Newman Studies Journal

Volume 1, Issue 1, Spring 2004

Marvin R. O’Connell
Pages 49-61

Newman and the Irish Bishops

What was the background to Newman’s rectorship of the Catholic University in Dublin? In 1845 the British government proposed to establish three non-denominational colleges in Ireland; some of the Irish bishops felt that it would be possible to work out a modus vivendi with the government. A slight majority of the bishops, however, opposed these so-called “godless” colleges and voted at the Synod of Thurles in 1850, to found a Catholic University in Ireland—a country that had been repeatedly decimated by poverty and oppression, and a few years earlier the potato famine (1845-48).