Author Archives: Nigel Parker

Appointment of James Somerville-Meikle as Head of Public Affairs


The Catholic Union is pleased to announce the appointment of James Somerville-Meikle in a new position as Head of Public Affairs. James studied History and Politics at Warwick University and gained a Masters degree in Middle East Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He comes to us with from a public affairs background and will increase the impact of the Catholic Union’s engagement with Parliament and Government.

James commented:

“This is a hugely exciting opportunity and I am looking forward to building on the Catholic Union’s 150 year history of giving a voice to Catholics in the public sphere.

Politics is changing fast and we must be able to communicate clearly and effectively to those in power. I will be working hard with other groups to make sure Catholic politicians have the tools they need to defend and promote their faith in an increasingly hostile public sphere.”

Craigmyle Lecture – 10 October 2019

Thursday 10 October at 6.30pm – The Craigmyle Lecture

“Catholic Social Thought and the Economics of the Common Good”.

This year’s Craigmyle Lecture will be given by Lord Maurice Glasman, the Labour peer, political theorist and best known as a founder of “Blue Labour”. All welcome.

Followed by a Drinks Reception.

Venue: Notre Dame University, 1 Suffolk Street, London SW1Y 4HG.




Summer Gathering 2019

30 members of the Catholic Union attended the annual Summer Gathering held this year at the Christian Heritage Centre at Stonyhurst, Lancashire (our first return visit there since 1991).  Members enjoyed a tour of the Stonyhurst Collection of Treasures including relics of St Thomas More (our patron) and those of a modern martyr St Oscar Romero, not to mention a Shakespeare First Folio.  We also had an illustrated talk from former President Lord Alton about the Christian Heritage Centre (a former corn mill and now a well appointed retreat and conference centre) and a talk from our current President Sir Edward Leigh which touched on Brexit, Relationships and Sex Education, Divorce law, Abortion centre “buffer zones” and Catholic schools.  Many of those attending stayed overnight in the Christian Heritage Centre and enjoyed dinner together in a nearby pub.  On the following day, some walked the “Tolkien Trail” while others visited the nearby Marian shrine of Ladyewell at Fernyhalgh.

It was an enjoyable and uplifting weekend spiritually and socially.  In 2020 which is “sesquicentennial” of the Catholic Union (150th anniversary), we will likely be returning to London for our Summer Gathering (venue to be confirmed).


Pope Francis and his Vision for the Church – 25 October 2019

The Catholic Union Charitable Trust and Farm Street Church will host a talk by Fr James Hanvey SJ on:

“Pope Francis and his Vision of the Church” 

on Friday 25 October 2019 at 7pm in the Church Hall, Farm St Church (Church of the Immaculate Conception), 114 Mount Street, London W1K 3AH.  Mass in the Church is at 6pm.

Free entry.  All welcome. Followed by a Drinks Reception.




Report on Patrick Grady MP’s talk to the Catholic Union – 12 June 2019

Patrick Grady MP, Chief Whip of the SNP, gave an excellent talk to around 50 members of the Catholic Union and others in Parliament on Wednesday 12 June on the topic of “Catholicism and Public Life in Scotland”.  A full report of the evening is available courtesy of Independent Catholic News (ICN) at this link: