go to forthcoming events
Unpacking the Legacy of John Paul II
The Theology of the Body
10am-5pm, Saturday 20th May 2006
Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy
with Edmund Adamus, Tommy Hughes, Nicole Syed and others
ALL ARE WELCOME ADMISSION FREE!
10.15: John Paul II and the Theology of the Body by Edmund Adamus
(Director for Pastoral Affairs, Diocese of Westminster)
11.15: Coffee/Tea break
11.30: Taking it to Heart: Communicating the Theology of the Body by
(Head of Religious Education at Holyrood School, Glasgow)
13.00: Lunch break
14.00: Body Language: The Role of Fertility Awareness by Nicole Syed
(Fertility Care Practitioner Link)
14.45: Questions and discussion
15.30: Tea break
16.00: Plenary discussion
"This ground-breaking theology debunks the myth that the Catholic Church is 'down on sex.' On the contrary it encourages a true reverence for the gift of our sexuality and challenges us to live it in a way worthy of our great dignity as human persons. His theology is not only for young adults or married couples, but for all ages and vocations since it sums up the true meaning of what it is to BE human." Edmund Adamus
"John Paul's meditations on human sexuality, in The Theology of the Body and elsewhere, are among the most sublime and far-reaching on the subject, not only in the history of Christianity but in the history of the entire human race, and they reveal not a hatred of the flesh but an almost extravagant respect for and wonder at human powers of creation. It was precisely because of that respect and wonder that John Paul so eloquently opposed the degradation and trivialization of those powers, not least by the modern world's sundering them from the divine gift by which human beings participate in the miracle of creation itself." James Hitchcock, Touchstone, June 2005
"The body, in fact, and it alone, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It was created to transfer to the visible reality of the world the invisible mystery hidden since time immemorial in God, and thus be a sign of it." John Paul II, General Audience, 20 February 1980
"Pope John Paul II's theology of the body is becoming better and better known among ordinary Catholics, many of whom have found in it a way of connecting the central mysteries of the Christian faith Trinity, Incarnation, and Eucharist with their marriages, their bearing and rearing of children, and their sexuality. To such Catholics, the theology of the body has transmitted the good news of Vatican II that marriage, too, is a way of holiness. As we all know, the institution of marriage is crumbling around the Western world, and if there was ever a time when Catholic couples needed to feel that their ordinary lives are anchored in the heart of the mystery of God, it is now." Adrian Walker, Second Spring 7.
Some background reading on Theology of the Body:
Keith A. Fournier Body Talk: A Theology of the Body in Irenaeus LINK
David B. Hart The Anti-Theology of the Body
David Vincent Meconi Theology of the body and purity of heart LINK
Marc Ouellet Theological Perspectives on Marriage PDF
Angelo Scola The Nuptial Mystery: A Perspective for Systematic Theology LINK/PDF
The John Paul II Institute The John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family./a>
The Theology of the Body
A G.K. Chesterton Institute Colloquium
The Way to Narnia
Newman, Chesterton, and C.S. Lewis
The Crolly Room (7326), St Patrick's College, Maynooth
Saturday 25 March 2006, 3.30-7.30 pm
After the box-office triumph of the film based on Lewis's The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and with the impending beatification of J.H. Newman in mind, we come together to celebrate and understand three of the greatest Christian writers and communicators in the modern world.
3.30 Tea and coffee
4.00 "Chesterton, Lewis, and the Power of Enchantment" by Prof. Dermot Quinn, Associate Editor of The Chesterton Review
4.10 "John Henry Newman and Gilbert Chesterton" by Dr Sheridan Gilley, author of Newman and His Age
5.15 "Finding Aslan's Country" by Stratford Caldecott, author of Secret Fire: The Spiritual Vision of J.R.R. Tolkien
6.00 Response by Fr Tom Norris and Discussion
6.30 Chesterton Institute Reception: all welcome
Visit the G.K. Chesterton Institute for information about Chesterton, the Institute and its journal The Chesterton Review.
Contact in Oxford or Katja Nolan in Conference and Accomodation, St Patrick's College, tel: 01 - 708 3726.
28 February 2006, at 11 am.
Roman Catholic approaches to inter-religious dialogue
A lecture by Stratford Caldecott at the Oxford School of Mission Studies in Woodstock Road
Debra Murphy writes:
John Paul II forged a new synthesis of Catholic teaching that papal biographer George Weigel called "one of the boldest reconfigurations of Catholic theology in centuries." In the vernacular, it was a paradigm shift. This "reconfiguration" is the post-Vatican II "Communio" school of theology often called "Christian personalism." At the heart of this new philosophical and theological synthesis, and of Karol Wotjyla's pastoral message, stands the dignity of the human person a human dignity so great and mysterious, made in the image and likeness of God, that the only proper response to it is a self-giving exchange of love. Conversely, the greatest sin against this human dignity is not so much hate (which is essentially an emotion) as use treating the human subject like an "object," an "it" instead of a "thou." The implications of such an orientation extend well beyond the realms of theology and philosophical anthropology: into politics, economics, the arts, social and familial relationships, and cultural norms generally. This vital thesis about the human person as a living, enfleshed icon of God will, doubtless, spawn innumerable treatises and doctoral dissertations for generations to come.
