Centre for Faith & Culture

History of the Centre


A pan-European conference of the Association Colloques Culturels Européens (A.C.C.E.) in Krakow, Poland. The A.C.C.E.'s purpose was to bring together Catholic laypeople from many walks of life in order to foster the evangelization of culture, following an initiative of Pope John Paul II.


December: first publication of Second Spring, an 8-page cultural supplement to the Ignatius Press magazine Catholic World Report for the Decade of Evangelization (It was to appear three times a year for the next seven years.)


A.C.C.E. conference in Prague, Czech Republic.

Ethics and Economics in Post-Communist Europe – a Chesterton Review conference in Zagreb, Croatia.


1 August: the foundation of the Centre for Faith & Culture at Westminster College in Oxford by Stratford Caldecott. Contract between the College and T&T Clark comes into effect. Half of the work of the Centre thereafter is to commission 12 books per year in the area of Catholic theology. Associate Founders of the Centre are Léonie Caldecott, David L. Schindler (Communio) and Ian Boyd CSB (The Chesterton Review). The Centre begins to publish a twice-yearly newsletter (later Faith & Culture Bulletin). Research-based articles appear regularly in Communio or The Chesterton Review; more journalistic pieces in Catholic World Report and Inside the Vatican magazine.

October: launch of the joint statement A Civilization of Love: The Pope's Call to the West, signed by 14 Catholic editors of a range of publications (including Communio, The Chesterton Review and the Houston Catholic Worker), calling for a more critical examination of the current lifestyle and economic assumptions of the Western nations.

28 October: Understanding Roman Catholic Liturgy. An introductory seminar with invited speakers and guests including liturgist Edward Yarnold SJ and sociologist Kieran Flanagan.

12 December: First meeting of the International Advisory Panel of the Centre, followed by a Press Launch and Reception attended by about 50 invited guests.


28 January: first British Lonergan Workshop, with Dom Sebastian Moore OSB.

29-30 May: Catholicism, Liberalism, New Age: Directions for Eastern Europe – Stratford Caldecott and David L. Schindler speak at a conference organized by the Centre for Religious Studies in Vilnius, to follow up the 1993 Zagreb Conference and the 1994 Joint Statement.

24 June: Philip Neri and the Renewal of Christian Culture. A conference at Westminster College, followed by a musical celebration at the Oxford Oratory with the London Bach Consort, commemorating the Saint's 400th anniversary. Speakers include Fr Graham Leonard, with Stratford and Philip Healy from Westminster College.

During the summer the Centre brings a British/Irish delegation to the A.C.C.E. Colloquium in St Petersburg and Novgorod.

5-7 September: Catholicism and History – the first Summer Conference of the Centre, commemorating 25 years since the death of historian Christopher Dawson. Christina Scott, Dermot Quinn, Glenn Olsen, Francesca Murphy, and others explore Dawson's conception of a Christian culture. The book of the conference, Eternity in Time, is later published by T&T Clark, co-edited by Stratford and John Morrill (Selwyn College, Cambridge).

18 November: The Filioque Controversy. First Kairos Symposium at Greyfriars Hall with Thomas Weinandy OFM Cap. (Warden of Greyfriars), Bishop Kallistos Ware, Serge Keleher (Keston Institute) and Paul McPartlan (Heythrop College). Published papers and reports in Communio (Summer 1996).

21 November: Rose Round group for girls started.

4 December: Interpreting the Second Vatican Council by Prof. David L. Schindler. The first annual Hans Urs von Balthasar Lecture, later published in Communio (Spring 1996).


Lent: Rose Round sponsored Palm Sunday Race and other charitable activities.

24-30 June: Beyond the Prosaic: Human Culture and Divine Liturgy - a conference/retreat on the sacramental function of language and the arts, and the principles that should govern liturgical reform, with an opening message from Cardinal Poupard of the Pontifical Council for Culture. Speakers include John Saward, Mgr Peter J. Elliott, Archimandrite Serge Keleher, Eamon Duffy, Mgr Francis Mannion, and Edward Yarnold SJ. An Oxford Declaration on Liturgy is issued as the founding document of the Centre's 'Liturgy Forum'. (This is widely reprinted, and cited approvingly by Cardinal Ratzinger in October 1998.) The book of the conference (Beyond the Prosaic: Renewing the Liturgical Movement) is later published by T&T Clark.

18-19 October: G.K. Chesterton Library, Open Day and Exhibition.

16 November: Soloviev and the Papacy – the second Kairos Symposium at Greyfriars Hall, with talks by Dr Gregory Glazov, Dr Jonathan Sutton, Bishop Basil Osborne and Aidan Nichols OP. See Communio (Spring 1997).

22 November: Hommage à Charles Péguy at the Maison Fran£ccedil;aise in Oxford, on the occasion of the appearance in English of The Portal of the Mystery of Hope (T&T Clark and Eerdmans). The speakers included Yves Rey-Herme and Nicole Gore.

