A podcast on how to return Church thought to public debate is now available, with episodes featuring contributions from a former government minister, Catholic university leaders and internationally distinguished academics.
Beyond The Dark Clouds is hosted by Leeds Trinity University, one of four Catholic universities in England, and is centred around justice in contested issues such as law enforcement, economics, spirituality, the arts and more.
Episodes include former Labour government Trade and Industry, and Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs minister, Sir John Battle discussing the relevance of a Catholic university in the secular world. Leadership and the future of Catholic higher education is considered by Anthony McClaran, Vice-Chancellor St Mary’s University.
Professor Nicolas Vergier of the Institut Catholique de Paris and International Federation of Catholic Universities addresses the purpose of Catholic universities. Justice in policing is the theme undertaken by Professor Tobias Winright of St Patrick's Pontifical University, in Maynooth, Ireland.
Dr Ann Marie Mealey, Director of Catholic Mission at Leeds Trinity, speaks about the relevance of Catholic Social Teaching for debate in the public square and higher education sector. She explains that education for hope is the key theme for the series, in seeking to demonstrate how Catholic education and Catholic intellectual tradition can offer hope to a fractured world.
Other subjects for discussion include universities renewing a sense of purpose in students; faith and conversion in the works of Virginia Woolf; spirituality and art, as well as the need for a new narrative of faith in society.
An excellent lecture on spiritual friendship in relation to the Synod, given by internationally respected scholar and author on Christian education, Professor John Sullivan, can help listeners to consider the route to dialogue in a period of listening in the Church.
Pope Francis in his 2020 encyclical Fratelli Tutti (on fraternity and social friendship) refers to ‘dark clouds over a closed world’, which inspired the podcast’s title.
Beyond The Dark Clouds is hosted and produced by Dr Ann Marie Mealey, with help from the university’s Senior Lecturer in Journalism, Darren Harper.
Listen to Beyond The Dark Clouds on Spotify and other platforms.