Statues – should they stay or should they go?

Statues - should they stay or should they go

In the late 1970s I lived in rooms in Oriel College, Oxford, a few metres from the infamous statue of Cecil Rhodes in the city’s High Street. I don’t recall the statue, or the smaller ones also on the wall (including Cardinal William Allen) ever being discussed. Rhodes was only at Oriel for one term in 1873, leaving a lot of money to the college and to the university, partly for the scholarships bearing his name. What does Catholic Social Teaching have to say about the statue’s future, and that of similar monuments?


Elinor Ostrom and Catholic social thought

Elinor Ostrom

In this post, Philip Booth discusses how the language we use in debates can get in the way of agreement and how Catholics interested in environmental issues should study the work of Elinor Ostrom for inspiration.

In the last blogpost on this site, I wrote about the importance of private property rights for environmental conservation. But there is more to this debate. And sometimes semantics gets in the way of reaching a common understanding on these issues. My garden, for example, is private property and nobody would doubt that. However, a community of monks might care for their (possibly very large) grounds, farm, gardens, bee hives, and so on by holding it in common – though they still hold it privately in common. Indeed, property titles can be quite complex. Under English law, there will sometimes be restrictive covenants, nested leaseholder and freeholder arrangements and property held under trust (including by charities such as the National Trust) and many of these devices will be designed to ensure good outcomes when it comes to sustainability.


The Church, property rights and the environment

The Church, property rights and the environment

In this week’s post, Philip Booth discusses the papal encyclical Laudato Si, responding to Pope Francis’ desire for dialogue on the issues raised.

Bishop Robert Byrne of Hexham and Newcastle described Laudato Si, published five years ago next week, as a “prophetic document that has given a theological and spiritual framework to the environmental crisis facing our world”. An earlier post on this blog developed a similar point.


‘Dying well’ in the time of coronavirus


This article follows the same theme as last week’s article in a rather different context. The virtues of social justice and solidarity demand that we all play our part in ensuring that those who die experience a good death and have the support they need. Catholic organisations are working to ensure this in these difficult times, as are a range of other organisations. However, ultimately, when things return to normal, we know that, though we will learn from the use of technology during this difficult period, we still need human contact.


What next for Generation 4.0?

working with tech

It seems that England has moved from being a nation of shopkeepers, in Napoleon’s apocryphal phrase, to become a nation of broadcasters. The movement to online presentation and teaching and learning has, of course, taken place worldwide. In this week’s post, Isabel Capeloa Gil, Rector of the Catholic University of Portugal and President of the International Federation of Catholic Universities reflects on this move and the importance of personal relationships in the provision of higher education in a Catholic context.


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