/A16   [1970s]
Outline of changes in college discipline for the House.
UC/P41/A17   [1970s]
Drafts of a manual for students.
Papers relating to the ethics of warfare
Reference: UC/P41/B
UC/P41/B1   11 December 1944 - 7 November 1960
Correspondence relating to the ethics of warfare, including: letters between McReavy and the editors of the Universe and Theological Studies, James Douglas to McReavy, correspondence between McReavy and Sir Philip Francis de Zulueta (private secretary to the prime minister), Michael P. Fogerty to McReavy.
9 letters 
UC/P41/B2   21 October 1959 - 1 December 1961
Typescript drafts of articles on nuclear warfare for various Catholic publications including the Tablet and the Northern Cross.
9 articles 
UC/P41/B3   November 1960 - 22 May 1962
Typescript transcripts of speeches on nuclear warfare delivered at the Sheffield City Hall (as part of a series of talks organised by the Sheffield Council of Catholic Action entitled “Catholic Views on Modern Problems”), the Newman Association Liverpool Conference on “Nuclear War and the Christian Conscience”, and St Dominic's Parish Hall.
3 speeches 
UC/P41/B4   February 1961 - April 1962
Newspaper cuttings and articles from periodicals on the subject of warfare, mostly nuclear warfare, including the Irish Ecclesiastical Record, the Catholic Times, The Sunday Times, Christian Order and the Christian Democrat.
1 file 
UC/P41/B5   [1960 x 1962]
Notes by McReavy on nuclear warfare.
1 file 
Papers relating to Papal Commissions: Vatican II and Canon Law Reform
Reference: UC/P41/C
UC/P41/C1   1937 x 1938
McReavy's papers on the schema for the Plenary Council
1 file 
UC/P41/C2   8 August 1960 - 25 April 1978
Papal appointments for McReavy:
UC/P41/C2/1   8 August 1960
Consultor for the Preparatory Commission for Vatican II
UC/P41/C2/2   25 November 1961
Domestic Prelate
UC/P41/C2/3   24 September 1962
Periti Conciliarium
UC/P41/C2/4   30 November 1962
Consultor of the Conciliar Commission “De Disciplina Cleri Et Populi Christiani”
UC/P41/C2/5   29 March 1967
Consultor of the Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law
UC/P41/C2/6   22 March 1968
Extension of five years for the position of Consultor of the Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law
UC/P41/C2/7   1 March 1973
Extension of five years for the position of Consultor of the Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law
UC/P41/C2/8   25 April 1978
Extension of five years for the position of Consultor of the Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law
UC/P41/C2/9   9 May 1979
[?Expression of thanks] for McReavy's role as Consultor of the Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law
UC/P41/C2/10   24 June - 9 July 1983
Language:  English and Italian
Letter from Cardinal [?Cararoli] to McReavy expressing the pope's gratitude for McReavy's role as a consultor of the Pontifical Commission and an official papal confirmation.
UC/P41/C3   1960 - 1962
Language:  Latin and English
Papers relating to the Preparatory Commission for Vatican II, mostly consultation documents with some correspondence, notes and press cuttings.
3 files 
UC/P41/C4   9 October 1962 - 5 December 1965
Correspondence between McReavy and P. Grant relating to Vatican II, mostly reports on the progress of the conference and his impressions of the sessions.
42 letters 
UC/P41/C5   1962
Report by [?L.L. McReavy] entitled “Commentary on the “Prima Series” of the “Schemata Constitutionum et Decretorum de Quibus Disceptabitur in Concilii Sessionibus””
UC/P41/C6   1962 - 1965
Speeches delivered by McReavy mostly to the Lancashire clergy and relating to the progress of the Vatican II sessions.
10 speeches 
UC/P41/C7   1962 - 1965
Papers, mostly notices and programmes, of Vatican II
1 file 
UC/P41/C8   January 1967 - 23 January 1971
Language:  Latin
Papers relating to the Canon Law Code revision sessions of the Pontificia Commissio Codici Iuris Canonici Recognoscendo:
File 1: Sessions I and II (January and June 1967)
File 2: Session III (November 1967)
File 3: Session IV (February 1968)
File 4: Session V (May 1968)
File 5: Session VI (January 1969)
File 6: Session VII (May 1969)
File 7: Session VIII (December 1969)
File 8: Other papers, including correspondence and notes (1965 - 1971)
9 files 
UC/P41/C9   October 1971 - February 1973
Papers relating to further Canon Law Code revision sessions of the Pontificia Commissio Codici Iuris Canonici Recognoscendo, specifically the study group “De Locis temporibus sacris”
File 1: Session I (October 1971
File 2: Session II (March 1972)
File 3: Session III (October 1972)
File 4: Session IV (February 1973)
File 5: Letters re: publication of an account the group's work
5 files 
UC/P41/C10/1-5   5 March 1971 - 13 January 1983
Papers relating to McReavy's involvement in other Pontificia Commissio Codici Iuris Canonici Recognoscendo study groups:
3 files 
UC/P41/C10/1   5 March - 12 July 1971
“De Lege ecclesiae fundamentali”
1 file 
UC/P41/C10/2   7 July 1972
“De Clericus remuneration”
1 file 
UC/P41/C10/3   20 December 1975 - 13 January 1983
“Coetus centralis”
1 file 
UC/P41/C11   1977 - October 1978
Papers relating to McReavy's involvement in the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland and its code revisions, including correspondence, draft reports and printed reports
1 file 
Synodal Papers
Reference: UC/P41/D
UC/P41/D1   September 1961 - 1974
Papers relating to the diocesan synods including draft synodal statutes, articles, leaflets and notes.
