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 Hamish Fraser, R.I.P. 17th October 1986 
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New post Hamish Fraser, R.I.P. 17th October 1986
Today is the twentieth anniversary of the death of Hamish Fraser (1913-1986).

For the younger generation traditional Catholic, for whom Hamish Fraser may be no more than a name, or not even that, Hamish was a Scot, a typical young communist of the thirties, who went off heroically to fight alongside the communists against Franco and the Church in the Spanish Civil War. Rising to be a political commissar and a secret police officer in Spain, he also held various high offices with the British communists during the second world war.

While there is no doubt that his intelligent and lively mind was increasingly dissatisfied with Marxist dogma, he was a million miles from God and the Church, but others were praying for him, praying to Our Lady of Fatima, even before she became “fashionable”, and in 1948 Hamish turned his back on all to join the Church.

He became a lifelong Fatima devotee. In 1952, when he was in Paris addressing a crowd of some 10 000 about the conversion of Russia, a white dove descended from the sky and perched on his head, refusing to leave. You can see a photo of the event here

Hamish became a specialist in Catholic social doctrine and founded his review Approaches to promote it. But with the ensuing crisis of Vatican II and, with the resurgence of Modernism and the Novus Ordo, Approaches became a lifeline for many English-speaking Catholics and the scourge of heretical prelates.

Hamish had a gift for trenchant journalism, a gift for organising other writers and translators to assist him and an incredible energy: he worked for sixteen hours a day until the end of his life, campaigning for the triumph of Catholic truth against all its enemies. Approaches was not a broadsheet, or a short newspaper – each issue, including supplements, counted several hundred pages, and there were four a year. He had about 5000 subscribers at a time when traditional Catholicism remained quite unorganised and many reviews never dreamed of reaching more than a few hundreds.

I had some harsh words to say about Hamish in my book Michael Davies – An Evaluation – very much too harsh – on the subject of controversy with him about sedevacantism, concerning which we disagreed. I’d like to take this opportunity to make amends by pointing out that Hamish was in fact a rare exception at a time when others gave the silent treatment to the entire subject of sedevacantism, and that his objections were sincere confusions, based on inaccurate statements he had read emanating from authors he mistakenly trusted. Hamish merits from every traditional Catholic a prayer for the repose of his soul.

Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:11 pm
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