Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

St. John Henry Newman—The Idea of a University | Duties of the Church towards Knowledge

By James T. Majewski ( bio - articles - email ) | Jan 20, 2024 | In Catholic Culture Audiobooks (Podcast)

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“If the Catholic Faith is true, a University cannot exist externally to the Catholic pale, for it cannot teach Universal Knowledge if it does not teach Catholic theology. This is certain; but still, though it had ever so many theological Chairs, that would not suffice to make it a Catholic University... a direct and active jurisdiction of the Church over it and in it is necessary, lest it should become the rival of the Church with the community at large in those theological matters which to the Church are exclusively committed.”

In 1854, Newman was invited to Dublin by the Catholic Bishops of Ireland to serve as rector for the newly established Catholic University of Ireland, now University College, Dublin. Though he retired after only four years, during this time he composed and delivered the lectures that would become The Idea of a University.

In this final discourse, Newman concludes with a reflection upon the central and direct role which the Church must play in the life of a University and upon its pursuits: “She fears no knowledge, but she purifies all; she represses no element of our nature, but cultivates the whole... her principle is one and the same throughout: not to prohibit truth of any kind, but to see that no doctrines pass under the name of Truth but those which claim it rightfully.”

Links

Cluny Media edition: https://clunymedia.com/collections/john-henry-newman/products/the-idea-of-a-university

The Idea of a University full text: https://www.newmanreader.org/works/idea/

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James T. Majewski is Director of Customer Relations for CatholicCulture.org, the “voice” of Catholic Culture Audiobooks, and co-host of Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. Based in New York City, he holds both a BA in Philosophy and an MFA in Acting. See full bio.

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