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Loschert Lecture: The Thinking Catholic in Public Life

Thursday 28 November 2013 - Baroness Scotland delivers second Loschert Lecture  

Baroness Scotland of Astha PC QC delivered the second Loschert Lecture, on the subject of ‘The Thinking Catholic in Public Life; Reflections on Faith, Government and Social Justice’, at Heythrop College on Thursday 28th November.

The former HM Attorney General, and Minister of State for Law Reform and Criminal Justice between 2007-2010 gave an inspiring account of her faith, and its centrality to her life and work, to an appreciative audience including many members of Heythrop’s wider community.

Noting that in the recent past public figures had been “very reluctant” to acknowledge their faith in God, Baroness Scotland said her own upbringing, as the daughter of a devout Catholic mother and “forensically committed” Methodist father meant she had been “out” about her faith throughout her life.

“I was never going to fit into anyone’s idea of what I should be,” she said. “I am one of 12 children, Roman Catholic, socialist, not educated privately and didn’t go to Oxford. I became a Barrister when women represented 7% of the Bar. One of the advantages was that I couldn’t be anything but myself – I had to be true to me – and being a Christian was a fundamental part of who I was…I have never hesitated to talk about my faith.”

In her lecture Baroness Scotland explored the challenges of being a “thinking Catholic” and of following Jesus’s example in her daily life, and stressed the importance of identifying and using talents given by God. She said the opportunity to do so presented itself every day, “by asking oneself ‘what have I done for someone else and for God?’.”

She spoke movingly about her work for social justice and in founding the Corporate Alliance against Domestic Violence in 2005, and said its achievements were made possible through all agencies working together and through God’s grace. Baroness Scotland added: “I found my faith invaluable during time in office. I don’t know how I would have brought about any change without my faith.”

Baroness Scotland's lecture is available to watch below.

The Loschert Lecture series is made possible thanks to the generous support of Mr William Loschert, the chairman of the Trustees of the London Centre of Fordham University with which Heythrop College collaborates closely.