Category Archives: News

Catholic Union responds to Queen’s Speech

The State Opening of Parliament and Queen’s Speech took place on Monday 14 October. 

Head of Public Affairs, James Somerville-Meikle, commented: “It’s good to see the Domestic Abuse Bill carried over from the last Parliament – this contains a number of important measures, but the Government must ensure that a Bill designed to help victims of domestic abuse, does not get hijacked by arguments about abortion. We will study Bills on divorce and sentencing carefully.

“Encouragement for EU nationals to remain here after Brexit is a step in the right direction. We know that many people from EU countries who have built lives in this country – and become a valued part of church communities across the country – have secured the right to remain. But many have not. Warm words from the Government need to be backed up by practical and pro-active policies to help people who want to stay.

“There was no mention of faith schools, tackling religious persecution or ending homelessness. We will be calling for manifesto commitments in these areas from all main parties ahead of the election, to make sure they are not overlooked.”

Lord Glasman delivers annual Catholic Union Craigmyle Lecture

The Catholic Union’s annual Craigmyle Lecture was delivered this year by the Labour peer and founder of Blue Labour, Lord Glasman.

Lord Glasman addressed Catholic Union members and friends at the University of Notre Dame’s London campus near Trafalgar Square on Thursday 10 October about “Catholic Social Thought and the Economics of the Common Good”

Lord Glasman said it was “extremely generous” for someone who is not Catholic to be invited to give a talk on Catholic social teaching. But he stressed the universal appeal of Catholic social thought, and reminded his audience of the role of the Church in the development of the Labour movement in Britain. “Catholic social thought is in exile in this country and it is time for it to come home”, he said.

The talk also touched on Brexit and Lord Glasman said that the “abandonment of Catholic values which had been at the heart of the EU” had helped to create a disconnect between people and politics in Europe. He described this moment as a time of change which was “disturbing and frightening to many people.”

Catholic Union Head of Public Affairs, James Somerville-Meikle commented: “This was a fantastic talk from someone who knows the Labour movement inside out in this country. It was a timely reminder of the importance of Catholic Social Teaching to people across the political spectrum, in our past and hopefully in our future. At a time when our politics can often be focused on the short term – this was good to be reminded about what our politicians should be striving to achieve: dignity in work, fair markets, and a more even distribution of wealth. We are extremely grateful to Lord Glasman for his insights into this fascinating time in politics.”

The text of Lord Glasman’s talk is available here: Catholic Social Thought and the Economics of the Common Good

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.