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Cardinal Newman’s Life and Writings to be Presented at Duquesne Lecture

On the eve of his beatification by the Catholic Church later this year, Cardinal John Henry Newman’s life and writings will be the focus of the 2010 Richard T. and Marion A. Byrnes Lecture at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 16, at Duquesne University. The free lecture will be given in the Duquesne Room of the Duquesne Union and followed by a discussion with a student panel from 5 to 5:30 p.m.Monsignor Roderick Strange, a world renowned Newman scholar, will present the lecture, titled John Henry Newman: Preparing an Apologia for Our Time. Rector of The Pontifical Beda College in Rome, which was founded in 1852 to train late vocation Catholic priests, Strange previously served as chaplain at Oxford University.

“Strange made a huge contribution at Oxford University as the chaplain, using his Newman scholarship to lead people forward,” said Dr. Gerard Magill, Vernon F. Gallagher Chair at Duquesne. “And he’s dedicating a lot of time when he is here to his interaction with the student body.”

Newman is as important today as the medieval Thomas Aquinas, who systematized much of Catholic theology.

“Newman made an immense contribution to the intellectual tradition of Catholicism and focused upon the importance of the quest of holiness in the lives of university students and ordinary people,” Magill said.

A member of the Anglican clergy during the Victorian era, Newman converted from the Anglican faith to Catholicism in 1845. He described his conversion in a book known as his Apologia to explain the importance of religious belief and personal holiness in his own life. The lecture on Newman discusses the significance of “preparing an Apologia for our Time.”

Also, Newman wrote the famous work, The Idea of a University, to highlight the relation between Catholic intellectual tradition and religious belief. Today, many secular universities in the United States have Newman Centers as Catholic centers for students, faculty and staff.

The Vatican will assign the newly beatified scholar the title of Blessed Cardinal Newman. The beatification process requires one documented miracle resulting from prayer for healing and celebrates the lasting contribution of the candidate to the Catholic faith. Newman’s lasting contribution has been to foster religious belief and personal holiness among the laity, especially in the lives of university students to whom he was especially committed.

“His basic idea of education in a Catholic University is that religious discourse must be part of what he calls the ‘circle of knowledge.’ That is, religious study should be part of the robust dialogue among the various specialties in the university curriculum,” Magill said.

The Richard T. and Marion A. Byrnes Lecture Series, organized by Duquesne’s McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts and endowed by a gift from an anonymous benefactor, was created to provide a forum for leading scholars to speak about the role of the Catholic intellectual tradition in academic and civic life.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.