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Visiting researchers

Dr Luca Badini Confalonieri

Visiting Research Fellow

Address: Department of Theology & Religious Studies
King's College London
Virginia Woolf Building 
22 Kingsway




Luca is director of research at the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research. His doctoral work at the University of Durham focused on “Democracy in the Christian Church. An Historical, Theological and Political Case” (T & T Clark International 2012, 304 pages). That monograph brings together the main insights from both political philosophy and ecclesiology concerning the epistemic, ethical, and consensus building value of democratic methods of decision making, and suggests ways of implementing them within the Roman Catholic Church.

As a case study, Luca has offered a comprehensive argument for reintroducing episcopal elections by the entire local church, in a lengthy essay published in 2012 in Theological Studies.

His current research focuses on sexual ethics, with a particular attention to family planning, “responsible parenthood,” and the negative consequences for women in the developing world of the papal ban against modern contraceptives still enforced by many Catholic health care facilities worldwide.

In this connection, he is the lead author of the “Catholic Scholars’ Statement on the Ethics of Using Contraceptives” (, signed by more than 160 Catholic experts, which he presented at a side-event of the UN General Assembly in September 2016 in New York. For media coverage, please see below, the section on “Expertise and public engagement.” 

Research interests and PhD supervision
  • Church authority and governance (collegiality and co-responsibility; democratic decision-making and selection of office holders; the integration of expertise in ecclesial policy-making)
  • Sexual ethics (family planning and responsible parenthood)
  • Gender equality within Roman Catholicism (and the sources of discrimination such as e.g. the exclusion of women from ordained ministry)
Selected publications
  • Author, Democracy in the Christian Church. An Historical, Theological, and Political Case, series ‘Ecclesiological Investigations’ no. 16 (London: T&T Clark, 2012), 120,000 words.
  • ‘The Critical Use of Socio-Political Categories in Ecclesiology’, in Peter De Mey, Peter de Witte and Gerard Mannion (eds.), Believing in Community: Ecumenical Reflections on the Church – Proceedings of the Sixth Leuven Encounters in Systematic Theology, 7–10 November 2007, Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium, vol. 261 (Leuven: Peeters, 2013), pp. 103-116.
  • ‘The Election of Bishops by Clergy and People: Antonio Rosmini’s Neglected Solution’, Theological Studies vol. 73, no. 1 (March 2012). 15,500 words.
  • Assistant Editor, Paul D. Murray (ed.), Receptive Ecumenism and the Call to Catholic Learning (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), xxxv+534pp.
Expertise and public engagement

The UN-launch of the “Catholic Scholars’ Statement on the Ethics of Using Contraceptives” (2016), of which Luca has been coordinator and lead author, has been reported in The Sunday Times (UK), The Huffington Post (USA), The Irish Times (two articles), The Tablet, America, as well as (outside the English speaking world) news agencies such as Religion Digital (Spanish), and Adista (Italian). 

Luca has appeared on Sky News UK to discuss Pope Francis’ trip to Myanmar (November 2017). 

Luca has also been academic consultant in a forthcoming Channel 4 (UK) documentary on women in early Christianity, which will be aired in 2018.

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