The Catholic Institute

Dr Christopher Longhurst

Position: Lecturer / Wellington Site Coordinator / ResearcherChris Longhurst

Location: National Office, Wellington

Qualifications: S.T.D. (Dogmatic Theology) Summa cum laudeS.T.L. (Dogmatic Theology) Summa cum laudeM.A. (Moral Theology) Summa cum laudeS.T.B. Magna Cum Laude: Pontificia Studiorum Universitas a Sancto Thoma Aquinate in Urbe, “Angelicum,” Rome, Italy

Contact: Tel. 04 650 2970          Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Research Interests: Theological Aesthetics, Comparative Theology, Inter-theological Dialogue, Theological Renewal 

My primary academic interests revolve around intersections between theology and visual arts. My doctoral thesis considered how all genuine pictorial artworks have potentially and inextricably an emotive and intellective god-centeredness evident not only when the artwork has a religious theme or when the artist knows how to create an artwork of spiritual value, but even for presumably secular artworks and also where the artist provides a provocation to religion.

More recent research addresses issues such as theology in global dialogue, theology in comparative tension, and theology as intellectual core of religion. I am also interested in Christian-Muslim dialogue, in particular, how Islamic non-figural imagery and aniconic Christian imagery interact in concrete cases to construct interfaith understanding. I am also researching how the Catholic Church's institutional crisis of clerical child sexual abuse impacts Catholic theology and vice-versa. 

Prior to returning to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2017, I worked as an educational officer (operatore didattico) for the Scientific and Administrative Management of the Vatican Museums, Rome, Italy. Currently I serve on the Council of the Wellington Theological Consortium, the Wellington Interfaith Council, and the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Committee for Interfaith Relations.

In 2019 I was honoured to be selected as a Fellow of the KAICIID (King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue) 2020 International Fellows Programme. I believe that dialogue is one of the most effective ways to show love towards one another.

Selected Publications

"Interreligious Dialogue? Interfaith Relations? Or, Perhaps Some Other Term?" Journal of Ecumenical Studies, vol. 51(1), 2020, pp. tbc.

"Epiphanic Paintings: A Universal Subjective Relationality,” Stimulus, Laidlaw College, New Zealand, vol. 26(2), 2019.

“Nuclear-free New Zealand and Catholic Moral Theology Interwoven by the David Lange Address.” Australasian Catholic Record96(1), January 2019, pp. 45-55.

“Christian-Muslim Perspectives on God as Love and a Loving Community,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 53(3), 2018, pp. 444-449.

Te Kahurangi o Māhutonga”, Stimulus, Laidlaw College, New Zealand, vol. 25(1), 2018.

Maryam bint ‘Imran as ‘Our Lady of Muslims’,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 52(3), University of Pennsylvania Press, Summer 2017, pp. 465-469.

“Confluence Between Christian and Muslim Iconography,” ENCOUNTER - Documents for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Pontifical Institute of Arabic Studies and Islamology, Rome, Italy, vol. 42(1), 2017, 42 pp.

“Western Mosque and Muslim Integration: Identity Crisis and Resolution,” Muslim Integration: Pluralism and multiculturalism in New Zealand and Australia, Lexington Books, 2016, pp. 49-66.

“A Pictorial Response to Religious Disunity,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 49(4), Fall 2014, pp. 657-660.

“Palestrina’s Outworking of Sacred Music: Divine Infinitude and Omnipotence in the Sounds and Silences of Missa Papae Marcelli,” The Catholic Response X/3, November-December 2013, pp. 25-29.

“Islamic Cosmogony According to Sūrah Al-Hashr Verse 24: ‘He Is Allāh, The Creator, The Originator, The Fashioner of Forms’,” European Scientific Journal, Special edition 2, December 2013, pp. 116-125.

“Tawhīd and Homooúsios: Narrowing the gaps between Muslim and Christian understanding of God’s divine oneness,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 48(2), Spring 2013, pp. 255-258.

“Mihrab: Symbol of Unity and Masterpiece of Islamic Art and Architecture,” LONAARD, Art and Architecture Magazine – London 14(3), March 2013, pp. 33-46.

“Eucharistic Spirit of Islam: Parallels between Islam and Christianity on the Eucharist,” ENCOUNTER - Documents for Muslim-Christian Understanding 382-383, Pontifical Institute of Arabic Studies and Islamology, Rome, Italy, February-March 2013.

“Approaching the Divine through Form and Colour: A theological reflection on the pictorial apophasis of Malevič and Reinhardt,” American Theological Inquiry: A Biannual Journal of Theology, Culture & History 5(2), Minneapolis, USA: 15 July 2012, pp. 67-82.

“Theology of a Mosque: The Sacred Inspiring Form, Function and Design in Islamic Architecture,” LONAARD, Art and Architecture Magazine – London 8(2), March 2012, pp. 3-13.

“Catholic Education Owed to All: The Church’s response to the universal right to basic education,” The Catholic Educator 14, Winter 2013, pp. 27-29.

“Mary in Islam: Importance of the Mother of Jesus the Messiah in the Qur’an,” The Catholic Response VIII(6), May-June 2012, pp. 6-14.

“A Sculpture Spurned: When Modern Art Meets Religion,” America 206, 16, May 14, 2012, pp. 27-30.

“Formation of the Whole Person (Can. 795) – A perspective on what it means and how it might be achieved,” The Catholic Educator 13, Spring 2012, pp. 18-20.

“Thaborian Light: Reflections from the Greek tradition on The Transfiguration by Raphael,” L’Osservatore Romano 31, Vatican City State: 4 August 2010, p. 12.


Academic Memberships

  • Association of Practical Theology in Oceania
  • Australian Catholic Theological Association
  • Catholic Theological Society of America
  • Società Italiana di Storia delle Religioni
  • Society for the Study of Theology