(Vatican Radio) The Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society is a new interdisciplinary endeavor designed to create synergy and explore existing connections among the social sciences as these pertain to religion and the study of religion. Founded by St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, with the approval of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society brings together existing strands of research and seeks to foster new projects with partner researchers and organizations.
The Centre’s founding ethos and central conviction is rooted in the enduring vision of Catholic higher education, as enunciated in the Apostolic Constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae of Pope St. John Paul II on the nature and purpose of the Catholic university in the life of the Church and the world.
Among the external affiliates of the Centre is Vatican Radio’s Chris Altieri, who spoke with the Centre’s founder and first Director, Dr. Stephen Bullivant, about the initiative and its efforts to recover the Christian roots of our increasingly secular culture.
Click below to hear Chris Altieri’s extended conversation with Dr. Stephen Bullivant
“The vision for the Centre comes from various streams: obviously – with the name – Pope Benedict XVI visited St. Mary’s in 2010, and did several events at St. Mary’s, and this 5th anniversary [year] seemed like a good opportunity to remind ourselves of that honor,” he said. “More broadly,” Bullivant continued, “my own work, in theology and particularly in sociology and the social sciences, has long been impressed – long before I was a Catholic – by Pope Benedict’s – and prior to that, Joseph Ratzinger’s – engagement with secular thought – particularly his very famous dialogue with [renowned philosopher] Jurgen Habermas and his dialogue with [Italian philosopher and politician] Marcello Pera, and the call for a ‘Courtyard of the Gentiles’,” which has since become a reality through the Pontifical Council for Culture.
One of The Benedict XVI Centre’s first major initiatives is a book offering an assessment of Bl. Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical Letter, Humanae vitae, in occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Letter’s promulgation in 1968. Humanae vitae at 50 will feature contributions from leading scholars and researchers in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, brought together to give a critical re-engagement with the Encyclical’s teaching in light of recent medical, social, cultural, and demographic realities, both within and beyond the global Catholic Church.