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About the Centre

The Benedict XVI Centre is an international hub for research and engagement activities in the area of religion and the social sciences (primarily economics, sociology, and political science). A joint initiative between St Mary’s University and the University of Notre Dame Australia, it has bases in London and Sydney.

It is founded upon the conviction that interdisciplinary research, in which the sciences are brought into direct engagement with theology and ethics, is central to the life of a Catholic university (cf. Pope St John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 46).

Accordingly, the Centre draws together existing strands of research on campus, while fostering new projects in collaboration with external partners, both individual and institutional.

Through major publications, media activity, regular events and attracting research students, we seek to make a major contribution to academic, ecclesial, and public debates concerning the place of religion (and nonreligion) within contemporary societies.

The Centre’s research has been supported by grants from (among others) the John Templeton Foundation, Porticus UK, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the International Network for Science and Belief in Society, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales, the Apostleship of the Sea, the St Barnabas Society, and CAFOD.  

The Centre’s research has been featured frequently in the media, including by the BBC, Sky News, NBC, The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Economist, The Spectator, Der Spiegel, La Croix, Il Foglio, and Grazia.

History of the Centre

The University approved the creation of the Centre in 2015, the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's historic visit to St Mary's.

The late Pope Emeritus was for many years been a leading contributor to both public and academic debates surrounding the topic 'religion and society', not least with his famous 2004 dialogue with Jürgen Habermas, and his 2010 address in Westminster Hall.

In early 2016, we were honoured to receive confirmation via the Papal Nuncio, HE Archbishop Mennini, that the Holy See's Secretariat of State had approved our naming the Centre in honour of the Pope Emeritus.

Since 2021, the Centre is  run as a collaborative endeavour between St Mary’s and the University of Notre Dame Australia. The Centre’s Director, Prof. Stephen Bullivant, holds a dual appointment at both.