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Von Hügel Institute

for Critical Catholic Inquiry

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News Archive

last modified Jan 15, 2014 09:52 AM

VHI Director elected a Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts

Professor John Loughlin, Director of the Von Hugel Institute and Fellow of St Edmund's College, has been elected a Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. The European Academy of Sciences and Arts was founded in 1990 by Prof. Felix Unger, Cardinal Franz König † and Prof. Nikolaus Lobkowicz.

As an “independent knowledge pool”, the Academy aims “to debate and work on contemporary topics across disciplinary and national borders, for the good of those living and working in Europe”. The uniqueness of the Academy of Sciences and Arts lies in its ability to work across boundaries for the aesthetics of science.
The European Academy of Sciences and Arts now brings together over 1200 scientists and researchers, philosophers and artists from Europe, Asia and the USA, including 25 Nobel Prize winners. This has resulted in a networked ‘think tank’ on ethical and scientific values in a society that is increasingly fragmented. The European Academy of Sciences and Arts, based in Salzburg, focuses on three core areas, namely developing knowledge, disseminating scientific information and implementing major multi-national projects

Registration now open for the VHI international workshop on the Economic and Financial Crisis and the Human Person

The Von Hügel Institute (VHI) is holding a two day international workshop on 8-9 June to examine the relations between economy, ethics and religion in the light of the financial crisis which began in 2007.

New article by our research associate

Dr Sarada Chatterjee, who is working on the International Trafficking of human Organs Research Programme at the VHI and has worked extensively as a researcher on various developmental issues in India, has recently published a new article:

S. Banerjee, Impact of Poverty on the Lives of People living with HIV (PLHIV) in Balgopal - Bhatt (ed.) Social Work Response to Social Realities (Lucknow: New Royal Book Company, 2013), 166 - 208.

RUSI-VHI Lecture on Transnational Organised Crime and Security on 28 May in London

The RUSI JOURNAL and the VHI will host a series of lectures on transnational organised crime and security. The first lecture Strategic Responses to Organised Crime in Conflict-Affected Situations will be delivered by James Cockayne, international lawyer and strategist, on 28 May 2013 at RUSI, Whitehall, London.

Everyone welcome, please book you place online. More details may be found on the RUSI Website.

New book on regionalism and federalism by Professor John Loughlin

Professor Loughlin has recently published a new book Routledge Handbook of Regionalism & Federalism, available online.

Director of the VHI appointed to the Chaire Ganshof van der Meersch at the Université Libre de Bruxelles

Professor John Loughlin, Director of the Von Hügel Institute and a Fellow of St Edmund's College, has been appointed to the Chaire Ganshof van der Meersch at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) for the academic year 2013-14. The Chaire is endowed by the Fondation Wiener-Anspach as part of the Fondation’s support for academic exchanges between the ULB and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Professor Loughlin will pursue research on European federalism and the current financial crisis and also on the place of religion in public and political life.

Launch of VHI report in Parliament

The Von Hügel Institute will launch its new report examining the origins and implications of the of the Government’s “Big Society” programme in the context of Catholic Social Teaching on 24th April at a meeting in the House of Lords sponsored and chaired by Prof. Lord Alton of Liverpool, with all-party support. To order one or more copies please contact the VHI administrator. The report is also available online.

Christianity at the Crossroads on BBC Radio 4

Dr Anna Rowlands, catholic theologian and VHI research associate takes part in the BBC radio 4 debate Christianity at the Crossroads on the issues facing the new Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Chaired by John Humphrys. Panellists: Matthew Parris - Former Conservative MP, Anna Rowlands - Catholic theologian, Rev'd Canon Dr Sam Wells - Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Sarah Dunant - Author.

On the election of Pope Francis

It is with great joy that we have learned the news of the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis.

The new Pope comes with a wealth of practical experience in the field of Catholic Social Teaching as is evident from both his personal life-style and his activities in favour of the most marginalised sections of Argentinian society. He is a member of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, which has been at the forefront of advancing the Church’s preferential option for the poor since the 1970s. All Popes since John XXIII have, of course, continually preached this message but Pope Francis brings to Rome the experience of the great Catholic communities of Latin America where the majority of members of the Catholic Church now live.

