Desmond Fisher  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Desmond Fisher Photo: © Michael Fisher

My father Des Fisher was Editor of the Catholic Herald newspaper in London (1962-66) at the time of the Second Vatican Council. He reported from Rome and managed to attend one of the sessions dressed as a Protestant clergyman observer. Since his mother from Portstewart Co. Londonderry came from a Church of Ireland background, that was probably very appropriate and he was able to use his knowledge of Latin to goof effect. His last work as a writer was to finish a book on the Stabat Mater, and he produced his own English translation of this 14thC poem. I was helping him to finish the work by reading the first proofs up to a few days before his death at the hospice in Blackrock, Co. Dublin on Tuesday 30 December.

The Catholic Herald has published this story, based on the obituary written by Arthur Jones of the National Catholic Reporter. Arthur worked for my father in the Herald. There is a minor error in the last sentence. He had been married to my mother for 66 years. Their wedding was at St Macartan’s Cathedral in Monaghan on September 8 1948.

Former Catholic Herald editor Desmond Fisher dies….He covered Second Vatican Council during his time in charge of the paper…..

Former Catholic Herald editor Desmond Fisher has died, aged 94.

He passed away at Blackrock Hospice in Dublin on December 30, surrounded by his family, leaving behind his wife Peggy, daughter Carolyn, sons Michael, Hugh and John and four grandchildren. His funeral was held on January 2, in accordance with his wishes.

In a career spanning 70 years, Mr Fisher worked at the Irish Times, RTE news, Economist and the Irish Press in London, and his last article for the Irish Times’s Rite and Reason column appeared on September 30.

As editor of the Herald from 1962 to 1966 he covered the Second Vatican Council, after which he worked for RTE. He was in Rome in 1962 before the council was set up and covered the 1963 and 1964 sessions.

Born in Derry on September 9, 1920, during the troubles that led to partition in 1922, his father soon moved their wine and tea wholesalers business to Dublin, where Mr Fisher grew up. He won an all-Ireland scholarship at the age of 11 and throughout his life he had excellent Greek, Latin and Irish, writing a new translation of the Stabat Mater in his 90s. After graduating from University College Dublin he took his first job in journalism at 25, and moved to London in 1952 to become London editor of the Irish Press.

His reporting of the Second Vatican Council was said to be so incisive that Cardinal Cardinal Franz König of Vienna said he learned more from reading Mr Fisher’s reports than from being there.

Arthur Jones, who worked for Mr Fisher on the Herald, wrote in the National Catholic Reporter that with Fisher’s death “the legion of writers who covered the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), has thinned practically to vanishing point”.

Mr Fisher married Peggy in 1948, and the pair celebrated their 65th (sic.) anniversary last year.

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