Go here for full article
Pope Benedict XVI's Global Outlook on Religion
Aidan Nichols OP
5th Meriol Trevor Memorial Lecture
Presented by the Catholic Chaplaincy to Higher Education in Bath with the kind permission of the Headmaster and Governors of Prior Park College
Tuesday 25 October 2005
7.30pm in the Academy Hall at Prior Park College, Ralph Allen Drive, Bath
Information: Fr William M.McLoughlin, OSM e-mail: , telephone: 01225 832096
The annual Meriol Trevor Lecture echoes the concerns of a notable Bathonian member of the Catholic Community whose scholarship on John Henry Newman made her well known but did not limit her interests. Meriol Trevor was born on 15 April 1919, was received into the Catholic Church in 1950, and her work is a true embodiment of faith made incarnate in culture. She was a prolific writer in many genres, including poetry and fiction. In addition to biographies of Pope John XXIII (recently reprinted by Gracewing), St Philip Neri and King James II, she was widely praised for novels such as The Last of Britain, The New People and Shadows and Images. In later life she was rediscovered by the children's publisher Bethlehem Books, which began to reprint her novels for children (including The Rose Round) and even to publish a series of adventures that had never previously been published (The Letzenstein Chronicles). She was a long-time spiritual supporter of the Centre for Faith & Culture in Oxford, and is most familiar as the author of a great double biography of Cardinal Newman published in 1962. A new edition of a booklet introducing Newman was published by CTS at the end of 2001. She died in Bath in January 2000.
Chesterton Institute Conference in Argentina
Santa Maria Catholic University of Buenos Aires
September 21 to September 23, 2005
Father Ian Boyd, editor of The Chesterton Review
Dr Sheridan Gilley (University of Durham)
Professor Dermot Quinn (Seton Hall University)
Ambassador Miguel Angel Espeche
Transfiguring the World through the Word
The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies (IOCS)
An Encounter between Radical Orthodoxy and Eastern Orthodoxy
With Philip Blond, John Milbank, Marcus Plested, Graham Ward et al.
Wesley House and Divinity Faculty, Cambridge (UK)
30th September - 2nd October 2005
The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies (IOCS), Wesley House, Jesus Lane, Cambridge, CB5 8BJ
Tel: +44(0)1223 741 037 Fax: +44(0)1223 741 370 E-mail:
Transcendence and Phenomenology
Announcing the launch of a new cultural centre in the UK
The Centre of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham
The Centre's first conference will be held on
1st and 2nd September 2005
See www.nottingham.ac.uk for details
Guest Speakers include: Jean-Yves Lacoste, Laszlo Tengelyi, Anthony Steinbock, Paul Audi, Natalie Depraz, Jeff Bloechl, Jean Greisch, Richard Kearney, Rudi Visker, John Milbank, Emmanuel Falque, Ruud Welten, and Dermot Moran.
Bishop Donal Murray will represent the Pontifical Council for Culture
to express the support and interest of the Holy See
The Foundations of Christian Culture:
History, Myth, Literature and Science
A Summer School at St Hugh's College, Oxford
26 July 9 August 2005
TUTORS include Mgr Richard Liddy, Prof. Dermot Quinn and Stratford Caldecott
This will take the place of the Summer Conference of the Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture
UNPACKING THE LEGACY
Responding to the Life and Thought of John Paul II
A series of events organized by the G.K. Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture.
Session 1: Sunday 10 July 2005
Newman Room, The Old Palace, Rose Place, St Aldates, Oxford
10.30am until 6.30pm
Ticket for the day £10 (lunch not included) or £4 unwaged
THE GENIUS OF WOMEN:
Responding to John Paul II's 'New Feminism'
With Léonie Caldecott, Sr Benedict Gaughan OSB, Anne Langslow,
Josephine Robinson, Carol Zaleski and others.
Download flier here
[Background reading for this Session]
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Finding Tolkien's Ring in Today's World
'Finding Tolkien's Ring in Today's World' is the title of a talk to be given by Stratford Caldecott, author of The Power of the Ring: The Spiritual Vision of the Lord of the Rings and director of the Chesterton Institute for Faith and Culture at Oxford, England.
29th March 4th April 2005
Rose-Round Pilgrimage to Rome & Assisi
This pilgrimage takes us to the heart of the universal Church, with a special emphasis on the Year of the Eucharist announced by Pope John Paul II. We will be taking stock of our history as the people of God, through visits to the great shrines of the eternal city. As well as St Peter's and the Vatican, we will visit churches from every period, telling the history of the Church through art and story. Like St Therese we will think of the martyrs as we visit the Colosseum, the early Christians as we visit the Catacombs of San Sebastiano, and the glory of heaven after which their hearts yearned as we take in the splendours of the Renaissance. We will be staying in the Fraterna Domus guest-house, centrally located near the Piazza Navona, at most half-an-hour's walk even from our furthest points of exploration. It also happens to be close to one of Rome's best ice-cream parlours.
On Friday afternoon a coach will collect us for a visit to the Appian Way and the catacombs and church which commemorate the famous "quo vadis?" incident in St Peter's life, before continuing on to Assisi. There we will stay in the Casa del Terziario, in the centre of the town. We will be visiting the magnificent Basilica of San Francesco, where Giotto's frescoes paint such a vivid picture of the great saint's life, as well as Santa Chiara, and the convent of San Damiano, where the crucified Christ spoke to Francis and Clare later established her community. We will also visit the wonderfully atmospheric shrine of the Portiuncola, where Francis received Clare into the religious life and later laid down his own. During this last weekend of the pilgrimage, we will be taking time to rest and relax in this magical town and its beautiful Umbrian surroundings. Amidst the quiet times of prayer and the excitement of discovering new places, there will also be plenty of fun not least the fun of being in one another's company!
10th November 2004
CHESTERTON FOR TODAY:
The Vision of the Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture
Celebrating 30 years of The Chesterton Review
A reception with brief talks from Fr Ian Ker, Stratford Caldecott, Russell Sparkes and editors of The Chesterton Review.
G.K. Chesterton was a defender of small countries and local traditions. He was a conservationist rather than a conservative, a radical not a reactionary, a journalist who believed in truth, a democrat who believed in the common man. He represents the tradition of Christian humanism in English civilization, and offers a moral clarity that we need more than ever. Help us to do in our day what he was doing in his!
9th November 2004
THE LABYRINTH AND THE MIST:
Chesterton's Map of the Poetry and Life of Robert Browning
The annual Chesterton Society Lecture by Dr Alan Haywood-Kenny
23 October 2004
CHESTERTON, BLAKE AND PLATO:
A talk by Stratford Caldecott to the group 'Chesterton in the South' in Hove and to the C.S. Lewis Society in Oxford.