29 November: The Vocation of the Christian in the World – the second Hans Urs von Balthasar Lecture, by Jacques Servais SJ (Rector of the Casa Balthasar in Rome), later published in Communio (Winter 1996). Public opening of the Chesterton Library.


10 May: The Man Who Was Thursday – a study day at Westminster College on aspects of G.K.C. and Dorothy L. Sayers, in association with the Sayers Society and The Chesterton Review. Talks by Dr William Oddie, Dr Barbara Reynolds, and Harry Keating.

26-8 June: Prophet of Sanity: G.K. Chesterton and the Culture of Life – the third Summer Conference of the Centre, in association with the G.K. Chesterton Institute. Speakers include Ian Ker, David Alton, Aidan Nichols, Russell Sparkes and John Saward. The conference leads to the creation of a committee to save the Catholic Central Library in London. Meanwhile the Chesterton Institute is formed as an independent charitable trust to take ownership of the Chesterton Library in Oxford, with assistance from the G.K. Chesterton Institute in America.

30 September: Rose Round celebration of Centenary of St Therese of Lisieux with short musical play.


During this year first the Chesterton Library and then the Centre for Faith & Culture move from Westminster College to Plater College in Oxford, where Stratford becomes Tutor in Christianity and Society. The Centre continues to enjoy the support of T&T Clark and of the Chesterton Institute in America (Stratford at this time being also the Assistant Editor of The Chesterton Review). An American Center for Faith & Culture is meanwhile being established by Philip and Carol Zaleski in Northampton, MA. John Saward moves from America to Europe, where he is appointed Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the recently-established International Theological Institute in Gaming, Austria, and also Research Fellow at the Chesterton Library of the Centre in Oxford. The Library attracts a steady stream of visitors, and a small Chesterton Club is started for students of Plater College. Léonie Caldecott and Gregory Glazov become Associate Directors of the Centre.

21 March: The Nuptial Mystery at the Heart of the Church - the third Hans Urs von Balthasar Lecture, by Bishop Angelo Scola (Rector Magnificus of the Pontifical Lateran University). Lecture published in Communio (Winter 1998). Other speakers: Francis Etheredge and Christina McCann.

6 August: The Family of God - a day at Plater College on Scripture study for 10-15 year-olds with Scott and Kimberly Hahn (Franciscan University of Steubenville).

24 October: John the Theologian: A Bridge between East and West? On his first visit to England, Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe OP, founder of the worldwide Community of St John, speaks about the importance of John's Gospel. Invited guests include Bishop Basil Osborne and Aidan Nichols OP. The meeting is held in Blackfriars Hall in Oxford.

28 November: Images of Heaven: Christian Sacred Art in East and West - a Kairos event at the University's Catholic Chaplaincy, with an accompanying Christian Art exhibition. Speakers include Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia, Fr Peter Newby (chaplain), Brother Aidan, Edith Reyntiens and Mary Charles-Murray. Cosponsored by the Catholic Chaplaincy.

10 December: paper by Stratford at the inaugural meeting of the Centre for Faith & Culture at the Newman Institute Ireland. By now a formal affiliation has been established with the Newman Institute. Both Stratford Caldecott and John Saward become visiting faculty.


2 January: Musical entertainment by Rose Round to raise funds for Easter Pilgrimage.

20 January: Being in the World: Social Christianity and Responsible Citizenship – the Charles Plater Memorial Lecture by David Lord Alton.

10 March: The Power of the Word – a Study Day on Biblical Exegesis with Bishop John Brewer, Dr Gregory Glazov (Plater and Exeter College) and Prof. William Farmer (University of Dallas, editor of the new International Bible Commentary. Reception at St Benet's Hall.

5-12 April: Rose Round Pilgrimage – a pilgrimage for 19 girls to sites in Normandy associated with St Therese and the Blessed Virgin Mary, including Chartres and Lisieux.

29 May: Chesterton, Ireland and the Family – John Saward, Sheridan Gilley and Stratford speak at the inaugural meeting of the Family Life Centre of the Newman Institute, Ireland, which will be co-directed by John Saward.

31 July-7 August: Building a Sane Economy – Plater Summer School, in association with the Chesterton Institute. Speakers include Russell Sparkes, Edward Hadas, Margaret Atkins, Jonathan Boswell and Andrew Abela.

23-7 August: Towards the Second Spring – fifth Summer Conference of the Centre for Faith & Culture. Speakers include Philip and Carol Zaleski, Fr Francis Frost (Ars), Philip and Carol Zaleski (Smith College), Peter Milward SJ (Sophia University), Fr Ian Ker.

18 September: George MacDonald – a Study Day co-sponsored by the George MacDonald Society, with Fr Robert Wild, Dr David Jasper, Dr Colin Manlove, Dr David Robb and Prof. Stephen Prickett.

