Medicine in Dublin

Newman hoped the Catholic University would eventually have ‘a school of medical practitioners, who do not merely avail themselves of our classes, but are identified with Alma Mater as her children and her servants, and who will go out into the wide world as specimens and patterns of a discipline which is at once Catholic and professional’. (Report for the Year 1855–56)

‘Medicine and Surgery, considered as Arts, are confronted, at the great eras of human life, at birth and at death, with a higher teaching, and are forced, whether they will or no, into co-operation or collision with Theology; so again the Practitioner himself is the constant companion, for good or for evil, of the daily ministrations of religion, the most valuable support, or the most painful embarrassment, of the parish priest.’ (Report for the Year 1855–56)

Any study, when pursued exclusively, tends from the very constitution of the human mind to close itself against truths which lay beyond its range; and, unless the claims of revealed religion were recognised in the arts faculty (which at the time included science), they would be regarded as disproved, merely because they were beyond the reach of its investigations. In like manner, ‘the presence, though not the interference, of Theology is necessary in the lecture-halls and theatres of Medical, as of other Science, by way of rescuing scientific teaching, whatever be its subject-matter, from a narrowness of mind, of which indifference to religion is only one specimen. The Catholic University, then, will have done a great service to Medical Students, if it secures them against the risk of forgetting the existence of theological truth, and its independence of the teaching of Philosophy and Science.’ (Report for the Year 1855–56)

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