Religion informs lives.
We reform religion.

Advancing Gender Equality, Sexual Ethics, and Lay Decision-Making in the Catholic Church

What We Do


We focus on producing pioneering theological research by coordinating leading academics worldwide to collaborate on reports tackling the Church’s officially uncomfortable, difficult, and disputed areas.

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These are:
1- The discrimination against women in the Roman Catholic Church (e.g. their exclusion from any ordained ministry and decision-making power).
2- Christian Sexual Ethics (e.g. the meaning and purpose of sexuality, sexual orientation, LGBT ; family planning and artificial contraception, and so on).
3-Church authority and governance (e.g. collegiality and co-responsibility; democratic selection of office holders; the integration of expertise in ecclesial policy-making).
4-The interpretation of the bible.
5-How to overcome mistaken notions of God

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How We Do It


What we do is driven by the questions and suggestions of ordinary Catholics worldwide, and is informed by cutting edge research in theology and other relevant disciplines.

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We coordinate theologians and other experts and listen to the experiences and insights of Catholics worldwide to identify problems and develop solutions to help the Roman Catholic Church reform.

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Why It Is Important


WICR is a private educational charity, and can therefore maintain full independence from external pressures.

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In an ideal world the work of the Wijngaards Institute would be carried out within that wonderful galaxy of educational and research institutions that Catholics throughout history have set up Sadly, this is only rarely the case. Many Catholic authorities – bishops, educational institutions, individual theologians – are reluctant to allow free public discussion concerning some of those issues, for fear of antagonizing the Vatican or jeopardising their careers and even jobs.
As long as this situation persists there will be a need for independent institutes such as ours.

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Religion changes lives. We change religion. Join us to help change religious beliefs which discriminate against millions of people around the world.

Miriam Duignan (Trustee)


Baroness Helena KennedyIt is vitally important that the Church engages in constructive dialogue about difficult ethical issues and that serious research is conducted to inform such debates as you are doing. The world is changing and the Church has been slow to acknowledge that men and women have been renegotiating their lives.

Baroness Helena Kennedy (Patron)

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Donate By Post

Please download, print and fill the Standing Order form here or, for a one-off donation, write a cheque payable to “Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research”. Once completed, please post the form (or cheque) to:
Wijngaards Institute, 
111a High Street,
Rickmansworth, WD3 1AN

Donate By Phone

Please call us on 01923 779446

Legacy Giving

If you are considering leaving us a legacy, please contact us by email or telephone (01923 779446), and we will send you our Legacy pack.

Join Team Wijngaards Institute

We urgently need researchers, web masters, moderators for our online discussion forums, academic advisors and ambassadors. Most of the work can be done remotely, and you will have complete flexibility in determining how much time and resources to devote to helping us: it could be a daily, weekly, or monthly commitment of as many hours as you wish at any time of the day or night. If you think you can help, please get in touch by writing to Miriam or Luca at