Gloria Dei Vivens Homo – The glory of God is a fully alive human being.
After secondary education at Cotton College, North Staffs, he went to Oscott College Birmingham (1971-3) for his philosophical and initial theological studies for ministry. Then to the Gregorian University in Rome (1973-78) for his B.Th and STL. In 1977 he was invited to Cambridge as an Ecumenical Scholar at the Divinity School, living at Westcott House. After initial Pastoral work in Christ the King Parish, Kingstanding, Birmingham, he was appointed as Senior Lecturer in Theology at Oscott College (1979-1999). Then in 1999 he was appointed as chaplain and lecturer at Newman. He became Senior Lecturer in 2001 and Emeritus Fellow in Christian theology in 2018.
He has been external examiner at Leeds Trinity, Heythrop College of the University of London,
St. Mary’s University, University of Wales and the University of Leicester. These posts involved examining at BA, MA, MPhil and PhD levels. He had a sabbatical as Assistant Professor at the Gregorian University in 1988 doing doctoral research with Prof.G. O’Collins on the Theology of Hope. Between 2008 to 2012 he researched the changing role of Scripture in the lives of Catholic Worker Activists at the Urban Theology Unit, Sheffield with Dr. John Vincent.
Membership of Committees
2015- 2017 Theological Consultant to Caritas Europa
2010- 2016 Consultant to CSAN
2004-2016 Member of Cafod’s Theology Reference Group
2002-2003 Vice President of the European Association of Catholic Theology,
2000-2002 President of Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain
1995-2002 Theology Committee Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales
2017 to present Member of Pax Christi Theology Group
2005- 2007 Advisor to Birmingham Education Dept. SACRE Committee.
1996-1999 Birmingham Archdiocesan In-Service Committee. Founding Chair
Four years research, in collaboration with, Dr. John Vincent at the Urban Theology Unit in Sheffield, on the changing use of the Scriptures in radical Christian movements in particular the Young Christian Workers and the other Cardijn Movements.
Long-term theological project reflecting on changing patterns of Work. This is the fruit of collaboration with Christian Worker activists in Britain and abroad for nearly twenty years e.g he co-authored the 2006 Reclaiming Time: Report from the Human Life and Work in the 21st Century Enquiry Programme, London: MCW Publications
Research on applied ecclesiology funded by the Derwent Consultancy, an international Trust for the promotion of active lay participation in the Churches. Published as “Communio Models of Church: Rhetoric or Reality?” 2002 by Ashgate in a volume entitled: Continuing the Conversation: Authority in the Catholic Church and also “Authority as Service in Communion”, in Timms and Wilson, Governance and Authority in the Roman Catholic Church: Beginning a Conversation, SPCK 2000.
More recently he has explored the tension involved between the theologian faithful to the greater tradition, above all the scriptures, and the requirements of ecclesiastical communities, e.g. in “Christian Identity in the Face of Globalisation” pp. 228-244, of New Blackfriars, Vol. 86, March 2005 and in “The Church Theologian and the Kingdom of God: An uneasy relationship” pp.232-245 in Mannion, G. (ed.) (2008) Church and Religious Other, Edinburgh: T & T Clark. He hasalso taken part in a number of conferences on the present state of Practical and Pastoral theology and co-delivered the key-note address, at the Heythrop Pastoral Theology Conference 2009, with Professor Stephen Pattison on the state of Pastoral Theology in Ireland and Britain, since reworked and co-authored with Dr. Gemma Simmonds as “Pastoral and Practical Theology in Britain and Ireland – a Catholic Perspective” pp. 26-44 of Sweeney, Simmonds, and Lonsdale (eds.) (2010) Keeping Faith in Practice – Aspects of Catholic Pastoral Theology, London: SCM. In response to work with a variety of Lay Christian Movements (Pax, Christi, the Grail, the Newman Association) he has used the figure of John Henry Newman to explore the effect of only drawing on partial sections of the tradition when imagining and organising church, “John Henry Newman’s disturbing memory of the Church” pp. 10-15 of The Pastoral Review, Vol. 6, issue 5, September 2010. His keynote address to the 2011 CTA Conference has been published as “Catholic social Teaching and the Gospel”, New Blackfriars, Vol. 92, January, 2012
Undergraduate courses in: classical Christian Philosophy and Theology, Renaissance Philosophy and Reformation Thought, Modern Theology and Philosophy in Dialogue, the English Cathedrals and the Christian Spiritual Traditions, Mysticism in the World Religions.
MA courses on: Theological Schools and Systems and on Theological and Philosophical Hermeneutics.
A founder of the Movement of Christian Workers and an active member for 30 years. His explores the inter-relationship between theology and everyday life and develops radical readings of the Bible with Christian activists.
Program Leader in Post- Graduate Theology from 1999 to 2008.
Membership of Professional Organisations
Member of the Catholic theological Association of GB, the European Association of Catholic Theologians, the British and Irish Association of Practical theology and the Society for the Study of Theology.
2008 to 2017 “The Pastoral Review” Editorial Board Member
1992-1995 “The Sower” A Journal of Catechetics. Editorial Board Member
1985-1995 Oscott Series. Assistant Editor
Conferences and Other Research Activity
- Consulter to the Beda College Rome. Helped develop a more integrated four-year philosophical and theological formation program for mature ordinands.
- Theological Advisor to Catholic Agency for Social Concern (CASC now Caritas. Co-author of the report: Community Care: The Challenge to the Catholic Church, CASC Jubilee Paper No 2, February 2000, published by CASC and the Bishops Conference of England and Wales.
- Delivered the Annual Study week for the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, on the Contemporary Ministry of the Bishop, September, 1995
- Theological Adviser to the European Synod, Vatican City (1991) and co-author of the final declaration on The Future of the Church in Europe. Vatican:Polyglot Press
- Representative of the British Catholic Bishops’ Conference at the Third European Colloquium on the Pastoral Care of Migrant Workers, Madrid (1987)
“Liberation theology: The Pre-History” in Rowland, C. & Vincent,J. (2013) British Liberation Theology: For Church and Nation. Sheffield: UTU, pp.22-33
“Christian Identity in the Face of Globalisation,” of New Blackfriars. Vol. 86, March 2005, pp. 228-244
“The Church Theologian and the Kingdom of God: An uneasy relationship,” in Mannion, G. (ed.) (2008) Church and Religious Other. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, pp.232-245
“Ecclesiology” in Conversing with Catholicism: an Introduction to Catholic Theology and Religious Education. Veritas of Dublin, Spring 2007
“Women and Children First ? Jesus Teaching on the Family,” The Pastoral Review, Vol.2 No.4, 2006
“Fear, Hate and the Stranger” Just So: Stories and Comment on Social Justice Themes, Vol. 2, January 2006. (Occasional Essays published by the Social Responsibility Office of Worcester Diocese.)
'Catholic Social Teaching and the Gospel', New Blackfriars, Vol. 93, 163-174, (2012)
'The Church Theologian and the Kingdom of God: An Uneasy Relationship' in Mannion, G. (ed.) Church and Religious "Other", (Edinburgh: T.& T.Clark, 2008)
'The Church: A Community of Disciples' in Hession and Kieran (eds.) Exploring Theology: Making Sense of the Catholic Tradition (Dublin: Veritas, 2007)
'Women and Children First? Jesus Teaching on the Family' The Pastoral Review Vol. 2 (2006)
'Christian Self-Identity in the Face of Globalisation' New Blackfriars 86, 228-244 (2005)