Faith Matters - Summer 2013

To listen to our previous series please go to the Heart to Heart (Premier Christian Radio) website at  


Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God: Catholic moral & social teaching


9th, 16th, 23th and 30th May 2013
7 - 8:30pm – Vaughan House, 46 Francis Street, SW1P 1QN

Faith Matters - the Catholic Lecture Series - returns on Thursday evenings. This series is the third of four dedicated to the Year of Faith and focusses on Part III of the Catechism of the Catholic Church - 'Life in Christ'.


Book for 9th May, ‘A Catholic Conversation with the Earth ‘ by Mary Colwell at

Book for 16th May, ‘Credo but not credulous! Christians’ conditional loyalty’ by Dr Patrick Riordan SJ at

Book for 23 May, "Revisiting the peace message of Pacem in Terris: have we put the words into action?" by Pat Gaffney at

Book for 30th May, "The Ten Commandments: Do they still matter?" by Fr Michael Kirwan at

These are public lectures and all are welcome. Registration is required as places will be limited. Please book your place at this website or email to or telephone 020 7931 6078. Suggested donation per lecture is £3. 


Mary Colwell

First talk in the series focused on ‘A Catholic Conversation with the Earth ‘ by Mary Colwell. Mary is a radio, TV and internet producer, has worked all over the world from the Arctic to the Amazon on a variety of programmes and is continuing to make documentaries for the BBC Natural History Unit.  She brings an in depth knowledge of the natural world to the world of faith and explores how the two can inspire each other.  

The talk invited the audience  to reflect on the ecological theologian Thomas Berry who said we have "broken the conversation with the earth" and the planet is straining under the demands of 7 billion people - rising to 9 billion by 2050.  As more and more people want an ever higher standard of living, many feel the earth cannot supply all our wants and still maintain an integrity of its own.  This talk will look at questions such as what can Catholic teaching tell us about this crisis?  How can we unwrap the layers of Catholic teachings over generations to find the wisdom that is needed to bring balance back to a planet?  The gospels say very little directly about nature, but they are redolent with love and respect for the face of the creator that is seen in all of life. As the Catholic Church is a powerful presence in some of the most stressed areas on earth - the Amazon, the Philippines, large parts of Africa - what can the Church do to help the earth recover and to start once again a meaningful, joyful conversation with the planet?


On 16th May Dr Patrick Riordan SJ gave a talk entitled ‘Credo but not credulous! Christians’ conditional loyalty’.  A native of Dublin, Dr Patrick Riordan SJ is a Jesuit Priest from the Irish province who teaches political philosophy at Heythrop College in the University of London. His research interests are Religion in Public Life, the Philosophy of Justice, and the Common Good.
The talk explored the following questions: What does our faith commitment as Christians require of us in relation to politics? What resources from our faith can we draw on to meet those obligations as responsible citizens? We explored answers to these two questions, about our obligations and our resources, which reveal limitations on our political engagement. As a result, our loyalty to our countries, our political parties and our politicians is conditional and qualified: we are not willing to support every policy, even those ‘democratically’ arrived at. Being true to our Christian vocation, we are an irritation to many, but perhaps that makes us more truly responsible citizens?

On 23rd  May Pat Gaffney will give a talk entitled "Revisiting the peace message of Pacem in Terris: have we put the words into action?" Pat Gaffney has been General Secretary of Pax Christi, the International Catholic Movement for Peace since 1990. Her work as General Secretary involves Pat in lobbying and campaigning within the Church and political networks on peace and security-related issues; support and facilitation for church-related groups on Christian peacemaking as well as co-ordinating the day to day running of Pax Christi in Britain. Pat was recently involved in a project entitled 100 days of Peace, an education programme to bring the Olympic Truce ideal into the 2012 Olympics. In July 2005 Pat was nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize in the 1000 Women for Peace Project. In April 2012 Pat was listed in the Independent on Sunday’s Happy List (in contrast to the Sunday Times Rich List) of people who make useful contributions to society.
In her lecture Pat will encourage us to reflect on whether or not the world is a more secure, more just place to live fifty years after Pacem in Terris .  How do we continue to measure up to the demands of Pacem in Terris as a country and as a church? What role has the peace movement Pax Christi played in this?

Final lecture in this Faith matters series was by Fr Michael Kirwan, SJ  and explored "The Ten Commandments: do they still matter?"

Fr Michael is head of the Theology department at Heythrop College (University of London). He is a regular guest lecturer at the Institute of Ecumenical Studies in Prague, and cherishes a longer-term project of bringing political theology from European and Latin America into more explicit dialogue with the experience of Christians in former communist countries. He is also a member of the Catholic Theological Association (GB), and has participated in its European meetings, as well as networks of Jesuit theologians. 

Fr Michael’s approach to Political Theology is shaped to a large degree by the way that both European political theology and Latin American liberation theology have had to acknowledge a new cultural context, one that is 'postmodern', 'post-Marxist', etc. What does a responsible Christian political commitment look like in such an uncertain setting? He is also keen to explore culture and literature, rather than philosophy, as a distinctive and vital approach to theological questions. He is therefore interested in issues arising from hermeneutics (theory of interpretation), and narrative and dramatic styles of theology.


The final talk in the series on "The Ten Commandments: do they still matter?" looked at these and other questions on moral theology and their relevance to the contemporary social life.


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Faith Matters Series
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