Loyola bids farewell to founding director
The Loyola Institute’s two-day ‘Festival of Theology’, on ‘Theology and the University, took place in Trinity College Dublin (20-21 May 2022). It was preceded on Thursday 19 by a free public lecture from Dr Cornelius Casey, followed by a wine reception. This well-attended event was a celebration of the first ten years of the Institute; it also marked Con’s contribution as its first director, as he retires from his academic post in Trinity.
Con was warmly introduced by Professor Neville Cox, who spoke of Con as a friend as well as a colleague. Words of appreciation were expressed afterwards by Professor Fáinche Ryan, who commended Con’s rapport with students, and by Father Tom Layden on behalf of the Loyola Trust, remembering Con’s enthusiasm during the negotiations to establish the Institute in Trinity.
The lecture, entitled “Theology in a Conversation about Hope”, explored one of Con’s favourite themes, considering the theological virtue of hope, poetically described as a ‘little girl’. Con spoke about twentieth-century examples of hope even in situations of catastrophe, such as Osip and Nadezhada Mandelstam in Stalinist Russia, and Charles Péguy writing his book-length poem The Portal of the Mystery of Hope during the devastating occupation of France in 1941-44. Theology is not poetry, and yet these writers insist on the importance of hope with an intensity of faith.