Wednesday, August 24, 2011

William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce was born on August 24, 1759. Several years ago, my husband and I enjoyed the movie Amazing Grace so much that we gave everyone in our families a copy of the DVD for Christmas. While it may not have emphasized the connection between Wilberforce's faith in Jesus Christ to his humanitarian efforts, which included child welfare and the end of the slave trade, of slavery, and other ethical and moral issues, like the prevention of cruelty to animals, it made it clear that he was a Christian and a good man.

Wilberforce was an evangelical Anglican, yet his sons were all influenced in one way or another by the Oxford Movement. Three of his sons followed Blessed John Henry Newman and Henry Manning into the Catholic Church (William, Henry, and Robert). The other son, Samuel, was Bishop of Oxford and then of Winchester. Wilberforce at first had opposed Catholic Emancipation but he later supported its passage in 1829, although he was out of office by then.

The BBC posts a biography here.


  1. So I have to start the Comments? LOL I'm looking forward to hearing what other readers have to say. So many of us today are all wrapped up in liturgical conservation and traditional pieties, and we treat any "social justice" issues with deep-rooted suspiscion.

  2. Wilberforce tackled social issues from a reform standpoint at various levels: personal efforts, "community organizations", and legislative actions. What always drove his "social justice" actions was a deeply religious view of the goodness of God and how far his society was from that goodness.

  3. I also loved the Amazing Grace motion picture. I respect William Wilberforce a great deal and found it quite cool when the Pope mentioned him during his visit to the UK. That's so interesting about his sons having converted to Catholicism!Wow!