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Loyola Institute is Launched at Trinity College Dublin

News feed for Trinity College Dublin.

Nov 12, 2012

The Loyola Institute and its academic programme in Catholic theology were officially launched by  Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast at Trinity College Dublin today (November 12th).

Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Dr Prendergast said:

“The vision for the Institute is to engage in critical reflection and scholarly research on the Christian faith, social justice and contemporary culture with the intellectual resources of the Catholic tradition. Through its research and teaching, the Loyola Institute will equip students to analyse changes in the role of religion in current culture and also its pluralisation. It will also help them analyse the new challenges facing societies in an age of globalisation and of great technological advances. Students will study the theology of a tradition that has marked Irish history and identity and has created intercultural connections. They will discuss and debate contemporary views on the role of religion in the public sphere and contribute to debates about the position of faith communities in pluralist democracies”.

“The establishment of the Loyola Institute in Trinity is a milestone in the institutional development of Catholic theology in Ireland and it will be ideally placed to address religious, ethical and societal questions in an academic forum and public domain.”

Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost of TCD, Fr Thomas Layden SJ , the Provincial of the Irish Jesuit Province and Chair of the Loyola Institute Trust, and Dr Cornelius Casey, Director of the Loyola Institute 

While the Institute’s curriculum will be rooted in the Catholic tradition, given the changing face of religion in the contemporary world and the diversity of theologies in the Christian traditions, it will be pursued in dialogue with  other traditions and in mutually enriching collaboration with other fields of study within the university.  The institute will be located in the Confederal School of Religions, Theology and Ecumenics at Trinity College.

Welcoming the new Institute, Fr Thomas Layden SJ, the Provincial of the Irish Jesuit Province said:

“The eight religious congregations associated with this initiative welcome the establishment of a new Institute for education and research in theology in the Catholic tradition on the campus of this great university.  We are pleased to support and collaborate, in the spirit of dialogue, with the Loyola Institute’s core mission of considered academic reflection on Christian faith, social justice and contemporary culture, in the context of a rich intellectual and spiritual tradition spanning some two millennia.  Catholic theology is a field of study that pre-dates the earliest universities and formed part of their core curriculum; it is a discipline to which many great intellects have contributed – in earlier centuries  Augustine and Aquinas, for example. And in the mystical tradition, Hildegard of  Bingen , John of the Cross, Theresa of Avila.  And in modern times Newman, Rahner, Congar, Lonergan, to name just a few;  all in a rich theological tradition  that has always assumed a basic congruence between faith and reason.  It is hardly surprising therefore that there are long-established schools in that discipline in continental and US universities; or that there are endowed Chairs of Catholic theology and related studies in many distinguished Universities including Harvard, Duke, Chicago and Durham."

"This new Institute is the outcome of discussions between the College and the eight Catholic religious Congregations associated with the Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy.  These Congregations have established an independent trust, the Loyola Institute Trust, to support and facilitate the development of the new Institute and have established an endowment fund to that end.”

Dr Cornelius J. Casey has been appointed the inaugural Director of the Institute and has developed the first undergraduate programme, a Moderatorship in Catholic Theological Studies which is offered in the current CAO handbook as a Single Honours course. Its first intake of students will be in the next academic year, 2013/14. The course has been designed to provide students with a knowledge of the Catholic theological, intellectual and cultural tradition and of critical issues that arise in the study of its origins, formative periods and foundational documents. The course has been approved by the relevant College committees and for funding by the Higher Education Authority, and students will be eligible for fee remission. Further undergraduate course offerings, such as a Two Subject Moderatorship, are being developed during the current academic year, as well as a postgraduate taught course, starting in 2014/5. The Loyola Professorship in Catholic Theology has been established and approved by the University Council and is to be advertised internationally. 

To mark its foundation, the Loyola Institute will be hosting an international conference on ‘Theology in the University: International Experiences and Contemporary Issues’ in the autumn of 2013.


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