Cardinal Pell launches new lecture series at Notre Dame

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Fall 4-4-2011

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



To launch the Bishops Speaking Out series at The University of Notre Dame Australia, His Eminence, George Cardinal Pell recently addressed a packed hall on ‘Catholic intellectual life and the universities’ at the Broadway Campus.

In explaining the contribution which Christianity has made to the intellectual life, Cardinal Pell challenged the view that “the faith that modern reason critiqued was irrational”. His Eminence argued that the idea “Christianity induced the so-called Dark Ages” is undermined by the contribution which Christian monasteries made to the preservation of learning.

“Far from burning books and destroying the learning of Ancient Rome, Christian monasteries hoarded book in their libraries and set monks to work throughout Europe copying the Latin texts of learned pagan writers such as Virgil, Ovid Cicero, Pliny and Horace and ensuring their preservation.”

Cardinal Pell said that, “it is part of the mission of a Catholic University like Notre Dame to keep alive the learning that allows reason to flourish and prosper and not wither up into a dry rationalism - which is able to study the amoeba in acute detail and recognise and explain the reality of love.”

In addition to his lecture Cardinal Pell officially launched Solidarity: The Journal for Catholic Social Thought and Secular Ethics. The bi-annual publication, a joint project between CFES, the University and the Office of Justice and Peace of the Sydney Archdiocese, promotes ethical reflection on a range of topics and issues of practical importance and theological and secular significance.

The Cardinal’s talk marked the first of a series of lectures, hosted by the Centre for Faith, Ethics and Society, which will see Catholic Bishops of Australia ‘speaking out’ on their area of special interest and their discipline base.

The discussions aim to give the audience a deeper understanding of the Church’s involvement in issues relevant to education, health, social justice, religious commitment and community life.

Future speakers in the Series will include: Archbishop Coleridge (DD, BA, DSS), Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Archbishop Hickey (DD, OAM, STL, BA, MSocWk), Archbishop of Perth and Bishop Hurley (DD), Bishop of Darwin

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