A Centre for Research & Debate
Hard questions demand hard thought.
Blackfriars’ two research institutes – the Aquinas Institute and the Las Casas Institute for Social Justice – use insights gained from Catholic theology and philosophy and other sources to address important and challenging modern questions.
The Aquinas Institute
The Aquinas Institute promotes research in philosophy and theology in the tradition of St Thomas Aquinas (e.g. how insights from St Thomas can contribute to contemporary questions) and in relation to St Thomas (e.g. different interpretations of the work of St Thomas and how the work of other thinkers can engage with the thought of St Thomas).
The Institute has a wide-ranging set of activities throughout the year.
The Las Casas Institute for Social Justice
The Las Casas Institute conducts and promotes research into Catholic Social Teaching and its application to today’s social concerns. Among the challenging questions we look at are:
- How can we recover a human and moral dimension to economics?
- How should we safeguard the dignity of migrants while protecting existing citizens, culture and national security?
- What enduring value is there for the traditional concept of human dignity in an age when technology offers easier ways to end lives and change bodies?
- What is conscience? Are we bound to follow it?
- What is the difference between humans and the animals from which we evolved?
The Las Casas Institute has a lively programme of events throughout the year.
Sharing our learning
The Institutes’ research is propagated into the wider society by means of conferences, talks, books, online resources, and through a developing outreach programme for schools. An annual residential summer school run by the Aquinas Institute offers an introduction to theology for young adults.
A Network of collaboration
Blackfriars enjoys supportive and enriching relationships with the network of Catholic Higher Education institutions both within Oxford and throughout the UK. With just 13 such institutions remaining in England since the closure of Heythrop College (London), collaboration helps safeguard and advance our common mission.
Partnerships have been formed in research projects, in conferences and speaker events, and in sharing personnel and experience, e.g. working with St Mary’s University (Twickenham) in the area of Catholic social teaching.
Blackfriars also collaborates internationally, hosting and participating in seminars and conferences, welcoming visiting academics and overseas Dominican friars, and contributing to the intellectual life of the Catholic Church worldwide.