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How exactly does a public Catholic university work?

2016-01-24

Typically, we expect Catholic schools to be private and distinct from public ones, especially in the United States. 

But St. Mary's University in South West London is a bit different. It was founded in 1850 as a Catholic university for teachers.

It maintains its Catholic ethos, and many of the students are still future teachers. But the university also receives public funding and is part of the broader UK higher education system.

In many ways, it's just like other public universities, but their Catholic foundation still matters.

BISHOP RICHARD MOTH
Chair, Board of Governors of St. Mary's University (London)
"Because we're Catholic, we link with the Catholic universities of the world. We can look beyond the shores of England and Wales. We can look to our brother and sister Catholic institutions right across the globe. And so that brings something special to tertiary education in England which I think we have to offer.”

Bishop Moth said that while they don't directly spread the Gospel, he believes that they evangelize daily through their actions. He also added that Catholic education has another benefit.

BISHOP RICHARD MOTH
Chair, Board of Governors of St. Mary's University (London)
"One of the things that we're very clear on in Catholic education is that we educate and enable people to grow in what you cannot measure. FLASH One of the key things about Catholic education at every level is it can live in that space where we recognize the education that is immeasurable, that you cannot assess by inspection.”

Indeed, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the extra benefits of Catholic education when he visited St. Mary's University in 2010. He told students then, "All the work you do is placed in the context of growing in friendship with God, and all that flows from that friendship.”


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