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Centre for Catholic Studies



Congratulations to CCS members Stefano Cracolici and Giles Gasper

We are delighted to report that CCS members Stefano Cracolici and Giles Gasper have each been promoted to Chair (Professor).

(16 Jul 2018) » More about this news

First Agreed Statement from ARCIC III (The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, Phase 3)

Following seven years of work, the first ‘Agreed Statement’ (a 68-page document) to emerge from ARCIC III, Walking Together on the Way: Learning to Be the Church – Local, Regional, Universal, has gone live. It can be read here.

In addition to the document itself, there is also an excellent Official Commentary on the document available on the website of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, written by the highly-regarded Australian theologian, Orm Rush - see here.

The Anglican Communion Office website, in turn, features an Anglican Commentary on the document, written by the Revd Canon Dr James Hawkey, outgoing Dean of Clare College, Cambridge and incoming Canon Theologian at Westminster Abbey - see here.

(3 Jul 2018) » More about this news item

Call for Papers: 'From Rebellion to Reconciliation: Anglican-Catholic Relations from 1569 to the Present - Regional, National, and International Perspectives'

2019 marks the 450th anniversary of The Northern Rebellion (or Rising of the Northern Earls), an event tied to the excommunication of Queen Elizabeth I by Pope Pius V in 1570, and arguably the decisive rupture between the Church of England and the Catholic Church in communion with the Bishop of Rome. The city, cathedral and county of Durham was at the centre of the uprising of 1569. However, in recent decades Durham has become associated with dialogue and collaboration between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church, a cause strongly identified with Archbishop Michael Ramsey, Bishop of Durham from 1952 to 1956.

To mark the 450th anniversary of the Rising, Durham University’s Michael Ramsey Centre for Anglican Studies and its Centre for Catholic Studies, in collaboration with Durham Cathedral, Ushaw College and Palace Green Library, are organising a three-day, multi-disciplinary international conference to consider and review all aspects of Anglican-Catholic relations in the four and a half centuries since 1569, and the direction of this relationship in the twenty-first century. The conference will take place on 17-19 September 2019 at Durham University, UK.

(21 Jun 2018) » More about this call for papers

Thought for the Day for Refugee Week 2018

Anna Rowlands, St Hilda Chair of Catholic Social Thought and Practice at the CCS, has delivered a BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day for Refugee Week 2018. After US Attorney General Jeff Sessions invoked scripture to justify separating children and parents at the US border, Dr Rowlands reflects on the biblical passage in question. You can listen to/read Dr Rowlands' contribution here.

(18 Jun 2018)

CCS member Stefano Cracolici to give Newman Circle talk

Dr Stefano Cracolici (Durham University) will give a talk on 'Mater admirabilis: The Birth of a Global Sacred Icon' on Wednesday 25 April 2018 in Middlesbrough Cathedral Hall, 7.45pm (coffee/tea from 7.30pm). The talk is organsied by the Cleveland Newman Circle.


(15 Jan 2018) » More about this talk

Postgraduate Scholarships and Bursaries 2018-19

The Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University is pleased to announce the Postgraduate
Scholarships and Bursaries available for 2018/19.

More details

(30 Oct 2017)

An evening with Roy Hattersley on his new book 'The Catholics'

Durham University is to present an evening with Roy Hattersley, a prolific writer and former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, on Monday 16 October.

Roy Hattersley will discuss his new book The Catholics: The Church and its People in Britain and Ireland, from the Reformation to the Present Day.

(9 Oct 2017) » More about this event

Reformation Rebels: The surprising histories of Benedictine monks in exile

Monks in Motion

Sixteenth and seventeenth century Benedictine monks refused abstinence, died in duels, went off to war and spread illegal Catholic doctrine, a new study has revealed. The Monks in Motion project, led by Dr James Kelly of the Department of Theology and Religion, has brought together records of English and Welsh Benedictine monks exiled in Europe in a first-of-its-kind searchable database and uncovered some of their remarkable histories

(14 Sep 2017) » More about this news item

Registration open for conference on Suffering, Diminishment and the Christian Life

Registration and the call for short papers is open for this conference, taking place on 8-10 January 2018 at Ushaw College, Durham, UK.

(17 Aug 2017) » More about this conference

Dr Edward Epsen appointed as Teaching Fellow at King's College London

Congratulations to Dr Edward Epsen, recent PhD student at the Centre for Catholic Studies (CCS), who has been appointed as Teaching Fellow in Systematic and Philosophical Theology at King’s College London.

(27 Jul 2017) » More about Edward's reflections on his time at the CCS and his next step

Rev. Dr Gabrielle Thomas appointed to new project on ‘Ecclesial Learning about Women and the English Churches through Receptive Ecumenism’

The Rev. Dr Gabrielle Thomas

The Centre for Catholic Studies within the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University, in partnership with the Trust of the National Board of Catholic Women (NBCW) and the Caulfield Foundation, is pleased to announce the appointment of the Rev. Dr Gabrielle Thomas to a two year post-doctoral position in ‘Ecclesial Learning about Women and the English Churches through Receptive Ecumenism.’

Gabrielle Thomas, an ordained priest in the Church of England, recently completed her doctorate at the University of Nottingham on the theological anthropology of Gregory Nazianzen. Over the course of two years, she will be working closely with NBCW-sponsored regional ecumenical discussion groups, together with interviewing key individuals, in order to explore, using the methodology of receptive ecumenism, the diverse experiences women have of participating and ministering within the UK churches, the difficulties and challenges which arise, and what fruitful learning might occur across the traditions. She will also begin a complementary longer-term personal research project, focussed on how women may be both image of God and image of Christ according to the thought of Augustine of Hippo and Gregory of Nazianzus. 

(24 Jul 2017) » More about this appointment

Dr Anna Rowlands announced as the St Hilda Associate Professor of Catholic Social Thought and Practice

We are delighted to announce Dr Anna Rowlands as the St Hilda Associate Professor of Catholic Social Thought and Practice.

Dr Rowlands’ appointment in the University’s Department of Theology and Religion will take effect in September 2017.

(4 Jul 2017) » More about this new appointment

Registration now open for EMBIC III

Registration is now open for the third biennial conference Early Modern British and Irish Catholicism conference, The conference, entitled Early Modern Orders and Disorders: Religious Orders and British and Irish Catholicism, will take place at University of Notre Dame’s London Gateway on 28-30 June 2017.

More information

(16 May 2017)

International Conference: Catholicism, Literature, and the Arts: 1850 to the Present

Registration is now open for this conference, which will take place on 5-7 July 2017 in Durham, UK.

This conference is organised by the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University and Ushaw College and is supported by the Centre for Poetry and Poetics and the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture at Durham University, with co-sponsoring assistance from The Tablet, The Pastoral Review and the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain.

The conference will bring together leading scholars to address key questions in the study of Catholic art and writing, including the question of whether there is a distinctive tradition of ‘Catholic literature’. Among the main topics and themes of the conference are Catholic memoir and autobiography; Catholic fiction and poetry; Catholic readership; journalism; publishers and archives; and the visual arts. The conference will include film, music, and the visual arts, as well as literature. It will also draw on works of art and literature closely associated with Ushaw College.

(26 Apr 2017) » More about this conference

Call for Papers: Suffering, Diminishment and the Christian Life

Conference: January 8-10, 2018 at Ushaw College, Durham, UK

Is love intrinsically linked to suffering? Are suffering, diminishment and loss on some fundamental level good? This is the direction in which recent theological emphases on vulnerability and kenosis might seem to point. In this conference we will seek to bring the question of the status and meaning of suffering in Christian life and Christian theology into focus, and to reflect on it from the perspectives of biblical, historical, pastoral, political and systematic theology.

Send abstracts of between 200-300 words for 20-minute papers to Rachel Davies at by June 15, 2017.

(25 Apr 2017) » More about this call for papers

Refugee Hosts project: First newsletter now available

The four year AHRC-ESRC funded Refugee Hosts project (2016-2020), which is investigating local community experiences of and responses to conflict induced displacement from Syria: views from Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, is delighted to announce the release of our first newsletter. You can read and download the newsletter on the project's website

(23 Apr 2017) » More about this project

Life Amid Loss: What I Learned from the Sisters of La Retraite

Professor Karen Kilby (Bede Chair of Catholic Theology with the CCS) reflects on her collaboration with the Sisters of La Retraite in a new Commonweal article, available here.

