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Faith Matters Autumn 2012

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The Year of Faith: Season I

What is Faith and How do we Believe?

Tuesdays – 7:00-8:30pm – Westminster Cathedral Hall

Faith Matters - the Catholic Lecture Series - returns on Tuesday evenings to address  some of the questions people have on how to grow in  knowledge and appreciation of the deposit of faith  in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in dialogue with patterns of thought and living in our changing society.   This series is the first of four dedicated to the Year of Faith and focusses on Part I of the Catechism of the Catholic Church - 'What is Faith and how do we believe?' 
The series will be introduced on October 30th with a talk given by Archbishop Vincent Nichols and the following three talks in this series will look at faith in relation to psychology, cultural anthropology and philosophy.

Each lecture will be introduced by a facilitator, who will also lead a question and answer session with the audience. There will also be an opportunity to take part in an online discussion forum on the diocesan website. Faith Matters is an initiative of the Agency for Evangelisation in conjunction with the Mount St Jesuit Centre.

All lectures will start at 7pm in Westminster Cathedral Hall,
Ambrosden Avenue, SW1P 1QJ.

These are public lectures to which all are welcome. Registration for the lectures is advised to guarantee a place. Please register at or telephone 020 7931 6078

Some pictures of the talks:



30th October

What is Faith and How do we Believe? – Archbishop Vincent Nichols

Archbishop Vincent Nichols

Archbishop Vincent's talk will explore the characteristics of faith as presented in the Catechism of Catholic Church but will also consider the ‘walk before faith (or preambula fidei)’. It will also seek to show how an understanding of the characteristics of faith and the walk before it can help us respond more effectively to Pope Benedict's call for a New Evangelisation.

The Most Rev Vincent Nichols is Archbishop of Westminster. 


View Archbishop Nichols' talk here

Listen to the talk on the Premier Radio

6th November

Faith, Science and the Human Person – Rev Dr Andrew Pinsent

Rev Dr Andrew PinsentWhat are the relationships of faith, philosophy and science? Are faith and science compatible and can their harmonisation stimulate a deeper understanding of the faith (cf Gaudium et Spes 62)?  In this presentation, Fr Andrew Pinsent, a former particle physicist at CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research), outlines what philosophy does and does not say regarding questions of the existence of God and the relationship of faith and science. Beyond mere compatibility, however, Fr Pinsent argues that recent developments in science have stimulated a new understanding of the human person in terms of ‘second-person relatedness’, showing how this understanding is providing new insights into long-standing challenges, such as the meaning of the life of faith and the role of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Finally, he considers some implications of these developments for addressing the problems of loveless and ‘cold’ societies, notably the loss of second-person relatedness and an ‘epidemic’ of narcissism.

Rev Dr Andrew Pinsent is Research Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion, Faculty of Theology, University of Oxford.

View Rev Dr Andrew Pinsent's talk here

Powerpoint presentation of the talk 

Listen to the talk on the Premier Radio


13th November

Faith and the Psychologists – Professor Rachel Blass

Professor Rachel Blass

Psychological approaches to religious faith often lie at the foundation of modern religious doubt and atheism. Psychology attempts to understand faith through human motives, needs, environmental conditions and developmental trends without assuming the reality of God. It offers a natural account of our belief that can serve as an alternative to the supernatural one of religion.  Professor Rachel Blass explores some of these psychological approaches to faith and the doubts that they may raise for the believer. We will see, however, how the encounter with these approaches in fact helps us to both understand and to deepen the nature and content of our faith.

Professor Rachel Blass is a psychoanalyst, the Convenor of Psychology of Religion at Heythrop College and a Visiting Professor at University College, London.

View Professor Blass' talk here
Listen to the talk on the Premier Radio

20th November

Finding God in other Cultures and Religions – Professor Ian Linden

Ian Linden

Globalisation and population movements have brought different cultures and religions face to face in our cities.  What Sri Lankan theologian Aloysius Pieris called the irruption of the Third World in the 1980s has led to the idiom of non-Christian religions playing an increasing part in most societies around the world today. What does evangelisation entail in a religiously pluralist society?

Ian Linden is Director of Policy at the TBFF, formerly director of the Social Action Programme, Faiths Act, and an associate professor in the Study of Religion at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the University of London.

View Professor Linden's talk here

Listen to the talk on the Premier Radio

Faith Matters Series
Faith Matters

Year of Faith

‘We must be aware of and understand the aspirations, the yearnings, and the often dramatic features of the world in which we live. At all times the Church carries the responsibility of reading the signs of the time and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel, if it is to carry out its task.’ Vatican II The Church in the Modern World