Academic journal article Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

Margaret Press RSJ, 'Saints and Scholars': The Catholic Theological Faculty in Sydney 1954-2004

Academic journal article Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

Margaret Press RSJ, 'Saints and Scholars': The Catholic Theological Faculty in Sydney 1954-2004

Article excerpt

MARGARET PRESS RSJ, 'Saints and Scholars': The Catholic Theological Faculty in Sydney 1954-2004, Catholic Institute of Sydney, Sydney, 2004; ISBN: 0-908224-22-2.

This small book tells the story of a quite remarkable, and happy, survival. Fifty years ago, in 1954, Cardinal Gilroy, Archbishop of Sydney, won from Rome authority to grant theological degrees at his seminary, St Patrick's College, Manly. The move was part of a broader plan he had for the tertiary education of Catholics in this country. But being aimed especially at clergy, this particular project was, to his mind, fundamental and all important.

To complement the existing system of schools, Australia needed a Catholic university for lay people, he believed. And more of the local church's leaders, its priests, ought also be able to gain at home the benefits of the Roman theological education which previously only an elite group of the country's clergy had enjoyed. Hence, 'the faculty', as it came to be called at Manly. And the hope (picked up in the title of this book) that it might become a school for 'saints and scholars' in the land.

Making her way through very confusing times, Sr Press points to the outcome of these brave intentions, fifty years on. In spite of the failure of Cardinal Gilroy's efforts to establish one in the 1950s, there is now a Catholic University operating successfully across Australia, along with a private sister institution, Notre Dame University, in Fremantle. …

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