The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts maintains a Center for Faith & Culture in Oxford, including the editorial offices of theology journal Second Spring and Second Spring Catechesis.
The director and associate director, Stratford and Léonie Caldecott, are both graduates of Hertford College, Oxford, and Stratford is a G.K. Chesterton Fellow at St Benet’s Hall, the Benedictine house at the University.
Oxford is an ideal setting for the recovery of the rich legacy of Catholic and Christian humanism, with its rich heritage including such figures as John Henry Newman, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Ronald Knox, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien, whose work—along with that of G.K. Chesterton—can be studied at the Center for Faith & Culture.
Oxford Studies Program
Thomas More College’s Oxford Studies Program is a two-week course that delves into the lives and thoughts of G.K. Chesterton and other major Catholic thinkers such as John Henry Cardinal Newman, poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, and authors Hilaire Belloc and J.R.R. Tolkien. The program is designed to prepare participants for graduate school while helping them gain a deeper understanding of the role of the Catholic intellectual in today’s world through a combination of seminar-style lectures, guided tours, discussions, and conversations inspired by these four great writers.
Students explore certain landmarks of England that are important to these thinkers and English history. Students see Cardinal Newman’s colleges, the church where he preached as an Anglican, and the retreat center in Littlemore where he was received into the Catholic church in 1845. Furthermore, participants visit Tolkien’s grave in Wolvercote, one of his houses, and the pub where he and other Inklings met. In addition, they tour The Kilns, the home of C.S. Lewis, where he and Tolkien would frequently meet.
The Chesterton Library
The Center is currently the custodian of the G.K. Chesterton Library which has been built up over many years by Mr Aidan Mackey. This is one of the world’s foremost collections of Chestertoniana, and includes an important collection of drawings as well as books by and about Chesterton and related authors. Frequently consulted by scholars researching Chesterton and his influence, the collection can be visited by arrangement, and is in the process of being catalogued in order to make it more accessible to the academic community.
Founded and edited by Stratford and Leonie Caldecott, Second Spring’s mission is to explore and advance the mission of a Catholic intellectual in the context of contemporary culture. Published twice per year, Second Spring is substantive, thought-provoking, topical, and orthodox. It takes its bearings from leading Catholic theologians such as Pope Benedict XVI in his lifelong writings, as well as Catholic thinkers such as John Henry Cardinal Newman and G.K. Chesterton. Subjects regularly covered in Second Spring include the arts, sciences, technology, liturgy, new ecclesial movements, metaphysics, history, literature, poetry, and the world of books.