Oldest Catholic university in U.K. establishes Pope Benedict XVI Center approved by the Vatican
St Mary’s University Twickenham, a Catholic teacher training institution has setup a “Benedict XVI Center" for research into religion and social sciences. The new center which has been approved by the Holy See also has a “Benedict XVI House", where a lay community made up of staff and full-time students live a secluded prayer-focused life which helps to build their spiritual growth.
St Mary’s University Twickenham, was founded in 1850 and it is generally acknowledged to be the oldest Catholic university in the United Kingdom.
On its website St Mary’s said the center was founded upon the conviction that interdisciplinary research, in which the sciences are brought into direct engagement with theology and ethics, is central to the life of a Catholic university (cf. Pope St John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 46).
It also said that the Center is an “international hub for research and engagement activities in the area of religion and the social sciences” (primarily economics, sociology, and political science).
The Pope Emeritus visited the university in 2010, leading a “Big Assembly" with 3,500 school children and meeting leaders of different religions.
The University approved the creation of the Center in 2015, the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict X VI’s historic visit to St Mary’s.