Chapter Regno Unito – Seconda sessione su Ambiente e Creazione – 14 dicembre presso la Cattedrale di St George’s Southwark, Sala Amigo

Dear all

The next meeting of the UK Chapter of the Centesimus Annus Foundation will be held on Tuesday, 14th December, from 6-7:30pm at the usual place: Amigo Hall at St George’s Catholic Cathedral, Southwark.

Our topic is: Man and Woman He Created Them : A Christian Anthropology

Our guest speaker is Canon John O’Leary, Rector of Allen Hall (Westminster Diocese Seminary)

Some questions for discussion:

-What / who is Man (in the generic sense)?

-What does it mean to be a relational being? What does it mean to be human?

-What is Man’s (= men and women) role in creation, what is his purpose & destiny?

-What is the purpose of a distinct biological sex, assigned at conception?

Introduction to this coming session:

Talking about creation, or the environment, or climate change, without beginning from the starting point, that is to say, without considering the wider purpose of human existence, and the personal mission and vocation of each person, willed by God, and created in His image and likeness, is somewhat pointless. For at the heart of this entire debate on climate lie competing anthropologies. Anthropocentrism has become a dirty word. So before we consider policy proposals, or debate the merits of COP26, Greta and fossil fuel divestments, we need to consider why Man was willed by God, and what his purpose is, ontologically, in order to make a proper ‘reading’ of Creation, which in turn will guide personal behaviours and policy responses.

It is also telling that at a time when mankind has never been more concerned / alarmed about creation, we humans have forgotten to consider our own purpose and role in the wider story of Creation. We seem to find it increasingly difficult to understand who we are. This manifests itself in all kinds of contemporary difficulties, bordering on the schizophrenic, and ranging from frenetic consumerism to “speciesism” to the war of the sexes to gender dysphoria to the outright negation of entire cultures, traditions and histories.

It is for this reason that we will be considering in our next session what constitutes a properly Christian anthropology, what it means for Man (generic) to have been created in the imago Dei.

From a proper anthropology will naturally derive appropriate responses to the challenges of our age, from discerning the right paths forward to the ‘ecological conversion’ which Pope Francis calls for.

Yet even that necessary ‘ecological conversion’ is itself worth very little, or at best incomplete, leading neither to fulfilment nor to lasting change oriented towards the common good and proper stewardship of the planet, if it is not itself grounded in a personal conversion that is more holistic, and whose roots are firmly planted in the Source of all Good.

Following on from our two first, more philosophical/theological sessions that lay a framework for tackling contemporary challenges, we will turn our attention in the new year to more practical considerations on climate, creation and the environment.

They will include sessions on divestments from fossil fuels, alternative energy, ESG / sustainable investing, Malthus and the population debate, and transhumanism among others.

Bio of Canon John O’Leary

Fr John is currently Rector of Allen Hall, the seminary for the Westminster Diocese. Previously, he served as Private Secretary to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, and Vice-Rector and Dean of Studies at Allen Hall, as well as the Dean of Faculty at Mater Ecclesiae Pontifical College.

He has specialised in and taught philosophical anthropology, writing his licentiate thesis on the human person as relational being. He currently teaches the doctrine of creation and eschatology part of the Theological Anthropology module at St Mary’s University Twickenham.

He studied at Allen Hall, the Venerable Bede College in Rome, the Pontifical Gregorian University, and Heythrop College, where he obtained his doctorate. His doctoral dissertation was a defence of the separate state of the soul between an individual’s death and the General Resurrection in dialogue with materialist neuroscientists and certain Christians who deny it. Fr John was ordained in 1992 and has served in a number of parishes in and around London.

ZOOM details (for those who can only attend remotely) – will also be circulated in calendar invite

Topic: Man and Woman He Created Them : A Christian Anthropology

Time: Dec 14, 2021 18:00-19:30 London (GMT)

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID:  876 0521 9732

Passcode:  441406

Preparatory reading

Attached are a couple of relevant passages from St JP II’s Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem

Useful references

On gender theory –

On theology of the body –

Looking forward to seeing you at our next meeting.


Jean P Casey

UK Coordinator, CAPPF