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The Rt Rev Ronald Owen HALL

Doctor of Divinity
honoris causa

The Public Orator, Dr. Leo D’Almada E Castro, C.B.E., Q.C., LL.D., made the following citation:

For the proper discharge of his duties, a Public Orator is given a brief. He is also given, within the limits of propriety, a roving commission, and in the execution of the latter, in the case of our next graduand, I have found myself somewhat handicapped in that for my researches I had only the resources of a legal library. My quest, however, was not altogether unrewarding. It yielded, for example, an adjuration, addressed by a judge to a bishop who was a litigant in his court, to go to the devil, a remark which I have the less hesitation in quoting because, dating back to fourteenth century England, it was made by a presumably Catholic judge to a certainly Catholic bishop. But with the passage of years the legal mind acquired a truer appreciation of the worth of ecclesiastics, for we find in a textbook of 1743 a reference to soldiers of three kinds: fighting soldiers, lettered soldiers as Doctors of the Law, and (here I quote) 'celestial or heavenly soldiers, as clergymen and divines'. Comparing the worth of these three categories the learned author says of priests: 'much more then (by all Probabilities) are these Spiritual Soldiers worthy of all privileges, by whose Prayers and Intercessions the wrath of God is appeased, and victory many times obtained, and without whose Ministry Christianity would quickly be ruinated and subverted'.

Pondering these words, the thought occurred to be a priest is difficult, to be a good priest more so: how very much more so to be a bishop, and a good bishop. And we make no doubt, Mr. Chancellor, that Ronald Hall is a good bishop. And now, because the facts are better known to those instructing me, I drew on my brief. An Oxford man, like our other distinguished graduand of today, he saw service in World War I, was mentioned in despatches, and awarded the Military Cross and Bar.

Going down from Oxford after the war, his work with the Student Christian Movement took him once yearly to every university in the British Isles, and this experience it was that largely led to his appointment later as Bishop of Hong Kong. He served as Vicar of St. Luke's in Newcastle during the years of Tyneside's depression when his natural and Christian charity was given the fullest scope. Consecrated Bishop of Hong Kong and South China in 1932, he came to us in that year, since when he has worked indefatigably on the affairs of his diocese and on scores of committees, all of them having to do with charity or schools or the care of the young. These many activities, having so recently been mentioned in detail in the press, need not be particularized today. He and his charming and kindly wife will shortly be leaving Hong Kong for good. And we ask, Mr. Chancellor, that you confer on Ronald Owen Hall the degree of Doctor of Divinity honoris causa so that he may take with him on their happy retirement evidence of this University's appreciation of his worth.

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