Skip to content Exit mobile menu

Professor Anthony Towey

CERRL was founded by Professor Anthony Towey, bringing together the work of the Aquinas Centre for Theological Literacy and the Centre for Research and Development in Catholic Education. To the great sadness of the St Mary's community, Anthony passed away in late June 2022. His legacy and original contribution will be upheld in an annual lecture in his honour and through CERRL in future. 

Anthony was a colleague we will never forget. He was fiercely passionate, always loyal to the Catholic faith, had a big heart and even bigger laugh. He has left an indelible imprint on the way we do Theology at St Mary’s, and on the hearts and minds of the countless students he taught here over the years.

Dr Jacob Philips, Director Institute of Theology and Liberal Arts at St Mary’s University

Following the completion of his PhD at the Gregorian University in Rome on the Eucharistic Thought of Thomas Aquinas, Anthony served as Academic Tutor at the Venerable English  College, and the Head of RE at Loreto College, Manchester, before joining St Mary’s as Head of Theology, Philosophy, and History.


More recently Anthony was the Director of the Centre for Catholic Education, Research and Religious Literacy, making a number of important contributions to academic and public life. Anthony was directly involved with the 2016 Department for Education A-Level and GCSE reforms and developed a new curriculum for AQA. Anthony also served as a member of the RE Commission convened by the Religious Education Council 2018, was an Ofqual subject expert, and regularly participated in the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Religious Education.

Anthony also played a large role in ecclesiastical life. He consulted for the Bishops’ Conference on Inter-Faith & Humanist Dialogue and was part of an academic group advising on the new Religious Education Curriculum Directory. He regularly hosted theological conferences at St Mary’s, spoke at events and retreats, and was editor of the Pastoral Review journal.

CERRL launch

CERRL was formally launched on the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, 27th September 2021.

Proceedings were opened by the Vice-Chancellor, Anthony McLaran, who linked the establishment of the Centre with a renewal of the University commitment to the educational service of all, in the best Catholic and Vincentian traditions. Then, staff and students from the Centre described their activities under headings of teaching, research, publications, innovations, and partnerships. Rt. Rev. Alan Williams, Higher Education liaison from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales then drew on his experience as a pupil, as a teacher, and as a Bishop to set the challenge for CERRL to shape the pedagogical landscape for the next generation. Finally, Paul Barber from the Catholic Education Service offered an insightful response to the keynote.