(23 Feb 2017)

Postgraduate Study Day in Catholic Theology and Catholic Studies

Friday 2 June 2017 at Durham University

The CCS Postgraduate Study Day is a chance for postgraduates working in any aspect of contemporary Catholic theology and/or Catholic studies to meet and present their research in a collegial environment. Postgraduates are invited to submit proposals (title and 100-200 word abstract) for 20 minute papers on any area relevant to Catholic theology/Catholic studies, including constructive, practical, pastoral or political theology, Catholic Social Thought and Practice, the history of Catholicism, Catholicism, literature and the arts, and the social-scientific study of Catholicism. The deadline for submission of proposals is 1 April 2017. The deadline to book a place at the day is 9 May 2017.


(13 Feb 2017) » More about the Postgraduate Study Day

Durham University to develop new international residential research library at Ushaw College

A new international residential research library, the only one of its kind in the UK, is to be developed at Ushaw College, in a £2 million project led by Durham University.

It is intended that leading researchers from around the world will visit Ushaw to study and work with its outstanding collections, along with those of Durham Cathedral and the University’s Palace Green Library, enhancing the thriving scholarly community that already exists in and around Durham City.

Further information

(3 Feb 2017)

Public Lecture on the Reform of Company Law

Industry More Content, Finance Less Proud: A fresh perspective and ethical grounding for the reform of company law

Dr Mark Hayes (St Hilda Reader Emeritus, Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham University)

Monday 21st November, 7pm to 9pm
at CAFOD, Pavilion, Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7JB 

To book a place, please email Jane Lidstone at

(15 Nov 2016) » More about this public lecture

New monograph by Dr Nicole Reinhardt

"Voices of Conscience: Royal Confessors and Political Counsel in Seventeenth-Century Spain and France"

Oxford University Press


(18 Oct 2016) » More about this monograph

50 Years of Walking Together in Faith; Exploring New Directions in Anglican-Roman Catholic Relations

On Wednesday 5 October 2016, Prof Paul Murray and Dr Anna Rowlands will speak at a symposium of 36 Catholic and Anglican bishops, entitled '50 years of walking together in faith; exploring new directions in Anglican-Roman Catholic relations'.

(3 Oct 2016) » More about this symposium

Centre for Catholic Studies Annual Report

The latest Centre for Catholic Studies Annual Report (to March 2016) is available here.

(23 Jun 2016)

History of Catholicism Alive at Durham University

To fully understand the English Catholic martyrs, they must be re-contextualized in the era in which they lived.

This was the message of Professor Michael Questier speaking at Ushaw College on Catholic martyrdom in late Elizabethan England. In his lecture, which was part of the Ushaw lectures series organised by Durham University’s Centre for Catholic Studies in the Department of Theology and Religion, Professor Questier suggested that portraying the martyrs in a white-washed way separated them from the nation’s history of which they are very much a part.

(23 May 2016) » More about History of Catholicism Alive at Durham University

Paschal Mercy and the Power of Belief

Rachel Davies, a PhD student at the Centre for Catholic Studies, has had an article published in the Tablet.

The mercy of God and the rising and dying of Christ are two of the central mysteries of the Christian faith. Rachel Davies explores how one mystery might illuminate the other.

The article can be found here. (Please note that, to access the full article, you might be asked to register with the Tablet website. This is free of charge.)

(23 May 2016)

The Sepulchrine Research Associate

Hannah Thomas

The Department of Theology and Religion, in partnership with the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre, is pleased to announce the award of the newly established Sepulchrine Research Associate—a 21-month Postdoctoral Fellowship in Early Modern English Catholicism (1500-1800) to Hannah Thomas, archivist and PhD candidate at Swansea University.

(29 Sep 2014) » More about The Sepulchrine Research Associate

St Hilda Chair in Catholic Social Thought and Practice: Dr Mark Hayes confirmed as inaugural appointee

Dr Mark Hayes

The Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University, within which the Centre for Catholic Studies (CCS) is situated, and Durham University Business School are delighted to announce the concurrent appointment of Dr Mark Hayes as the inaugural holder of the St Hilda Chair in Catholic Social Thought and Practice. Dr Hayes’ appointment will begin in September 2014, when he will be installed as a Reader of Durham University.

(24 Jun 2014) » More about St Hilda Chair in Catholic Social Thought and Practice: Dr Mark Hayes confirmed as inaugural appointee