Failure of the Catholic University

When told that the authorities in Dublin were beginning to unravel the constitution he had fashioned so carefully for the Catholic University, Newman told a friend: ‘I never have been wedded to any view of mine – the great question always is whether a paper constitution will work — and it costs me no trouble to believe that much has to be altered in mine. […] Internal dissension is the only real evil.’ (Newman to Ornsby, 1 August 1859)

As if to console Ornsby, he wrote soon afterwards to reassure him: ‘It does not prove that what I have written and planned will not take effect sometime and somewhere because it does not at once. […] When I am gone, something may come of what I have done at Dublin’. (Newman to Ornsby, 15 December 1859)

The Dublin ‘disaster’ fitted a pattern that was not man’s, but of a higher order: ‘It is the rule of God’s Providence that we should succeed by failure.’(Newman to Lord Braye, 29 October 1882)


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