19th October 2004
SURPRISED BY JOY:
Children's Literature and the Search for Meaning
During One World Week and for United Nations' Day
The Fourth Meriol Trevor Memorial Lecture
Speaker: Leonie Caldecott Journalist and Writer / Literary Executor of Meriol Trevor
Associate Director of the Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture, Oxford.
The Meriol Trevor Lecture each year echoes the concerns of a notable Bathonian member of the Catholic Community whose scholarship on John Henry Newman made her well known but did not limit her interests. She was, among other things, a prolific and successful author of novels for children. One of them, The Rose Round, was the inspiration for the girls group of that name which Leonie Caldecott started in 1995. Meriol Trevor's books are currently published by Bethlehem Books and distributed in the UK by Family Publications. Fantasy literature (and by extension film) has become a vital cultural force shaping an uncertain future. The immense popularity of The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and His Dark Materials speaks for itself. For better or worse, without their being aware of it, the rising generation is receiving its metaphysical and moral formation through the imaginative exploration of 'other worlds'. Leonie Caldecott was one of the organisers of the successful 'Landscapes with Angels' conference this summer in Oxford, at which she spoke on spiritual themes in contemporary fantasy films and fiction. Aside from her work for the Institute, Leonie has written for a wide range of publications, including the New York Times, the Independent, and the Catholic Herald. She and her husband are the trustees of Meriol Trevor's literary estate and editors of the journal Second Spring. In this year's lecture Leonie will draw on Miss Trevor's writing for children, as well as her extensive reading of others who have written in this genre, in order to explore the experience of eucatastrophe. This is a term coined by J.R.R. Tolkien to describe that joyous 'turn', which arises in the face of trial and tribulation, and which characterises the best of fairy tales and fantasy stories.
16th October 2004
GROWING IN GRACE:
How Do the Churches Encourage their Members in Spiritual Growth?
A Study Day on Mystagogy chaired by Stratford Caldecott.
September 13-15, 2004
CHRISTIAN VALUES IN CULTURE TODAY:
Lithuania from G.K. Chesterton's point of view
An International Conference in Vilnius, Lithuania.
31 July 2004
CHESTERTON CONFERENCE IN BEACONSFIELD:
Chesterton in the Chilterns
A one-day conference on the life, writings and thoughts of G.K. Chesterton.
12 to 15 August 2004
LANDSCAPES WITH ANGELS:
Fantasy, Children's Literature and the Spiritual Role of the Imagination
The Inklings, J.K. Rowling, Philip Pullman Fantasy literature as a cultural force and as expression of religious faith allegory, symbolism and the sacramental imagination literature and inauthenticity: propaganda and didacticism understandings of the imagination in the Christian, Romantic and Platonic traditions.
2 June 2004
WAS CHESTERTON A THEOLOGIAN?
A talk by Stratford Caldecott, Director of the Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture.
Recent events at the St Theosevia Centre for Christian Spirituality:
For details, costs, parking and reservations tel. 01865 310 341
Study Day on Pilgrimage
With Bishop Basil of Sergievo, Dr W. Pickering and Dr Santha Bhattacharji
The Sacred in Music
A Musical Evening with Bishop Kallistos
THE THIRD TOLKIEN LECTURE
The Journey of the Spiritual Hero
A talk by Dwight Longenecker, writer and broadcaster, to accompany the book launch of "Secret Fire: the Spiritual Vision of JRR Tolkien."
Stratford Caldecott suggests that an understanding of J.R.R. Tolkien's personal beliefs and their influence on the story for which he is famous can only enhance our appreciation for this great work of art. Drawing largely on Tolkien's many letters and occasional essays, as well as the whole range of writings about Middle-earth, he explores the many dimensions of this extraordinarily rich and fertile sub-creation, which reveals a profound understanding of the nature of the real world. The book is based partly on the first BSUC Tolkien Lecture.
THE SPIRITUALITY OF J.R.R. TOLKIEN:
Tolkien's World: an Orthodox Viewpoint
by Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: the Quest of the Spiritual Hero
The Marriage of Elves and Men and The Feminine Dimension in Tolkien's Middle-earth
Stratford and Leonie Caldecott
Making up the Body of the Church in the Company of the Saints, a Rose-Round Retreat Day, with Art, Music, Games and an Opportunity for Confession, with a Mass for Sunday.
A Study Day at the St Theosevia Centre for Christian Spirituality
Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia (on the Jesus Prayer)
Dwight Longenecker (on The Little Way)
Stratford Caldecott (on Chesterton's Spirituality of Gratitude)
Revd Andrew Bunch (on Ignatian Spirituality)
An annual festival of Catholic culture.
'People of the Book'
The Importance of Scripture for Christianity, Judaism and Islam
A Study Day on the comparative and mystical interpretations of Scripture according to the three semitic faiths in association with the Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture.
Dr Gregory Glazov
Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi
Dr Norman Solomon
Chairman: Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia
Meriol Trevor Lecture
The 3rd Meriol Trevor Lecture sponsored by Catholic Chaplaincy to Higher Education in took place on United Nations Day in One World Week. Rev. Professor John Pawlikowski OSM, President of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ), spoke on 'Ethics and Globalization: The Interreligious Challenge'.
The Meriol Trevor Lecture each year echoes the concerns of this notable Bathonian member of the Catholic Community whose scholarship on John Henry Newman made her well known but did not limit her interests. Her work on Pope John XXIII reflected on the era of that Pope andindicates the seminal influence heexerted on Jewish Christian relations. With that in mind, this year's lecture offers aspecial focus on this vital and ongoing concern, alluding to the writings and thought of John XXIII and particularly to the Vatican II documents on interreligious understanding and on inter-Christian relations plus John XXIII's encyclical PACEM IN TERRIS.
