Oxford is the creation of the Church, and her beauty witnesses to the excellence of religion. The mark was put upon her once for all, wonderful city; and why should men seek to erase it? There are other places aplenty where laboratories may be erected and secular science may flourish; why not leave this fair domicile amidst her wandering rivers and her girdle of hills, why not leave it as a home for those who choose to ‘flee for the presse’ and to set their hearts on God’s peace? They should repay the world for all the world gave them. The signature of the Church is legible enough on the houses and streets of Oxford, but when one turns to the men who dwell in them and walk among them, one feels something like a shock. From the samec ause can effects so unequal flow? Often I ask myself how it can be that dead stones and mortar should speak more eloquently of the divine presence that does the living face of man, made in the likeness of his Creator. Pass by the secular scholars, the philologians [sic], scientists, historians, economists, and their kind. But what of the men whose special calling it is to search out and proclaim the sacred revelation, whose profession is theChurch? I should like to see Oxford still more under the domination of the priest. He has made it; the city is his. However it may be with the his own soul, he is the custodian of the ancient tradition of the spirit; he is the only security we have against the complete invasion of a devastating materialism.
–Paul Elmer More, PAGES FROM AN OXFORD DIARY, 1937