A Catholic University in the UK?

Thank you, Richard, for a most informative review, and Gavin O’Costa for what must be an insightful book. It’s hard to tell which of you (or neither) but there are at least two intriguing segues being played – I believe of fundamental practical and theoretical importance. One is between the activities of Christians in a Theology Department (a) when it is in an existing British University and (b) when it is the “servant queen” of a Christian University. Surely in both contexts the Christians should be praying together (and with academic Christian non-theologians?) and thereby and elsewise serving the Christian mediaeval ideal of a university, as realised (imperfectly of course) in UK HE. [Everybody please note that British Universities are NOT ‘secular’ in the general sense of institutionally anti-religious or at least a-religious: when Catholics say ‘secular university’, they mean one outside church authority.] Another segue is between a Christian University and a Catholic University. It would be better if Catholics, and Protestants, Orthodox, non-Christians, and others, stopped saying “Christian University” when they mean “Catholic University” (or “Anglican University”!). If the Catholic Church in Britain wants to found a Catholic University, they should call it that and get on with it. As Richard points out, newer UK Universities originating in (I believe non-Catholic) Christian foundations have recently shifted to the mediaeval ideal of a “uni”-“VERSITY” as Oxbridge did over a century ago. That is their choice, no doing of Government regulation or of devout anti-theists. Recognition of the title “university” in the UK has been considerably liberalised. Catholics should think very carefully though: do they wish to set a precedent for other religiously (or anti-religiously) particular universities in this country?