John Pawlikowski OSM, President of ICCJ
Father Pawlikowski was elected for a period of two years to the office of President of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) at its Annual Conference and General Meeting in Riga, Latvia from 26-30 May 2002. He had already served as Vice-President of the ICCJ and holds the office of Chairperson of the Theology Committee. A Servite friar of the United States of America Province, Father Pawlikowski is Professor of Ethics at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago. He is a prolific author on Social Ethics and on Jewish Christian dialogue.
The International Council of Christians and Jews promotes understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews based on respect for each other's identity and integrity. Its International Council is the umbrella organisation of 37 national member organisations in 32 countries. The ICCJ addresses issues of human rights and human dignity and counters all forms of prejudice, intolerance and discrimination. The ICCJ also promotes dialogue, research and education in order to lessen mistrust, hatred and fear between peoples.
Chesterton Alive Today
A talk by Stratford Caldecott on Re-Evangelisation of Culture.
STREAMS OF GRACE:
The Rose Round Pilgrimage to France.
Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) Conference
On the fiftieth anniversary of his death a conference to celebrate the life and works of this great writer.
Anthony Cooney Distributism
Aidan Mackey Belloc's Critics
Father Ian Ker Belloc's Catholicism
Michael Hennessy Belloc and Parliament
David Foster Belloc as Hottentot
Blaise Compton Belloc's poetry
Professor Jack Scarisbrick Belloc and the Reformation
David Alton on 'The Lord of the Rings'
Lord Alton, Professor of Citizenship at Liverpool John Moores University, on 'The Fellowship of the Ring J.R.R.Tolkien, Catholicism and use of Allegory'.
A Festival of Catholic Culture
Stalls, music, competitions, apostolates, activities for children, workshops, speakers, refreshments, tour of the Cathedral.
Workshop speakers included
Anthony Delarue architect
Charles Whitehead Catholic Charismatic Renewal
Marcus Grodi the Coming Home Network
Mark Elvins OFM Cap.
Chesterton Conference at Maynooth
The 2002 Plater Summer School
An international interfaith conference on Globalization.
Convenor Dr Kamran Mofid of Plater College.
Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia The influence of Plato on the Church Fathers
Dr Robert Bolton The Principle of Plenitude
Prof. S.R.L. Clark Department of Philosophy, Liverpool University and author of numerous books.
For more information on Prof. Clark see http://www.liv.ac.uk/~srlclark/srlc.html.
Chesterton in the Chilterns
To celebrate the life, writings, sparkle and sanity of G.K.Chesterton.
A Chesterton exhibition, picnic and presentation.
Over the past few years there have been many signs that G.K. Chesterton is at last being widely recognised as the great constructive literary, social and moral thinker that we know him to be, and this healthy tendency has been accelerated by the brief but highly successful speaking-tour here by Dale Ahlquist, President of the G.K. Chesterton Society of America. Dale's expositions of the importance to our day of this writer, were received with open enthusiasm by audiences at Plater College, Oxford, Oscott College, Birmingham, the House of Lords and elsewhere. At the Annual General Meeting of the Chesterton Society, in London, the Chairman urged the formation of regional groups, similar to those already in being in Oxford and Sussex. In response to enquiries made and interest shown locally, we are happy to announce the formation of Chesterton in the Chilterns.
The Charles Dominic Plater SJ Memorial Lecture 2002
Understanding the Family in the 21st Century
Professor Karin Heller, Director of the Marriage and Family Masters Course, John Paul II Centre, and Dean of the Newman Institute Ireland.
The Fellowship of the Ring:
J.R.R. Tolkien and the Heroism of Hobbits
The meaning of the book and an assessment of the spectacular film. A talk by Stratford Caldecott, Director of the Centre for Faith & Culture in Oxford.
The Rose Round Pre-Lent Retreat Day
Made in His Image
Oxford Inter-Faith Symposium
Inter-Faith Dialogue as a Means for World Peace
Cardinal Francis Arinze Introduction
Dr Farhan Nizami Islamic-Christian Dialogue
Dr Gregory Glazov Jewish-Christian Dialogue
David Barchard Patterns of Toleration and Devotion in Turkey and the East Mediterranean
Dr Francesca Murphy: The Funny Side of Religious Dialogue Humour in World Religions
Dr Kamran Mofid An Inter-religious Perspective on Globalization
Roundtable Discussion and Conclusions.
Cardinal Arinze is President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue
Dr Nizami is Director of the Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford
Dr Glazov represents the Centre for Faith & Culture, Plater College
Mr Barchard is a journalist and research consultant
Dr Murphy directs Aberdeen University's new MTh Programme in Catholic Studies
Dr Mofid of Plater College is the author of Globalization for the Common Good
The Gift of Tears
>The Centre for Faith & Culture in conjunction with the St Theosevia Centre for Christian Spirituality hosted a study day on the Gift of Tears in the East and West. The speakers were Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia on the Greek tradition, Revd Dr Shafiq AbouZayd on the Syriac, and Dr Santha Bhattacharji on the Western.
The Gift of Tears is not well known in the modern West, although many of our most popular saints (such as Francis of Assisi) have possessed it, and there is even a votive mass for the Gift of Tears! Dr Bhattacharji concentrated on the well-documented experiences of Margery Kempe, beginning with her pilgrimage to Jerusalem. For ten years Margery was unable to prevent herself shouting and rolling on the ground in a state of mystical grief, which Our Lord informed her was partly to make her an example to others of true repentance. She had been given a ministry of vicarious contrition.
Bishop Kallistos explored the Biblical foundations of the Gift, and the role of tears for the Desert Fathers and early monks in the Eastern Church. He distinguished different kinds of tears (such as bitter and joyful, inner and outer), and warned at the same time of the dangers of excessive weeping, forced weeping and spiritual pride. In its authentic form, the Gift seems to be associated with the transition to a new stage of the spiritual life akin to a new birth. In fact, Gregory Nazianzen even speaks of a baptism of tears. For Climacus there are three levels of tears: unnatural (sinful), natural, and supernatural. The latter flow gently and disturb the body little, but wash away sins committed since Baptism. For Bishop Kallistos, what is manifested here is something that was already implicit in Baptism.
