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St Mary's Launches the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society

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St Mary’s University, Twickenham officially opened the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society on the 5th May. The opening ceremony on campus at St Mary’s included an address from Fr Friedrich Bechina, Undersecretary, Congregation for Catholic Education, Holy See, who gave the Centre his blessing and said the strong link between the Holy See and St Mary’s has been strengthened further by the establishment of the Centre. St Mary’s Pro-Vice Chancellor Ruth Kelly welcomed attending guests and paid tribute to Fr Friedrich and Benedict XVI Centre Director Dr Stephen Bullivant who followed with an address about the Centre itself. The Benedict XVI Centre will serve as an international hub for research and engagement activities in religion and social sciences. Current collaborative research projects include 'The Scientific Study of Non-religious Belief', in partnership with UCL, Coventry, and Queen's Belfast (funded by the John Templeton Foundation); and 'Humanae Vitae at 50', a launch conference for which was held at Ave Maria University, Florida, earlier this year. The first report from the Centre's 'Catholic Research Forum' initiative, Contemporary Catholicism in England and Wales: A Statistical Report Based on Recent British Social Attitudes Data, by Dr Stephen Bullivant, will be released later this month. The report will be debated at an event in Westminster on the 24th May by an expert panel including Jon Cruddas MP, Dagenham and Rainham and Dr Siobhan McAndrew, Bristol University. The University approved the creation of the Centre in 2015, the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's historic visit to St Mary's.
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