Catholic Society

Catholicism is a branch of Christianity in the Roman Catholic tradition which seeks to emphasise certain particular beliefs. The role of communion is particularly important, and Catholics, unlike Evangelicals, believe that the Pope is god represented on earth. Some elements of the Catholic Church emphasise the role of Mary, mother of Christ.

The Catholic Society did not exist until about 5 years ago, when it derived out of Christian Focus, which some Catholics felt was becoming increasingly Anglican in its focus. Until last year it was called the Warwick Catholic Fellowship but it is now undergoing a period of reinvention following a break from Christian Focus.

The Catholic Society, unlike the Christian Union, is not an evangelistic society. James explains that this difference stems from essentially different beliefs about the nature of salvation. Evangelicals believe that all those who call in the name of the Lord will be saved, whilst Catholicism is more focused on actions and putting faith into practice.

James described the campus as left wing and secular, pointing out that, unlike many other educational institutions in the UK, Warwick was not established with a Christian element in its constitution. Sometimes, he says, Warwick feels like a very success-driven and business- focused place, and therefore he believes the Catholic Society is crucial in helping students to find their focus beyond the materialistic world.

Students should recognise that religion still plays a very valuable role in society,and he believes that faith can unlock the potential in a community and have positive implications for society.

James says that a lot of the time, intolerance derives from a lack of understanding and communication between different religions. For example, he believes that Catholics are often seen as adhering to a list of rules and restrictions, and should seek to highlight the constructive reasons as to why they take a particular stance on certain issues.

On a liberal campus, an issue that often comes up is about homosexuality, and James states that he sometimes gets asks whether Catholics are homophobic or hate gay people. He refutes this, saying, ‘Catholics do not hate gay people. We may have reasons to believe that it is not the best form of relationship but we do not condemn the person. The Catholic faith tells us that even if we condemn the sin, we are still to love the sinner.’

James admits that it can be difficult when beliefs clash but insists that religious people need to remember that they have much more in common that separating them. For example, the Abrahamic religions have substantial similarities and large sections of the Koran are also in the Old Testament. He points out that faith should unite all of us, because all religions share a common belief that the way you live your life should not be wholly materialistic. He says, however, that he has had no problems on campus and has found other faith groups on campus willing to engage in constructive discussion.


– **President:** James Somerville- Meikle

– **Membership:** Around 80 members but generally 100-110 turn up to Sunday Mass. Most members are practising Catholics but people who are not affiliated to Catholicism also turn up.

– **Motto:** Faith, Fellowship and Fun!

– **Aims: **To provide support for Catholics on campus and a forum for discussion on Catholic issues and faith.

– **Events:** Regular bible study and Mass, as well as discussions and talks. For example there was a recent talk on Euthanasia and the ideological reasons as to why Catholics are pro-life. They run regular socials including bar crawls and quizzes, and also run faith retreats. Last term 17 students descended upon a Monastic Community at Belmont Abbey where they spent time following the routine of Benedictine Monks.


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