Dr AbouZayd's presentation expanded considerably on what had already been said, by drawing on his own extensive research in the field. He quoted several of the early Syriac writers (including the little-known Isaac of Antioch) on the link between soul and body demonstrated by tears, their power to cleanse the soul, their role as a token of sincerity and of friendship, or of unexpected joy, and their ability to separate us from the things of this world. When sin reigns, the world is dry, he said. He linked tears to the overcoming of the passions, to the discipline of the vigil, and to the Beatitudes of Christ which speak of mourning and the need for purity of heart in order to see God. 'Mourners' constituted a distinct category in early monastic life. One of the most startling of his discoveries was the apparent influence of these early Christian hermits on the Islamic ascetics known as Sufis, who were often known as 'weepers' and whose spirituality was in many respects identical to that of the Christians. It was a Sufi writer who said, 'When the body weeps for what it has lost, the spirit laughs for what it has found.
The Mission of the Baptized:
John Paul II's Challenge to the Laity
The Plater Summer School in In association with The Catholic Herald and the Centre for Faith & Culture.
A legacy of the Catholic Social Guild, the Plater Summer School was an annual event throughout most of the twentieth century. In 2001 we celebrated the 80th anniversary of Father Plater's death and the foundation by the Guild of the College named after him.
To mark the occasion, we looked back across the more than 20-year pontificate of John Paul II, without a doubt one of the most energetic and influential Popes of modern times, to the Second Vatican Council which marked the release of a creative ferment in the Church and a shift in the relationship of Church to World.
In the Council and in the writings of John Paul II we find massive encouragement for the Christian faithful to live out their baptism without fear, and to evangelize the surrounding cultures in the name of Christ. How have lay people, parishes and religious communities of all sorts responded to the challenge of the Decade of Evangelization? Do the ecclesial movements represent a 'new Pentecost' for the modern Church? How may we encourage young people to dedicate themselves to the Gospel in the years ahead?
Excerpts from the programme of the Summer School:
Welcome: Introduction to the Summer School
Fr Paul Billington (Catholic Missionary Society) Evangelization Of and Through the Parish Structure
Michael Blades (Principal of Plater College) Father Plater, Margaret Fletcher and the Role of the Laity
James Bogle (Barrister of the Middle Temple and Vice-Chairman of the Catholic Union) Catholics in Public Life
Léonie Caldecott (Centre for Faith & Culture) and Dr Kathleen Fenty (Plater College) Roundtable on the Pope, Women and the Transformation of Culture
Stratford Caldecott Introduction to G.K. Chesterton and the Chesterton archive in Plater College
Peter Garrett (Research and Education Director for LIFE, and Lecturer in Bioethics at the Newman Institute Ireland) The Challenge of Bioethics
Clive Gillam (St Francis House, Oxford) The Catholic Worker Movement
Gordon Heald (Managing Director, Opinion Research Business Ltd) The Soul of Britain and the State of the Parish
Dr Peter Hodgson (Corpus Christi College) The Pope's Challenge to Scientists
Fr Ian Ker (author of Newman: A Biography and numerous other titles) The Ecclesial Movements: A Theological Perspective
Alex van Spijk (Guild of Our Lady and St Luke) The Pope's Challenge to Artists
Cardinal Francis Stafford (President, Pontifical Council for the Laity) The Pope's Call to the Baptized in the 21st Century
Dr Tom Ward (President, NACF) The National Association of Catholic Families: An Anglo-Saxon Response to Familiaris Consortio
Charles Whitehead (Charismatic Renewal) Introduction to the Final Day: The Pope and the Laity
Dr Petroc Willey (Deputy Director of the Maryvale Institute) Keeping the Faith: The Laity and Catechesis
Charles Wookey (Assistant Secretary General of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales) Consumerism and Global Solidarity
The Spirit of Communion a video presentation
Seminars with representatives of the ecclesial movements and lay organizations, co-chaired by Tim King of Focolare and Charles Whitehead of Charismatic Renewal. Other Movements represented were Neocatechumencal Way, Faith, Youth 2000, Communion and Liberation, Cursillo, Ascent, Madonna House, Foyers of Charity, L'Arche, and the World Apostolate of Fatima.
'The Call to Holiness and the Spirit of the Counsels'' A discussion of lay vocation, consecrated life and priesthood in today's Church, with members of ecclesial movements and the Spiritual Family of the Work, chaired by Sr Mary Brigid Dechant FSO.
Plenary Discussion, with Cardinal Stafford and Archbishop Vincent Nichols.
A CELEBRATION OF JOHN PAUL II
with Cardinal Francis Stafford
Welcome by Fr Peter Newby
Rodger Charles SJ (Campion Hall, Oxford) The Social Teaching of John Paul II
Jonathan Luxmoore (East European Correspondent for The Tablet) The Post-Communist Pope
William Oddie (Editor, The Catholic Herald) John Paul the Great
John Saward (International Theological Institute, Austria) Recognizing the Rose: John Paul II and the Causes of the Saints
Mary Shivanandan (John Paul II Institute, Washington, USA) Pope, Man and Woman
Cardinal Francis Stafford (President, Pontifical Council for the Laity) The World Youth Days
NOTE. Some papers from the above Summer School and Chaplaincy Day were later produced in written form, and may be available from the Chaplaincy or in the third issue of Second Spring, the journal of the Centre for Faith & Culture. A summary of Cardinal Stafford's paper is available from our Archive, as is a copy of a relevant paper by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 'The Ecclesial Movements in the Church: A Theological Reflection'.
SPEAKERS AT THE 2001 SUMMER SCHOOL
Michael Blades is the Principal of Plater College.
Cardinal Francis Stafford is the President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, formerly Archbishop of Denver. As coordinator of the Vatican's work with lay organizations and movements throughout the world, he is also responsible for the World Youth Days.
