What might be faithfully described “as an assemblage of learned men, who will create a pure and clear atmosphere of thought of which the attributes are freedom, equitableness,calmness, moderation and wisdom?” And who do you think might have formulated such a description?

The answer is John Henry Newman, a graduate of Oxford University.

Watching  mature politicians,  Oxford graduates, comporting themselves in the European and British Parliaments, in front of cameras and microphones, you might wonder where Newman got his “IDEA OF A UNIVERSITY” – a series of discourses he delivered in Dublin in the 1850s.

Newman was an idealist but not a fool. James Joyce considered him the greatest  Prose stylist in the English language of the 19th century, and the Catholic Church recognises himas a saint.

Newman was invited by the Irish Catholic bishops to be Rector of the newly established Catholic University in Dublin and it was there that he gave his Discourses. Terry Eagleton comments that Newman’s outlook “is a fine instance of the liberal fallacy that only the view from nowhere is likely to elicit the truth – that specific instances are an obstacle to genuine understanding rather than what might make it possible.” The Irish bishops on the one hand, and advanced nationalists on the other, had  concerns more firmly grounded.

Anyhow neither the Irish Government nor University College Dublin, which arose out of Newman’s College deigned to be represented in Rome for Newman’s Canonisation last October.

It’s nearly 170 years since Newman expressed his idea of a University and U.C.D. has not been a Catholic Institution since 1908, when it, and the former Queen’s Colleges in Cork and Galway, became constituent colleges of the National University in Ireland.

It seems that in Cork the current President  of its College, Professor Patrick G O’Shea ,hasn’t quite grasped the idea of a National institution in Ireland. Casting his eyes on other days, he sighs for a sycophant Irishry.

Writing to alumni of the College ,he writes of the year 1845, when their “forebearers” – “a starving community”  ignoring their petty appetites, raised their eyes to the blessings of tertiary education to “build the stout walls of the Quad” still standing.

I find it hard to believe that many of their “forebearers”were  Papishes,  For they preferred “deferred gratification” to immediate satisfaction, and demonstrated “the Protestant Work Ethic” identified by Max Weber.

In his appeal Professor O’Shea cites work in which UCC alumni are engaged in looking for an anti-virus in partnership with pharmaceutical businesses.

Max Weber’s work was named “THE PROTESTANT WORK ETHIC AND THE SPIRIT OF CAPITALISM”.  It was the spirit of capitalism which caused starvation in Cork when ships laden with Irish produced grain, vegetables, butter, fish, livestock and meat were making their way through the port under guard by the soldiers of the Queen  whose name was given to the College.                    

When the current Queen of England visited Cork, a Professor there had gotten out of hiding a statue of Queen Victoria “The Famine Queen” for her edification. The sycophantic blighter was named Murphy.  What a rotten Spud.

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