Some of the press have remarked on the seeming ‘conservatism’ of the new Pope on issues of sexual ethics, following the line laid down by his immediate predecessors and his ‘progressive’ positions taken on behalf of the poor and marginalised. In fact, there is no contradiction here as Catholic Social Teaching is based on the absolute dignity of every single human person from the moment of natural conception to the moment of natural death but also interprets ‘life’ in the fullest sense of the social, political and economic conditions that are necessary for the full flourishing of the human person. It is a holistic position that rejects the reductionism, hedonism, and utilitarianism of many contemporary approaches.

The Holy Spirit has surely guided the Cardinals to make this inspired choice at this critical juncture of human society.

(Professor John Loughlin, VHI Director)

Which Path to Religious Freedom?

The Working Paper on Religious Freedom and International Affairs done by the VHI for the Caritas in Veritate Foundation is now available to download.

No Curia for old age: the radical act of papal resignation

Dr Sara Silvestri, a specialist in religion and politics and a Research Associate with the Von Hügel Institute, St Edmund’s College, examines the implications of the resignation of Benedict XVI for the institutional role of the pope and the future of the Catholic Church in this comment piece published on the University website.

Pope Benedict XVI's Resignation

The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI is an occasion of sadness for the Von Hügel Institute. We would like to acknowledge the great contribution this Pope has made to Catholic Social Teaching especially in his great encyclical Caritas in Veritate and other writings.

At the centre of Pope Benedict's vision was an awareness of the absolute dignity of every single human being: a dignity that derives from the fact of his being made in the image and likeness of God and also because of his vocation to share in God's own life for all eternity. If he sometimes seemed to have a negative and pessimistic of contemporary society in the eyes of many westerners, this was because he was saying 'no' to what he perceived as threats to this absolute dignity only in order to say a bigger 'yes' to everything that fulfils and enhances the human person. According to this integral Christian humanism, the struggle for justice is a struggle that seeks to restore the full humanity in all its dimensions to every single human person but especially to those who are most marginalized and excluded from society itself.

We wish Pope Benedict XVI a long and contented retirement in the company of the Lord.

Visiting Fellow


The VHI would like to welcome Dr Bernard Laurent. Dr Laurent is an economist, a lecturer at the EMLYON Business School and a visiting Fellow at St Edmund's College. He represents the French Christian Trade Union (C.F.T.C.) on the board and on the Scientific Committee of I.R.E.S., a research center dedicated to French Trade Unions. He is working on the complex relationship between Catholic Social Teaching and the market economy. His current research focuses on the appropriate application of the main features of Catholic Social Teaching in world affairs. He is the author of L'enseignement social de l'Eglise et l'économie de marché (Parole et Silence, 2007).

"What is the role of religion in 21st century politics?" - Trinity Politics Panel on 23rd January



The event is organised by the Trinity Politics Society and speakers include Prof John Loughlin (University of Cambridge - VHI Director), Professor Jeff Haynes (London Met), Dr Andrew Preston (University of Cambridge), Dr Sara Silvestri (City University London). Venue: the Old Combination Room at Trinity College in Cambridge on Wednesday 23rd January at 19.30. Entrance is free and open to all.

University Sermon by Dr Anna Rowlands on Sunday 3rd February 2013



Dr Anna Rowlands has been appointed to preach before the University on Sunday 3rd February 2013 in Great St Mary's Church. Dr Anna Rowlands, of Girton College, is a Research Associates at the Von Hügel Institute and a Lecturer in Theology and Ministry at King’s College, London, and the former Director of Studies at The Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Cambridge.

University Sermons are delivered in Great St Mary’s, the University Church, at 11.15 a.m. on the Sundays stated. The Congregation are invited to take refreshments with the Preacher at Michaelhouse after each Sermon. For more information Preachers before the University 2012–13: Notice


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