24-5 September: The Drama of the Home: Marriage, the Common Good and Public Policy – Keynote Address by Stratford Caldecott to the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars in Chicago.

8-10 October: 'The Light Within': New Age and Christian Spirituality – a Chesterton Institute conference, with Stratford Caldecott, Philip Zaleski, Joyce Little, Mitchell Pacwa, Philip Jenkins, Fr David Denny, Linda Woodhead and others.

18 December: Icon Workshop at Plater for the Rose Round.


During the early part of the year, the Russian iconographer Sister Tatiana Krouzova is appointed Artist in Residence. A benefaction to the College enables a bursary to be established to support her. Unfortunately visa problems cause her to be absent during part of the year.

24-5 January: visit of Bishop Angelo Scola from the Lateran University. Meeting at St Benet's Hall courtesy of Dom Henry Wansbrough. Visit to Bodleian Library, Littlemore and Plater College. (Visit continues at Heythrop College in London.)

24 February and 1 June: Rose Round half-term day retreats at Boars Hill Carmelite Priory.

19 March: Rose Round visit Seeing Salvation exhibition at the National Gallery.

20-21 May: Faith and Reason - a retreat at Plater College with Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe OP, founder of the Community of St John, to follow up his 1998 visit, and to launch the English Association of the Friends of the Community of St John. Translation facilities provided.

17 June: The Way of Beauty: Our Lady in the Christian Imagination - speakers include William McLoughlin OSM, with Stratford and Leonie Caldecott. Audio-visual presentation.

21 June: meeting in Rome with the faculty of the Pontifical Lateran University to agree staff and student exchanges etc.

24 July: Verse in Adversity - a public lecture by Joseph Pearce, cosponsored by the Centre at the opening of the summer conference of the Catholic Record Society at Plater College.

11 November: Towards Advent – the Centre is one of the sponsors of the Catholic Media and Cultural Festival in Westminster Cathedral Hall. The Rose Round is to perform a musical play at this event.

18 November: Vladimir Soloviev: The Russian Newman? – a conference to mark the centenary of Soloviev's death and to inaugurate the Centre's Newman-Soloviev Society for ecumenical dialogue. Speakers include Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia, Dr Gregory Glazov, Dr Jonathan Sutton and Dr Paul Valliere (author of Modern Russian Theology (T&T Clark).


February: 'The Center That Holds: The Church as Seat of Wisdom' conference at Marquette University, paper by Stratford Caldecott on The Secret Path and audio-visual presentation on Our Lady by Leonie Caldecott.

July: Stratford Caldecott speaks at a conference on the future of the Liturgical Movement chaired by Cardinal Ratzinger at Fontgombault Abbey.

July-August: The Mission of the Baptized – the Plater Summer School, followed by John Paul the Great, a celebration of the Pope's ministry at the Catholic Chaplaincy, both attended by Cardinal Francis Stafford (Pontifical Council for the Laity) Other speakers include Charles Whitehead, Tim King, Paul Billington, Charles Wookey, Dr Ian Ker, Dr William Oddie, John Saward, Mary Shivanandan, Rodger Charles SJ.

3 November: The Gift of Tears – a Study Day co-sponsored with the Saint Theosevia Centre for Christian Spirituality. Speakers: Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia, Dr Shafiq AbuZayd and Dr Santha Bhattacharji.


26 January: Inter-Faith Dialogue as a Means for World Peace with Cardinal Francis Arinze. A day conference held at the University's Catholic Chaplaincy in St Aldates. Other speakers include Dr Farhan Nizami, Dr Gregory Glazov, David Barchard, Dr Francesca Murphy and Dr Kamran Mofid.

March: Stratford Caldecott teaching at Newman Institute Ireland.

April: Leonie Caldecott speaks at a conference on Viet-Nam at Seton Hall University.

12 June: Understanding the Family in the 21st Century – the Charles Dominic Plater Memorial Lecture, by Professor Karin Heller (Newman Institute Ireland).

22 June: Christian Platonism – a Study Day co-sponsored with the Saint Theosevia Centre for Christian Spirituality. Speakers: Prof. S.R.L. Clark, Dr Robert Bolton and Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia.

September: Chesterton's Ireland: Then and Now – a conference sponsored by the Chesterton Institute at St Patrick's College, Maynooth. Speakers include Cardinal Daly, Dermot Quinn, Mary Kenny, Owen Dudley Edwards, Sheridan Gilley, Garrett Fitzgerald, Stratford Caldecott.


In this year, the Centre merged with the G.K. Chesterton Institute to become the European branch of the Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture, and moved from Plater College to 6a King Street in Jericho, Oxford.


See also Aidan Nichols' article on the history of the Centre, and the interview with Stratford & Leonie.