The teaching staff of Mater Ecclesiae College, based at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, gathered on Wednesday afternoon, 22 September, to make their Profession of Faith and to take an Oath of Fidelity in the presence of Bishop John Sherrington, the Chair of the Governing Body.
Mater Ecclesiae is the successor to the Bellarmine Institute that was a part of Heythrop College in London University, and, as a Pontifical Institute, its degrees are recognised by the Holy See.
Its staff, therefore, as is customary, are asked to make this formal Profession of Faith and declaration of fidelity. As with all such professions and oaths, it is a way of affirming commitment to the integrity of the Institute.
Graduates of the Institute, lay as well as clerical, women as well as men, whether Christian or not, whether from other faith traditions or from none, will, once they have acquired higher degrees, namely licenses, the equivalent of an M.A., or doctorates, be qualified to teach in the many other pontifical institutes, Catholic universities and colleges, to be found around the world. There are hundreds in the United States alone.
Besides receiving an ecclesiastical degree, because of the relationship with St Mary’s, which is a Catholic University, graduates also receive a civil degree. What Mater Ecclesiae has to offer is enhanced by taking place in a university setting.
At Mater Ecclesiae, to echo the words of John Henry Newman many years ago, there is no question of Church authorities ‘confining, distorting, and stunting the growth of the intellect by ecclesiastical supervision’. Nor is there any thought of compromise, ‘as if religion must give up something, and science something’. Intellectual study and religious commitment should enjoy equal freedom and be partners in their endeavours.
The Theological and Philosophical faculties at Mater Ecclesiae College opened at its new home at St Mary’s University, Twickenham on on the 1 October 2019.