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Two Cambridge professors receive papal knighthoods

Two Cambridge University professors have been honoured with Papal Knighthoods by Pope Francis for their outstanding work for the Holy See and the Catholic Church.

The knighthoods were bestowed upon Professor Nicholas Lash and Professor Eamon Duffy by the Bishop Alan Hopes, at a Mass at the Cambridge University Catholic Chaplaincy, Fisher House, on Sunday May 7.

The Equestrian Order of St Gregory the Great, also known as a Papal Knighthood, is bestowed upon Catholic men and women in recognition of their personal service to the Holy See and to the Catholic Church, through their outstanding work, their support of the Holy See, and their personal example.

Bishop Alan awarded the pair the honours during Mass at the place where they worship regularly.

The commendation that university chaplain, Mgr Mark Langham read out, said: "Professor Eamon Duffy is our greatest Catholic historian, who has fundamentally changed the way that the Reformation is viewed (his book ‘The Stripping of the Altars’ is an acknowledged classic), and who has vastly expanded our knowledge of the Catholic history and culture of this country.

"Professor Nicholas Lash is internationally regarded as one of the most incisive, creative and influential Catholic theologians of our time. In 1978 he was elected to the Norris-Hulse Chair of Divinity in Cambridge University – the first Catholic since the Reformation to hold a chair in theology at either Oxford or Cambridge."

Following the award, and extended applause, the choir led the congregation in the Papal national anthem O Roma Felix.

The knighthoods are a rare honour and previous well-known recipients have included boxer Henry Cooper, comedian Frank Carson and politician Ann Widdecombe.

Pictured above is Professor Nicholas Lash (left), Bishop Alan and Professor Eamon Duffy at Fisher House, Cambridge University.