Press Release

19 November 2014

Canterbury Christ Church University hosts two public lectures next week looking at the morality of the First World War, and the tragic impact it had upon the families of Canterbury.

Professor Nigel Biggar
Professor Nigel Biggar

On Thursday, 27 November, Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at the University of Oxford and Director of the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics and Public Life, will speak as part of the University’s Public Lecture Series.

Professor Biggar will examine the ethical reasoning behind the motives for Britain’s decision to enter into the First World War, in his lecture: 1914-1918: Was Britain Right to Fight?

Based on his recent controversial book, In Defence of War, Professor Biggar, will use the criteria of a ‘Christian just war’ to defend Britain’s decision to enter into conflict with Germany in 1914, describing a just war as ‘military action to defend or rescue the innocent from intolerable injustice’.

He claims that Britain’s actions, in defence of France and Belgium against an unprovoked German invasion, can be morally justified, even though the consequences were tragic. He says: “There is much wrongdoing in the world as a result of ignorance and misunderstanding, and it can be righted by patient and pacific reason. Much, but not all. Some wrongdoing is very grave, and those who perpetrate it will not be persuaded to stop it. In such cases, the perpetrators must be punished — primarily for the sake of their victims, but also for their own sakes. Justified war is an extreme form of such punishment — and therefore an expression of love for one’s neighbours.”

Later in the week, on Saturday, 29 November, the University’s Centre for Research in Kent History and Archaeology will host a special lecture exploring the personal stories behind the names displayed on the war memorial in St Gregory’s Centre for Music, formally St Gregory’s Church.

St Gregory's war memorial
St Gregory's war memorial

Dr Martin Watts, a lecturer in Modern History in the School of Humanities, has researched the war memorial, which contains the names of over 140 parishioners who were lost in the Great War.

This commemorative talk, Communion and Sacrifice: St Gregory’s war memorial and the Great War, will reveal some of the stories behind those remembered, illustrating the effect of the war upon our small, local community, whilst placing their sacrifice in the global context of the tumultuous events of 1914-1918.

Both lectures are free and open to all, but places must be booked for the lecture '1914-1918: Was Britain Right to Fight?' To book your place visit: www.canterbury.ac.uk/publiclectures. The lecture will take place on Thursday, 27 November, 6pm, Old Sessions House, North Holmes Campus, Canterbury.

No booking is required for 'Communion and Sacrifice: St Gregory’s war memorial and the Great War', Saturday, 29 November, 3pm, St Gregory’s Centre for Music, North Holmes Road, Canterbury.

Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 93% of our most recent UK graduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2013 UCAS).
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2012/13 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey

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Last edited: 05/12/2017 04:31:00