The Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain 1998-2002: The Queen's Foundation Authority and Governance Archive

Scope and Content

This collection contains the records that were created through the Authority and Governance in the Roman Catholic Church Project, which was commissioned in 1996 by the Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham.

The collection includes:

  • Diocesan studies including statistics, reports, finance
  • A study of clerical attitudes
  • Studies related to the topics of celibacy, the ordination of women and the sacramental participation for divorced and remarried members of the church
  • Correspondence
  • Project meeting papers and related correspondence
  • Chapter drafts and research for publications that evolved from the project

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1996 the Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham, commissioned a research project called "Authority and Governance in the Roman Catholic Church". This project was sponsored by Derwent (now known as Porticus UK) and the research was undertaken by various bodies involved in the Roman Catholic Church.

The aim of the project was to research into authority and governance within the Roman Catholic Church in England, Scotland and Wales. The project involved conversations, interviews and conferences with around 1000 people from the Roman Catholic faith, including members of the clergy and lay people.

A part of the project used diocesan and parish case studies, consisting of interviews with clergy and laity from five dioceses in England and Scotland, which looked at the local impact of governance and authority in the Roman Catholic Church during periods of change or transition.

Overall, the main subjects investigated by the project were:

  • The model church as it operated locally in comparison to the official diocesan model.
  • The engagement of the parish with diocesan structures and personnel and parish leadership.
  • Parish leadership, this included lay participation and formation and mission.

Research by the project also covered controversial subjects within the Roman Catholic Church, such as celibacy, the ordination of women, and sacramental participation for divorced and remarried members of the church.

Findings from the project were shared in several publications, and through a conference held at Robinson College, Cambridge in June 2000.

Access Information

Participants in the project were given assurances that the names of individual respondents, dioceses and parishes would remain anonymous. Respect for these promises of anonymity remains a condition for access to the archive.

Part of this collection is open for access. Records are available for consultation by appointment only; we require a 24 hour notice. (Please note that you need to contact us by Thursday afternoon if you wish to visit us on the following Tuesday.)

Appointments can be made by contacting the archivist using any of the methods below:


Telephone: 020 8392 3323

Postal address: Archives and Special Collections, Library and Learning Services, University of Roehampton, Roehampton Lane, London, SW15 5SZ.

(Some records within this collection are closed and not available for research. For further information, please contact the archivist using the contact details above.)

Acquisition Information

Deposited in 2010 by Porticus UK (sponsor of the Authority and Governance in the Roman Catholic Church project).

Archivist's Note

Description created in June 2015.

Related Material

Further collections relating to religion that are held by Archives and Special Collections include:

  • Records of the Living and Sharing Our Faith Project (part of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales). This late-20th Century and early-21st Century project aimed to study the issues of national religious education and Roman Catholic education. See reference code: BC
  • The Centre for Marian Studies Library, containing published works that can be used to study the Virgin Mary. See reference code: CMS
  • The Jewish Resource Centre Collection, containing reference material that can be used to study Judaism. See reference code: JRC