The Institute

The major concern of the Institute is to raise the quality of thinking and debate about public policy issues, ensuring that vital ethical considerations are properly aired and rigorously explored. There is, for example, a need to clarify what exactly a human being is, and to seek a deeper understanding of the relationship of moral truth to freedom. An active engagement with contemporary and past mentalities, with collective memory and history, is essential if issues of fundamental concern to all are to be adequately understood and informed debate is to take place about them.

The tenets of conventional thinking must be traced to sources and subjected to informed criticism. This necessary discourse is best encouraged by bringing together thinkers and practitioners in a thoroughly interdisciplinary yet rigorous way. The desired forum includes academics as well as those with experience and expertise in public service, politics, diplomacy, the media, business and the professions. Experts of all kinds have vital contributions to make in the face of the great issues confronting humanity, but no specialist body in isolation can hope to escape reductionism. The Institute, therefore, seeks to combine what is best in an academic body and in a ‘think-tank’.

The Institute has a Christian inspiration, and precisely because of that it heartily welcomes full and active participation by all who accept that there must be more adequate and permanent foundations for public policy than, for example, a drifting raft of utilitarian and pragmatic considerations.

The Institute has no collective party-political or other such ideological alignment. It actively seeks to give a hearing to a plurality of voices in order to promote constructive dialogue between men and women of varying political as well as cultural, philosophical, scientific, and religious traditions.

Specific Commitments

Within that framework the Institute seeks to promote:

  • a more informed and active participation by all in public life and debate
  • cooperation and coordinated action across disciplinary or professional frontiers
  • policies to aid the disadvantaged without inducing avoidable long-term dependency
  • the integrity of the human person from conception until natural death
  • the dignity of all work, and eradication of obstacles to human fulfilment in it
  • the centrality of the arts and humanities to human flourishing
  • an appreciation of lifelong heterosexual marriage and of family life
  • reintegration of human rights discourse within a natural law framework
  • coherent ethical approaches in professional, commercial and political life
  • a responsible media ethic that will enhance robust engagement with critical issues
  • a better understanding, and constructive ethical assessment, of new scientific development