Waugh at Campion College, Sydney

The Australian newspaper has posted an article based on the Occasional Address given by Dyson Heydon, a former High Court judge, at the recent graduation ceremony of Campion College in Sydney. He opens with this:

Campion College is a small liberal arts college covering key aspects of Western languages, literature, history, philosophy and theology, together with mathematics and science. It has a Catholic ethos. Naming it after Edmund Campion made a significant statement. Campion was born in 1540. He was executed in 1581. He was canonised in 1970. His biographer Evelyn Waugh said his career was that of scholar, priest, hero and martyr. He noted that Campion’s life was “a simple, perfectly true story of heroism and holiness”.

As a scholar — a fellow of St John’s College, Oxford — Campion was both a theologian and a scientist. He thus personified the long connection between the Jesuits and experimental science. Indeed, at 26 he achieved a brilliant success when, on Elizabeth I’s visit to Oxford in 1566, he addressed her on scientific subjects.

The quote comes from the Preface written by Waugh for the second edition of Edmund Campion: Scholar, Priest, Hero and Martyr (Boston, 1946). The article goes on to describe Edmund Campion’s career (probably based on Waugh’s biography) and the founding of Campion College in 2006. This is housed in a former monastery in the Sydney suburbs. The article also relates in some detail the distinctions between Campion College, which is devoted to the “liberal arts”, and other larger and more diverse colleges and universities and concludes:

… A small institution such as Campion can help ensure the development of a pluralistic tradition, independently of mega-institutions emanating from and parasitic on the modern state. A small body can develop and preserve qualities that giants may have forgotten, or, if they remember them, may seek to destroy. That is especially so when a small body is independent of the state, uninfected by the state, and nourished by sources of which the state knows nothing.

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