Friday, June 17, 2011

Update on Ushaw College

The Catholic Herald provides an update on the fate of Ushaw College--including the photo of the beautiful Chapel of St. Cuthbert--with some very good news, hailed by Eamon Duffy:

The historic estate at Ushaw College may be turned into a centre for Catholic scholarship run by Durham University, it emerged this week.

The move would allow a vast collection of medieval manuscripts and other treasures to stay in one place and be opened up to the public through exhibitions.

It will be considered as part of a feasibility study that was agreed by the college trustees – the bishops of the north of England – last week.

Their decision, which has been hailed as a “breakthrough” by historians and conservationists, comes as the 200-year-old seminary at the college prepares to close.

If the offer by Durham University is accepted, Ushaw’s library, chapel and Georgian frontage would become part of the university’s rapidly expanding Centre for Catholic Studies, a unit of its theology department. Uses are still being sought for the rest of the site, however.

Dr Eamon Duffy, a Catholic historian, praised the bishops’ decision as “enlightened” and said it was “an enormous relief to all of us who care about the Church and its past”.

He said: “The Catholic Church asserts the indispensibility of tradition, yet in this country Catholics have not always been good stewards of our own traditions.”

The college’s magnificent 19th-century buildings and Pugin chapel “embody the resurgence of Catholicism” following the penal laws, Dr Duffy said. Its library, which specialises in medieval manuscripts, has “few rivals” in Britain, he added.

Very good news, indeed--better outcome than I thought likely earlier this year.

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