Director of the Pope Benedict XVI Centre in London and Professor of Theology and the Sociology of Religion at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Prof Stephen Bullivant, has been awarded a visiting research fellowship at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford.
Blackfriars, founded by the Dominican Order, is one of Oxford
University’s three Catholic Permanent Private Halls.
An article on the
St Mary’s University website states that Professor Bullivant’s appointment will span Oxford’s Hilary and Trinity terms,
from January to July 2017.
During this time, Professor Bullivant will advance a number of
research projects. These include a statistical survey of the British
‘nonreligious’ population and an exploration of moral and social
attitudes among Catholics in South Africa.
He will also continue work on a new book, which has the provisional title Mass Exodus: Catholic Disaffiliation since Vatican II.
Professor Bullivant will still be based at St Mary’s, but will
visit Blackfriars regularly. He will also present some of his research
at a seminar in Oxford next summer.
Professor Bullivant is an award-winning scholar with a wide range of
interests, including the social-scientific study of religion and
atheism/secularity. His books include The Trinity: How Not to Be a Heretic, Faith and Unbelief, and The Salvation of Atheists and Catholic Dogmatic Theology. He has also co-edited a number of books, including The Oxford Handbook of Atheism.
Speaking about his appointment, Professor Bullivant is quoted on the
St Mary’s website as saying: “I have a long, informal association with
Blackfriars, dating back to visiting while an undergraduate elsewhere at
the University of Oxford. Indeed, the people, liturgies, and ideas I
encountered there are a large part of why and how I ended up as both a
Catholic and a theologian. I still have many friends at Blackfriars,
including some St Mary’s alumni, so I feel immensely grateful and
honoured to have this opportunity to reconnect, on a more formal
footing, with Blackfriars and its remarkable academic community.”
St Mary’s University officially opened the Benedict XVI Centre for
Religion and Society on 5 May. Speaking at the time, Professor Bullivant
said the centre would “bring the riches of the Catholic tradition of
Catholic social thought, the riches of Catholic teaching on faith and
reason, into the national conversation.”
The centre is described on its
webpage as “an international hub for research and engagement activities
in the area of religion and the social sciences (primarily economics,
sociology, and political science)” and brings together the various
aspects of research on the university campus “while fostering new
projects in collaboration with external partners, both individual and
The first report from the Centre’s Catholic Research Forum
initiative, ‘Contemporary Catholicism in England and Wales: A
Statistical Report Based on Recent British Social Attitudes Data’, by
Prof Stephen Bullivant, was released last summer.