1 file 
Papers relating to moral issues
Reference: UC/P41/E
UC/P41/E1   20 October 1953
Letter from [Lawrence McReavy) to Cardinal Bernard Griffin on the morality of civil divorce
1 letter 
UC/P41/E2   1968
Typescript draft article entitled “The essential doctrine of Humane Vitae”, later published in The Clergy Review, v. 53, n. 11 (1968), pp. 861-7
1 article 
UC/P41/E3   21 November 1975 - 3 March 1976
Papers relating to the plan of the Department of Health and Social Security to sterilise children under sixteen years of age, mostly correspondence between McReavy and Archbishop George Patrick Dwyer, and Rev M.F. Connelly (Child Care Secretary to the Social Welfare Commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference) to Dwyer, as well as a discussion paper and report.
1 file 
UC/P41/E4   2 - 10 February 1976
Letters from Rev G. Leonard, Chief Information Officer of the Catholic Information Office, to Lawrence McReavy seeking the Church's stance on the hunger strike in Wakefield Prison, enclosing draft press statements on the issue
1 file 
UC/P41/E5   29 April - 3 July 1976
Typescript transcript of a paper read to the Leeds Ecumenical Commission on 29 April 1976 entitled “The sources of Christian morality”, with a letter from Patrick Kenny commending this lecture
1 lecture and 1 letter 
UC/P41/E6   [?1970 x 1979]
Notes by Lawrence McReavy on “The moral virtues”
5 pages 
Personal Papers
Reference: UC/P41/F
UC/P41/F1   early 20th century – 15 April 1962
Miscellaneous personal items:
UC/P41/F1/1   early 20th century
Silhouette picture of McReavy.
1 picture 
UC/P41/F1/2a-b   26 June 1934 - 11 July 1935
(1) Letter from W.H. Brown to McReavy congratulating him on his doctorate.
(2) Degree certificate from the University of Louvain awarrding McReavy his doctorate.
2 items 
UC/P41/F1/3   25 May 1952 - 22 November 1953
Two transcripts of church services by McReavy broadcast on the North of England, and North of England and Northern Ireland, Home Service, with three letters (W. Mullen, Fr Agnellus Andrew, and R. [Gebbani] to McReavy) on the subject of the broadcasts.
UC/P41/F1/4   June 1962
Letter from P. Furlong and other Ushaw students wishing McReavy a happy 60th birthday.
UC/P41/F1/5   15 April 1962
Letter from the author Evelyn Waugh to McReavy seeking advice on attending mass on appointed days.
UC/P41/F1/6   17 May 1967
Language:  Latin
Papal invitation for McReavy to attend the celebrations of [?the pope’s 70th birthday].
UC/P41/F1/7   30 August 1980
Letter from Rev E.L. Mascall to McReavy concerning the latter's letter in the Clergy Review on the link between the procreative aspect of human sexuality and the eternal generation of the Son in the Holy Trinity.
UC/P41/F1/8   18 January 1977
Letter from Philip James Adamson OSB to McReavy recommending a book by Si John Begot Glubb
UC/P41/F2   21 July 1900 - 30 April 1953
Papers relating to the death of Henry McReavy (Lawrence's father) and the sale of his house.
1 file 
UC/P41/F3   29 December 1961 – 3 April 1962
Letters to McReavy from a number of correspondents (mostly clergy) including Hugh Lindsay, Bishop James Cunningham, Canon Corby, Philip Loftus, George Andrew, Canon E. Wilkinson, Archbishop Murphy, Archbishop Heenan, and others, congratulating him on his appointment as Domestic Prelate.
93 letters 
UC/P41/F4   2 February – 12 May 1990
Papers relating to the death of McReavy, including his will and associated correspondence, papers on his funeral, and obituary articles.
1 file 
UC/P41/F5/1-10   1934 - 1987
Diary notes with daily but very brief entries concerning masses said, meetings and social engagements attended, and journeys made.
10 notebooks 
UC/P41/F6   24 March 1983 - 10 March 1986
Papers relating to the Old Brotherhood of the English Secular Clergy
1 file 
Reference: UC/P41/G
UC/P41/G1   1933 - [1989]
Photographs of McReavy:
UC/P41/G1/1-2   1933
McReavy with fellow students at a cricket match in Scarborough.
