Newman the rector

Undoubtedly the spiritual health of the University was one of Newman’s main concerns as its rector, although it would be a mistake to think of it as something separate from his desire for the intellectual vitality of the University and for the all-round development of its students, as if these three aims were incompatible.

Naturally, Newman made provision for Religious instruction at the Catholic University and he himself preached at the University Church, Dublin.

While he saw it as the task of the University to teach doctrine, it was the task of the collegiate house to nurture religious growth and practice. He laid down that all those residing in the collegiate houses should receive ‘spiritual direction’, usually from the dean or chaplain of the house, and that they should go to confession regularly with one or the other of them. Mass was to be said daily in each collegiate house, which had its own chapel, but attendance was optional.

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