Cardinal Newman, who will be beatified by Pope Benedict in September, is the subject of a lecture by well-known author Michael Paul Gallagher SJ, in Gardiner St Church, Wed 1 Sept, at 7.30pm, 2011.
“Even in his own day Newman was seen as one of the giants of his time. When he died, hundreds of tributes were published in British Newspapers and journals including those who had little time for the Church”, says Gallagher. “And even James Joyce was later to admit to feeling jealousy of Newman’s ‘silver veined’ language!”
Newman came to Ireland in 1852 to found a new Catholic University. When he lived for a time in Lower Dorset Street, he usually came to the Church of St. Francis Xavier, Gardiner St to say Mass, and to have breakfast with the Jesuit community afterwards. He was a relatively recent convert to Catholicism, having been received into the Church in October 1845. After his conversion to Catholicism, he was painfully disappointed by various aspects of Church life, but he never doubted that it was his true spiritual home.
Before his conversion he had been a famous figure in Oxford University, known for the depth of his sermons and for his leadership of a reform movement inside the Anglican Church. Apart from his celebrated lectures on the nature of a university, his years in Ireland were difficult and eventually he resigned as Rector of the fledgling university. Back in the Oratory in Birmingham, which he had founded, he devoted himself to writing and especially to rethinking the foundations of Christian faith and to defending the Catholic Church from prejudiced criticism. In the seventies he came under a cloud of suspicion, at least in the eyes of certain authorities in Rome, but in 1879 a new Pope, Leo XIII named him a Cardinal. He lived the last decade of his life quietly and died in his 90th year in 1890.
Michael Paul Gallagher’s presentation will take some major concerns of Newman and ask how his explorations can be of relevance in today’s situation. “A key question for him was how faith could be credible in an age dominated by science, and here he invites us to deepen the agenda of our searching. He insisted that we need to listen to an inner voice in our conscience and heart. Living a long life in a century of enormous change, he faced up to the challenges of his culture, and can help us to discern the new culture that surrounds us today.”
You can listen to a podcast interview by Michael Paul Gallagher on his upcoming lecture by clicking here: