The ACTA National Conference in 2018 was addressed by Dr Anna Abrams, of the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology on the subject of Ecclesial Ethics.

Last summer Bishop Alan Williams SM, the Bishop of Brentwood, invited Catholics who no longer regularly come to church to get in touch. Bishop Alan wanted to seriously listen to their stories and experiences to understand why so many Catholics no longer feel as though they belong in the Church.

The results of that research, carried out in partnership with the Margaret Beaufort Institute, have now been published.

Dr Liam Hayes, Director of The Centre for Ecclesial Ethics at the Margaret Beaufort Institute, Cambridge, undertook the research on Bishop Alan’s behalf. He says: “Our research revealed that many of the 80% of baptised Catholics who no longer go to Church do not feel welcome, appreciated or even visible, for they experience a Church in which they no longer see their face, hear their voice or recognise their story in too many of the church’s ethical teachings and its wider praxis.

Believing, not Belonging, he says, presents a moving and challenging insight into how our Church and the Covid-19 pandemic have contributed to a movement away from a regular practice of faith for many Catholics and offers our Church a living repository of wisdom that might enrich and inform our ongoing journey of renewal in the diocese.

The research report can be read here:

Believing Not Belonging - 2023