Trust in Public Life

Anna Rowlands, Claire Gilbert, Josie Rourke, Anthony Ball and James Hawkey

‘every essay makes for absorbing reading’
Commonweal Magazine


Is the self-trust that leaders need to rule borne out of a lack of of self-knowledge? How can the virtues of honesty, humility, compassion, and competence help to rebuild trust in our institutions? Is trust in each other, between groups that make up ‘the people’, a choice?

To trust is to risk, to become vulnerable, to place the centre of our universe somewhere other than ourselves. A loss of trust, particularly in public figures and institutions, is increasingly a feature of modern life. Together these essays provide deep reflections on the nature of trust in the context of public life, agreeing that it is engendered through real encounters, not in the abstract or by force. They offer guidance on how to make those encounters real, whether they be within oneself, between people, or between institutions and the people they serve.

ANNA ROWLANDS is Professor of Catholic Social Thought and Practice at Durham University.

CLAIRE GILBERT is Founding Director of Westminster Abbey Institute.

JOSIE ROURKE is an English theatre and film director whose credits include the Academy Award and BAFTA-nominated Mary Queen of Scots (2018).

The Rt Revd ANTHONY BALL is Canon of Westminster and Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Egypt.

Revd Dr JAMES HAWKEY is Canon Theologian of Westminster.

Co-published with the Westminster Abbey Institute. 

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