Dear Editor, At the canonisation of Cardinal John Henry Newman at the Vatican, Prince Charles praised many aspects of the new saints’ labours. These included his establishment of the Catholic University in Ireland – the predecessor of today’s University College Dublin.
He said: “His example has left a lasting legacy. As an educator, his work was profoundly influential in Oxford, Dublin and beyond, while his treatise, The Idea of a University, remains a defining text to this day.”
This series of talks of The Idea of a University given by Cardinal Newman at Dublin’s Rotunda in 1852 were intended to give a philosophical foundation for a liberal education for the newly proposed Catholic University of Ireland. While his thinking has been taken up in Catholic colleges and other faith colleges across the world and has proliferated in Newman Societies particularly in the United States, it would certainly seem to me his intellectual work has been largely forgotten in Ireland, and especially in his own UCD.
Giving perhaps a measure of lip-service to the founder of the university, the Arts and Commerce Building was renamed the ‘Newman Building’ several years ago.
I have a challenge to give to UCD and the other colleges of NUI. The greatest way we could honour the elevation of Cardinal John Henry Newman to Sainthood would be once again to give a series of talks based on his ‘Idea and Scope’ for a new age. Has theology any relevance? Is it founded in myth?
Such a series of talks could open the possibility that theology could once again be enthroned in its rightful place in the university curriculum. It would be a much greater way to honour the first rector than by merely naming the Arts and Commerce Block at UCD the ‘Newman building’.
Dr Cormac O’Duffy,
South Carolina, USA.
Pro-choice people should consider Unplanned
Dear Editor, I have just been to see a film in the Omniplex Cinema in Limerick. Firstly I would like to thank the Omniplex for having the courage to show it, as the other cinemas saw fit to ignore it even though it took my wife and I a week to get tickets to see Unplanned as it was sold out each time we went.
Most people will not have heard of Unplanned, as the mainstream media and TV have mostly ignored it. It is of course an anti-abortion film based on the true story of Abby Johnson, the youngest clinic director in the history of Planned Parenthood in the US.
There were protests in parts of this country by the pro-choice movement about Unplanned being shown at all.
Censorship by hypocrites who no doubt complained about the Catholic Church doing the same thing back in the day.
This film should be required viewing for the famous names in show business who wholeheartedly endorsed the repeal campaign in Ireland, the newspaper journalists who wrote so many columns in support of repeal, the TV and radio hosts who were, let’s be kind, not unbiased, and of course the politicians in this country who did most to ensure that abortion would be introduced.
Finally, I would like to also ask the same people to read a poem by Spike Milligan entitled ‘Unto Us’. Tell me you are not moved!
Welcome new group
Dear Editor, Given that the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly (IC 17/10/19) has called for an open armed approach to new priests outside of Ireland, one cannot wonder that the news that The Institute of Christ the King is coming to Belfast is part and parcel of this thinking.
Those orders that celebrate the rites according to the 1962 Missal have no problem with vocations and yet have to suffer ridicule and judgement from some Church officials!
Given that they are winning many back to Christ with a liturgy and outlook that is confident and focused on a concern for souls, surely this news from Belfast must be welcomed. It’s a lot more positive that what the ‘tree hugging’ synod is displaying currently in Rome!
Fr John McCallion,
Mountjoy Road, Clonoe.
Secular compromise is at odds with the Faith
Dear Editor, Greg Daly’s interview with Paul Shrimpton regarding Conscience before Conformity (‘The White Rose of Conscience’, IC 10/10/19) is very timely. The relevance of Newman’s canonisation to the White Rose is apt. Dr Shrimpton’s book illustrates the influence of St John Henry Newman and other Catholic writers on the White Rose, a group of Munich University students who came together to resist Nazism.
The White Rose were gifted students, highly cultured, artistic and they also had a love of the outdoors, of sport and were popular among their age group.
It was a combination of reading, experience as conscripts on the Eastern Front and Blessed Klemens von Galen’s anti-euthanasia sermons that clarified the evil of the regime and the necessity to resist it. Five students and an academic paid for this with their lives.
The resistance against Nazism has produced hundreds of beatified martyrs with St Maximillian Kolbe and St Edith Stein, most of whom are Polish.
However, this unknown group had members as diverse as the Dutch Carmelite academic Blessed Titus Brandsma (who learned English in Dublin), the German miner turned trade unionist Blessed Nikolaus Gross, the Austrian farm labourer Blessed Franz Jägerstätter and Blessed Karl Leisner, arrested as a deacon and ordained to the priesthood in Dachau where he offered one single Mass before his death.
Unfortunately, they also testify to the fact most Catholics – bishops, priests and religious as well as laity – found it easier to conform to the secular and anti-Christian ideology that is Nazism.
It is a sad reality that a great many Catholics today, clergy and religious included, choose compromise with secular trends at odds with the Faith rather than witness to the truth.
Laytown, Co. Meath