UC/P41/G1/3-4   1934
McReavy in clerical dress on his return to Ushaw.
UC/P41/G1/5   1953
McReavy sketching on the church lawn at Ushaw College.
UC/P41/G1/6   [1950 x 1959]
McReavy delivering mass at the Paschal Vigil Service (?in St Cuthbert’s Chapel, Ushaw College).
UC/P41/G1/7-13   February 1962
McReavy in monsignori dress.
UC/P41/G1/14   August 1966
Portrait photograph of McReavy in clerical dress.
UC/P41/G1/15   [1960 - 1969]
McReavy teaching a class at Ushaw College.
UC/P41/G1/16   [1970 x 1979]
McReavy offering instruction to students in a cat game at Ushaw College.
UC/P41/G1/17   [1980 x 1989]
McReavy in a general congregation at St Peter’s Basilica.
UC/P41/G1/18   [1980 x 1989]
McReavy in clerical dress standing outside Ushaw College.
UC/P41/G1/19-22   [1989]
McReavy in old age.
UC/P41/G2   June 1915 – [1975]
Group photographs:
UC/P41/G2/1   June 1915
Low Figures students at Ushaw College.
UC/P41/G2/2   June 1916
High Figures students at Ushaw College, including (all L to R) (top row) C. Maguire, J. Crawford, Al Scott, J. Hickey, Welsh, Mark [?Swarbuch], George Scott, F. McEvoy, J. Leonard; (second row) B. Connell, Andrew Waters, T. Burrow, J. [?Colling], Bill Slee, G. Clarke, B. Swale, V. McNab, Bill McCordon, J. Roskell; (third row) C. Walmesly, L. McReavy, Joe Howard, Joe Maskall, J. Costello, Sian Curry, J. Hawkswell, [?]; (front row) J. Sullivan, Bob Moody, W. Curry, J. Mandslay, D. Morgan, and J. Birchall.
UC/P41/G2/3   1916 - 1917
Grammar students football team.
UC/P41/G2/4   [1916 - 1918]
[?Officer Training Corps], Ushaw College.
UC/P41/G2/5   June 1918
Syntax students at Ushaw College.
UC/P41/G2/6   1924 - 1925
Divines students at Ushaw College.
UC/P41/G2/7   June 1929
Poetry students at Ushaw College.
UC/P41/G2/8   [1929]
Students at Ushaw College.
UC/P41/G2/9   1929 - 1930
Students at Louvain, including (back row, l-r) McReavy, Harry McNeill (American), Rev James O’Connell (Eire missionary); (front row, l-r) Rev John Flynn (American), Rev J.D. Simmonds (later archbishop of Melbourne), and Rev. John Finnegan (American).
UC/P41/G2/10   1939-1940
McReavy’s Divines class.
UC/P41/G2/11   [1970 x 1975]
Éamon De Valera and staff at Ushaw.
UC/P41/G2/12-18   1962 - 1965
McReavy at the Second Vatican Council:
2 colour/5 BW prints 
UC/P41/G2/12   [April] 1962
Preparatory Commission “De disciplina Cleri et populi Christiani”
Includes seperate sheet with list of names in the photograph
1 BW print 
UC/P41/G2/13   [1962]
Commission entering St Peter's Basilica, Rome, from a side entrance
1 BW print 
UC/P41/G2/14   [1964]
Commission, including McReavy, in St Peter's Square
1 colour print 
UC/P41/G2/15   14 September 1965
Commission in St Peter's Square during the inaugural public session, including Archbishop Derek Worlock, J. J. Kelly, McReavy, Joseph Leo Alston (Rector of the English College in Rome)
1 BW print 
UC/P41/G2/16   8 December 1965
After the public session in St Peter's Square which closed the Second Vatican Council, including Mgr Strand, Clark, McReavy, and [?Igledon]
1 BW print 
UC/P41/G2/17   [1962 x 1965]
Bishop James Cunningham and Lawrence MacReavy in St Peter's Square
1 BW print 
UC/P41/G2/18   [?1965]
Delegates on the steps of St Peter's Basilica
1 colour print 
UC/P41/G3   [1930 x 1950]
Photographs of others:
UC/P41/G3/1   [1930s]
Al Scott
UC/P41/G3/2   [1930s]
The count and countess of Fontgallard and their youngest son Marc
UC/P41/G3/3   [1940 x 1950]
Edward Stephens
UC/P41/G3/4   [1940 x 1950]
The bishop of Ghent
UC/P41/G3/5   [1940 x 1950]
A priest in clerical dress
UC/P41/G4   2 February 1990
Requiem mass service for McReavy
57 photographs 
Printed Material
Reference: UC/P41/H
Printed material from the McReavy Papers can be found by searching the shelfmark UC/P41/H on the Durham University Library printed catalogue (