The teaching staff of Mater Ecclesiae College, based at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, gathered on Wednesday 22nd September, to make their Profession of Faith and to take an Oath of Fidelity in the presence of Bishop John Sherrington, the Chair of the Governing Body.
In a homily given at the ceremony, Bishop Sherrington said that Mater Ecclesiae 'is called to make a rich contribution to the intellectual and spiritual life of the Church in this country'.
He expressed the 'hope of the Governing Body of Mater Ecclesiae is that Mater Ecclesiae will contribute this missionary dynamic of "going forth" to her intellectual and spiritual studies so that all those who are awarded their degrees may be ready to embark upon a spirit-filled evangelization as missionary disciples in the life of the Church and the world.'
'Mater Ecclesiae College,' he added, 'can be a missionary leaven in the midst of Third Level Education so that the ecclesiastical sciences and the other sciences enter into fruitful dialogue for the good and in the discovery of the meaning of God’s revelation.'
Mater Ecclesiae is the successor to the Bellarmine Institute that was a part of Heythrop College in London University. As a Pontifical Institute, its degrees are recognised by the Holy See. Its staff therefore are asked to make this formal Profession of Faith and declaration of fidelity. It is a way of affirming commitment to the integrity of the Institute.
Graduates of the Institute, will, once they have acquired higher degrees, namely licenses, the equivalent of an MA, or doctorate, be qualified to teach in the many other pontifical institutes, Catholic universities and colleges around the world.
As a result of the relationship with St Mary’s University, graduates will also receive a civil degree.
At Mater Ecclesiae, to echo the words of St John Henry Newman, there is no question of Church authorities ‘confining, distorting, and stunting the growth of the intellect by ecclesiastical supervision’. Nor is there any thought of compromise, ‘as if religion must give up something, and science something’. Intellectual study and religious commitment should enjoy equal freedom and be partners in their endeavours.
The Theological and Philosophical faculties at Mater Ecclesiae College opened at its new home at St Mary’s University, Twickenham on on the 1st October 2019.
Photo: Bishop John Sherrington with teaching staff of Mater Ecclesiae College (St Mary's University)