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This week produced the clearest evidence yet that the Synod Fathers are sharply divided between those who are supporting Pope Francis in his efforts to present a more pastoral vision of the Church and those determined first and foremost to emphasise its moral teaching
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Cambridge academic Dr Mark Hayes has been appointed the first holder of a Chair in Catholic Social Teaching at Durham University.
His appointment as the St Hilda Chair in Catholic Social Thought and Practice was confirmed today.
The new post, which exists within the Centre for Catholic Studies in the Department of Theology and Religion, was funded by major foundations, women’s religious congregations, and business executives.
News of the appointment was welcomed by Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who said now was the time to train people in Catholic Social Teaching.
“Their challenge is to integrate this discipline into their faith life, and through greater dialogue and principled leadership, to implement it in social and charitable efforts, in economic and commercial enterprises, and in communications, politics and culture,” he said.
His comments were echoed by the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols.
He said: “This appointment comes at a time of widespread interest in exploring what can be gained from Catholic Social Teaching in response to challenges facing our society. This clearly demonstrates the vital contribution we can make to the flourishing of society in pursuit of the common good."
Dr Hayes, currently Fellow and Director of Studies in Economics at Robinson College in Cambridge, welcomed the “challenge and opportunity” the position offered. “The Church in the widest sense needs more tools and training to translate its insights into terms that society as a whole can engage with and which stand up to critical scrutiny,” he said.