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Pia Matthews

Senior Lecturer - MA Bioethics and Medical Law

About Research


Pia Matthews is a senior lecturer at St Mary’s, a faculty member of the Mater Ecclesiae College, and Director of Quality Assurance and Curriculum Development at Allen Hall Seminary Chelsea. She has a BA/MA in Law from Cambridge University, a BTh (Theology) from St John’s Seminary Wonersh (Surrey University), and an MA in Bioethics from St Mary’s. Her PhD doctorate explored the notion of the person in patristic theology and philosophy, applying insights from Trinitarian theology and Christology to contemporary issues concerning the person in bioethics.

Currently Pia teaches on the MA Bioethics and Medical Law programme, the BA programme and the Catholic Social Teaching programme at St Mary’s. She also teaches courses on Bioethics and on Marriage and Family at Allen Hall Seminary. In 2015 Pia was appointed an expert to the XIV Ordinary General Assembly Synod of Bishops by Pope Francis.

She has also spoken at events organised by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation. She has represented the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales at conferences organised by the Dicastery for Laity and Family Life in Rome. Pia is a member of CBET and InSpiRe, and a governor of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre.


Research profile

Pia’s research interests include the vocation, contribution and spirituality of people with disabilities, particularly profound intellectual disability; vocation, spirituality and care for elderly people; spirituality and dementia; ethics in healthcare; care and spirituality for the dying and bereaved; theological and philosophical anthropology; Catholic Social Teaching; faith in the public square; marriage and family life.


  • Pope John Paul II and the Apparently ‘Non-acting’ Person Leominster: Gracewing, 2013
  • God’s Wild Flowers: Saints with Disabilities Leominster: Gracewing, 2016
  • Ethical Questions in Healthcare Chaplaincy London: Jessica Kingsley, 2018
  • Discerning Persons Washington: Franciscan University Press, 2020
  • Marriage, Family and the Church: A Boat with New Nets Leominster: Gracewing, 2022
  • Accompanying People Living With Dementia, Carers, Clergy and Communities: A Practical, Ethical and Spiritual Guide (with Joe Cortis) (forthcoming 2022)

Book Chapter

  • ‘Challenging Prometheus’, in Theology and Power: International Perspectives, edited by S. Bullivant et al New York: Paulist Press, 2016
  • ‘La Vita In Cristo (Life In Christ)’, in Catechesi e persone con disabilita,edited by Pontificio Consiglio per la Promozione della Nuova Evangelizzazione (Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation) Milan: San Paolo, 2018


  • Fertility and Infertility Treatment London: CTS, 2017
  • Holy Families: The Joy of Love, an Explanation of Amoris Laetitia(co-authored with Bishop John Sherrington and Bishop John Wilson) Diocese of Westminster 2018


  • ‘Participation and the Profoundly Disabled: Being Engaged - A Theological Approach’, Journal of Religion, Disability and Health17/4 2013
  • ‘Communication Strategies and Intensive Interaction Therapy Meet the Theology of the Body: Bioethics in Dialogue with People with Profound Disabilities’ The New Bioethics19/2 2013
  • ‘The wonder of me: disability and Pope St John Paul II’s Theology of the Body’ Cultures and Faith XXIV N.3 (Pontifical Council for Culture) 2016
  • ‘End of life care: what is important for me and for us.’ Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 2016
  • ‘Missionary Disciples with Intellectual Disabilities’ The Pastoral ReviewMay-June 2018
  • ‘Humanae vitae: a legacy’ The Pastoral ReviewJuly-August 2018
  • ‘Changing the conversation: from suffering with dementia through dementia as a disability rights issue to a deeper theological perspective’ Journal of Disability and Religion 23/2 2019
  • ‘Ethics as good news: how healthcare ethics serves life’ The Pastoral Review July/August/September 2019
  • ‘Being disabled and disability theology: insights from and for Catholic social teaching’ Journal of Catholic Social Thought2019
  • ‘Complementary understandings of availability: Jean Vanier in conversation with the philosophers Emanuel Levinas and Gabriel Marcel’ Journal of Disability and Religion 2020 24/2
  • Briefing Paper: Anscombe Bioethics Centre Difficult learning: covid-19 and adults with learning disabilities or autism May 2020

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