Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has given leaders and students of Australia’s two Catholic universities seven reasons why the pursuit of Catholic higher education is necessary in a world increasingly antagonistic to Christian values.
Archbishop Fisher made his comments at the inaugural St John Henry Newman Annual Symposium lecture on Australian Catholic University’s North Sydney campus.
The symposium, a joint initiative of ACU and the University of Notre Dame Australia, is to be held annually on or near the saint’s feast day of October 7.
Speaking on the topic, Newman and the Religion of the Future, Archbishop Fisher identified seven reasons for the continued pursuit of Catholic higher education.
They included the importance of providing a sympathetic environment to the exploration of spiritual matters; the need to provide an alternative to dominant wisdom; to be a place that produces scholars and students who have a holistic and robust understanding of Christian teaching; and to prepare and form citizens for the betterment of self and society through holistic education.
Rector of the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Fr Thomas Joseph White OP, was invited to deliver a response.
St John Henry Newman is best known for his instrumental lectures and essays that culminated in his seminal work, The Idea of a University and his efforts to establish the Catholic University of Ireland. He is also one of the most prominent Catholic converts in England to be declared a saint.
Within ACU, St John Henry Newman is patron of Faculty of Theology and Philosophy.
ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Zlatko Skrbis said the university was proud to partner with UNDA in honouring one of the most influential leaders of Catholic higher education.
The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Francis Campbell said it was important for Australia’s two Catholic universities to come together to honour the saint, whose work nearly 200 years ago set the foundations for two institutions.
Newman’s rich legacy (The Catholic Weekly)