Gordon Heald is the Managing Director of Opinion Research Business Ltd, formerly with Gallup Polls. A Catholic with long experience of opinion polls, he is ideally placed to report on the 'state of the parish' in Britain today.
James Bogle is a Barrister in Chambers in the Middle Temple, Vice-Chairman of the Catholic Union of Great Britain, Chairman of the Order of Christian Unity, a member of the Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group and a Knight of Malta.
Léonie Caldecott is a catechist and writer. She is co-founder and Associate Director of the Centre for Faith & Culture in Oxford.
Dr Kathleeen Fenty is a theologian and teacher. She is the Tutor for Study Skills in Plater College.
Prof. Mary Shivanandan teaches at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, and is the author of Crossing the Threshold of Love: A New Vision of Marriage.
Peter Hodgson is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and a research physicist. He is President of the Science Secretariat of Pax Romana and the author of numerous books and articles on science and religion.
Clive Gillam is the founder and administrator of St Francis House, which belongs to the Catholic Worker movement.
Fr Ian Ker is a Tutor at Campion Hall, and the author of numerous important works on John Henry Newman, including the major biography originally published by OUP Newman: A Biography.
Sr Mary Brigid Dechant FSO is responsible for the Spiritual Family of the Work at Newman's College in Littlemore.
Dr Petroc Willey is Deputy Director of the Maryvale Institute in the Birmingham Archdiocese, which specializes in part-time and distance-learning courses in theology, religious education and catechesis.
Stratford Caldecott is Tutor in Christianity and Society at Plater College, and Director of the Centre for Faith & Culture and the Chesterton Institute.
Peter Garrett is Research Director for the Life organization, and founder of MATCH (the Movement Against The Cloning of Humans).
Charles Wookey is Assistant Secretary General of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, and was formerly Public Affairs Assistant to Cardinal Hume at Archbishop's House. He has just completed two terms on CAFOD's Executive Board, during which time he chaired the Eastern Europe Committee.
Dr Tom Ward is a GP, and also the founder and President of the National Association of Catholic Families in the UK.
Alex van Spijk is a landscape architect (Van Spijk Designs), who has supervised town centre improvement schemes, worked on numerous private gardens and assisted in the redevelopment of degraded historical and rural sites. In 2000 he founded a Guild (www.ourladyandstluke.org) for the support of Catholic artists and architects and the continuation of the Catholic heritage.
Charles Whitehead has been the President of International Catholic Charismatic Services for the last 10 years.
Fr Paul Billington is the Director of the Catholic Missionary Society in London.
What Kind of a Christian was Shakespeare?
The Centre for Faith and Culture arranged a special seminar and discussion in Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, St Michael's Hall, Shoe Lane, Oxford. The main speaker was Peter Milward, S.J. of the Renaissance Institute, Sophia University, together with Dr Kathleen Fenty' Plater College, Oxford. Fr Peter Milward is one of the most prolific and distinguished Catholic scholars in the field of Renaissance scholarship. He is the author of Shakespeare's Religious Background, Religious Controversies of the Elizabethan Age, Shakespeare's Apocalypse and many other works.
The Center that Holds:
The Church as Seat of Wisdom
Emerging from the triumphalistic rationalism of the modern period, humanity in the developed world finds itself technologically enriched but spiritually confused. In the witness of John Paul II, the Catholic Church has been vocal in summoning humanity to a renewed hope in its own ability to live a wise dominion over creation, as modeled in the person of Christ. Knowledge is clearly not enough: that which is needed is wisdom. Since her birth at the Palestinian crossroads of East and West the Catholic Church has seen herself as bearer of wisdom. The Symposium on 'The Church as Seat of Wisdom' discussed the status of the sapiential way in the Church at the turn of the millennium. The speakers' perspectives were broad, extending in scope from the wisdom traditions of Asia to the Church in America and to the pilgrim Pope, from questions around the rebirth of metaphysics to the meaning of suffering and the Marian mystery of the Bride of Christ. Prayer and liturgy accompanied our way as we reflected together on the sapiential tradition at the turn of the millennium.
In the past our occasional 'Kairos' events have brought Catholics and Orthodox together to discuss subjects of mutual interest, and the papers from these meetings have been published in Communio. The Associate Director of the Centre, Dr Gregory Glazov, inaugurated a new society for East-West dialogue named after two great nineteenth-century figures of the faith: Vladimir Soloviev and John Henry Newman. A study-day on Soloviev at Plater College, where the other speakers were Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia, Dr Jonathan Sutton of Leeds University, and Dr Paul Vallière of Butler University in America, the author of an important new book from T&T Clark, Modern Russian Theology: Bukharev, Soloviev, Bulgakov).
The Rose Round:
The major event for the Centre's Rose Round youth group in the period since the pilgrimage which was described in the previous Bulletin has been theatrical: a musical play called Crash Course which had its first-ever performance at Westminster Cathedral Hall, as part of the Catholic Culture Festival described above. The play is about a girl's band called 'Disco'. Killed in a plane crash, the girls find themselves in Purgatory, meeting their patron saints and guardian angels for the first time. Naturally they need a crash course in Catholicism before they can understand what has happened to them and what they need to do next: the course is organized by St Thérèse.
On Saturday 11 November, 10am-6pm, there took place a Festival of Catholic Culture at Westminster Cathedral Hall. Opened by Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Festival is hoped to become an annual event. The Centre for Faith & Culture was one of the sponsoring organizations, alongside the Catholic Truth Society, The Catholic Writers' Guild, Aid to the Church in Need, Gracewing Publishers, Fisher Press and T&T Clark, and the Association of Catholic Women.
Visitors were able to discover the riches of Catholic culture in talks on art by Dr Gabrieli Finaldi of the National Gallery (Seeing Salvation) and on Catholicism in China and at workshops on film, music, architecture and Gregorian Chant (with Mary Berry). Many took the opportunity to do some Christmas shopping for books, CDs and calendars at over 20 bookstalls and display stands. There was music from the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School Choir, and a drama presentation by the Rose Round group (see below).
Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe
On 20-21 May 2000, the founder and spiritual leader of the Community of St John returned to us in his second visit to Oxford, to guide a retreat on Faith and Reason at Plater College. Fr Philippe spoke of the importance of true philosophy that kind of philosophy which is the loving search for wisdom and took the form, in part, of a commentary on the encyclical Fides et Ratio by John Paul II. There were also numerous opportunities for private meetings with Fr Philippe.
The weekend was an enormous success, thanks in part to the skillful simultaneous translation of Fr Philippe's discourses by Miss Caroline Morson. The event was also an opportunity to inaugurate the Association of Friends of the Community of St John, who are working and praying this country for the eventual establishment of a house for the Community which, founded in 1975, is one of the fastest growing new communities in the Church, with houses on five continents, as far afield at Lithuania, Texas and Taiwan. It lays particular emphasis on adoration and contemplative prayer, on the spirituality of St John's Gospel, on study (especially of Aristotle and St Thomas), and on presence to the poor and needy.
A Philosopher in Oxford
Father Marie-Dominique Philippe (87), the distinguished Dominican philosopher and founder of one of the fastest-growing contemplative religious orders in the world, the Community of St John, was in England briefly this past week to lead a retreat on 'Faith and Reason' at Plater College in Oxford. To a crowded conference, he explained the importance of John Paul II's 1998 encyclical, which was a plea from the heart of the Church for a restoration of metaphysics. Confidence in the capacity of human intelligence to open itself to the light of being had been undermined. Only with a recovery of of wisdom could the distortion of mere rationalism be rectified. The retreat, hosted by the Centre for Faith & Culture at Plater, saw the launch of the English branch of the Friends of the Community of St John.
Details can be obtained from Monica Dunton, Dalecroft, Ford, Bucks HP17 8XH
or by email . The main Community of St John website may be found at www.stjean.com.
A George MacDonald Day
On Saturday 18 September 1999, the Chesterton Institute and the George MacDonald Society held a one-day conference on the Scottish writer George MacDonald, whom C.S. Lewis regarded as the 'master' who baptized his imagination and prepared his conversion to Christianity. MacDonald was a master not only of the spiritual life but also of the mythopoeic art, and his fairy stories (such as The Princess and the Goblin) have influenced not only Lewis but G.K. Chesterton and J.R.R. Tolkien. Speakers included Fr Robert Wild on 'Chesterton the Mystic', with Prof. Stephen Prickett, Dr David Jasper, Dr Colin Manlove and Dr David Robb on aspects of George MacDonald. The papers will be published, some of them in The Chesterton Review and some in the MacDonald Society's journal North Wind (Dr David Robb, Dept of English, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN).
The Renewal of Exegesis
On Wednesday 10 March 1999, the Centre for Faith & Culture at Plater College organized a study-day on Biblical exegesis called 'The Power of the Word'. The main speakers were Bishop John Brewer (the Chairman of the Theology Committee of the Bishops' Conference) on 'Lectio Divina: The Bible as Prayer'; Prof. William Farmer (University of Dallas), the Editor of the new International Bible Commentary (Liturgical Press/Columba), on 'The Bible and Social Justice'; and Dr Gregory Glazov (Plater College and Exeter College, Oxford) on 'The Healing Power of the Word in the Book of Job'. Archbishop Jorge Mejía, the Vatican Librarian, was due to speak also, but was called back to Rome at the last moment. A reception was held at St Benet's Hall, graciously hosted by Dom Henry Wansbrough, later in the evening.
Plater Summer School:
The Sane Economy
The 1999 annual Plater Summer School was devoted to the theme of 'Building a Sane Economy', and featured a number of speakers from the Centre's research project of that name.
Stratford introduced the project with a comparison of Chesterton and Fr Charles Plater as 'Lovers of the Common Man'. Next, Margaret Atkins then developed the closely connected themes of the common good and virtue ethics, with special reference to the ecological dimension. (James Bright added a special report on the latest Vatican thinking on ecology.)
Labour MP John Battle, who is now a minister in the foreign office, analysed the current political challenge of social change. Andrew Abela (from Darden Business School in Virginia, and a former management consultant with McKinsey) developed a Trinitarian model of the 'ends of business', through which the need for profit may be integrated with the needs of community. (Several speakers referred to a similar approach developed by the Focolare Movement.) Jonathan Boswell (the Von Hugel Institute) spoke on the development of Catholic social thought in relation to new civic institutions, especially 'forums', ending with an appeal for a 'third chamber' in Parliament.
Agneta Sutton (Centre for Bioethics and Public Policy) described a looming demographic crisis in the developed nations, namely the steep rise in the average age and the proportion of non-earning elderly in society, which results in pressure on welfare and pension services and growing demand for euthanasia (various practical responses were discussed).
Edward Hadas (a financial analyst with Putnam Investments) outlined his new economic theory based on the 'economic respiration' of Labour and Consumption mediated by Capital. David Dean (of the Co-operative College in Loughborough) gave a practical seminar on credit unions, and explored some of the reasons for their lack of impact in the UK (compared, say, to Ireland). Russell Sparkes concluded the School with a history of Distributism, and contradicted the conventional wisdom by showing its down-to-earth practicality, once liberated from the idea that it refers only to a Romantic agrarian reaction to modern civilization.
A resource library of relevant books was made available to participants, and a series of discussion groups on the themes of the talks culminated in a fruitful Plenary Session on the last day.
One speaker from the Sane Economy Project who was unable to be present was Race Mathews, whose book on Distributism and the cooperative movement, Jobs of Our Own: Towards a Stakeholder Economy (by Pluto Press Australia), is available in the UK from Comerford & Miller (36 Grosvenor Rd, West Wickham, BR4 9PY). The book launches a new understanding of the importance of producer cooperatives, of which Mondragon in northern Spain is a spectacularly successful example. The reasons for its success, and the lessons that can be drawn from it, constitute a major part of the book, backed up by new research.
The Rose Round: An Exercise in Cultural Evangelization
We are all aware of the importance in our lives of friendship and imagination. Friendship, because as we grows, we increasingly discover, express and define our identity through personal relationships and imagination, because all of us live much more than we realize in a world that is coloured and shaped by the power of imagination. 'The Rose Round' is a girls' group named after a delightful novel by the late Meriol Trevor (available through Ignatius Press/Family Publications) that we have enjoyed with our children. The group runs from First Communion age through Confirmation, and its patrons are Our Lady and St Thérèse. The idea of this group was simple but profound: to combine the three 'Fs' faith, fun and friendship. So the group baked cakes and bread together, sang carols, made retreats and participated in social events with a catechetical content.
Just after Easter 1999 we completed our greatest challenge: to take nineteen members of the Rose Round including a few assorted newcomers from as far afield as Austria and America on a week-long pilgrimage to northern France. It was a completely absorbing and enriching experience of Catholic community. We were exploring a landscape made sacred by the life of St Thérèse (Lisieux, Alen¸on, Bayeux and the surrounding countryside), overlaying the more ancient landscape of sacred France, which Th´rèse herself knew and which helped to shape her spirit: a land sanctified by devotion to Our Lady at places like Douvres-la-Délivrande, Honfleur and Chartres Cathedral. Along the way we played on the beach, we visited beauty spots and a horse farm, we learned songs and had fun. Each day we had Mass in a different shrine, and the children participated fully, giving the readings and bidding prayers and making music. We took with us a box of intentions: prayers collected throughout Lent. The girls came back reinvigorated in their faith and with a greater sense of their dignity and worth as young women.
Girls like these are the physical mothers, and spiritual mothers, of the civilization that is to come. It was wonderful to see them enjoy themselves so much, and work together (and behave) so well. They were a credit to their families. We want to thank both them and those adults who came along to help look after them, making the whole thing possible. Thanks are also due to all those who helped to fund the fares of some of the children.
Since the Pilgrimage, we have had several other events, including an Icon Day with Sr Tatiana at Plater, a retreat (with pancakes!) at Boars Hill with Fr Iain Matthews OCD, and a group visit to the brilliant 'Seeing Salvation' exhibition at the National Gallery in London.
Towards the Second Spring:
The Summer Conference of the Centre for Faith & Culture took place in August 1999 at Plater College. It was a remarkable event in several ways: not merely because of the high quality of many of the papers presented. It was as much a retreat as a conference, and this combination seemed to be much appreciated by those who took part.
Stratford introduced the event with a paper on the evangelization of culture and the need for a 'new chivalry', emphasizing the crucial importance of personal contact and loving relationships and thus introducing the new movements and communities in the Church, which the Pope acknowledged at Pentecost 1998, in a great meeting in St Peter's Square, as the best hope for the Church's 'new springtime'. A strenuous effort is now being made to integrate these movements fully with the life of the dioceses and parishes. But the movements, though they are taken seriously by the world on account of the large numbers of people involved, and the vocations to the priesthood and religious life that emerge within them in contrast to the more established structures of the Church, catch fire and grow mainly through personal friendship on a small, even an intimate scale.
Fr Peter Milward SJ, the founder of the Renaissance Centre/Institute in Japan, then spoke brilliantly about the specific meaning of the Pope's 'new evangelization', drawing particularly on the example of Japan and comparing it with the 'first evangelization' by St Francis Xavier. He looked closely and critically at the comments of the Japanese Bishops during the recent Asian Synod in the light of the Pope's encyclical Redemptoris Missio, emphasizing the importance not only of dialogue but of proclamation in any authentic Christian missionary movement.
John Saward opened up the Church's Liturgy in a 'new' way, by attempting to revive the almost lost art of the mystical exegesis of the Mass, using the commentary on the Eucharist by St Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologiae. Fr Ian Ker then picked up the theme of the new movements, developing this in the light of Newman's famous book On Consulting the Faithful, and arguing for a renewed sense of the primary importance of the common baptism of Christians and their dignity as 'the faithful'. (The paper was later published in The Catholic Herald.) The second day ended with a discussion of the Pope's encyclical Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason), and with the importance of philosophy for the new evangelization.
Wednesday saw a discussion of the Marian title 'Coredemptrix', followed by a brilliant paper on 'St Joseph and the Rediscovery of Fatherhood' (in the family and in the priesthood) by Fr Francis Frost from the international seminary in Ars. Providentially, a remarkable icon of St Joseph %#150; a gift to the conference and to the College arrived at the conclusion of Fr Frost's paper, and the artist was present during the evening session to discuss both this and the great Wilton Diptych, now in the National Gallery, which represents Our Lady as Mother of God and Queen holding the Child, who is receiving the Kingdom of England from King Richard II. (The Icon was installed in the Chapel of St Joseph at a College Mass at the start of the following term, on 18 October.)
During the afternoon, conference participants visited Newman's Littlemore for a tour and Mass with Fr Ker and the Sisters of the Work. And yet the conference was only half over. The following day opened with an extraordinary exercise in mystical exegesis of the Scriptures by Gregory Glazov, a biblical scholar who teaches at Plater College. It was followed by Léonie Caldecott's paper on the role and nature of the feminine vocation of spiritual (and sometimes physical) motherhood, and the importance of this in the creation of a culture of life. Philip Zaleski of the American Center for Faith & Culture and Smith College spoke 'in praise of perfection': i.e. in defence and reclamation of the neglected concept of the Christian call to sanctity, in contrast to the various kinds of common New Age spirituality which dilute our aspiration to holiness. The final paper was by Carol Zaleski, and concerned the need for 'discernment', and the recovery of the traditional arts of discernment, known to all the great spiritual guides but often (wrongly) thought to be inaccessible in the modern world, where at times it seems easier to find guidance in other religious communities than within the bosom of the Church.