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Patrick Murray

Theologian, b. in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland, November 18, 1811; d. Nov. 15, 1882, in Maynooth College

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Murray, Patrick, theologian, b. in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland, November 18, 1811; d. November 15, 1882, in Maynooth College. He received his early education in his native town of Clones, entered Maynooth College August 25, 1829, the year of Catholic emancipation, among the first class of emancipated entrants, went through the ordinary course with great distinction and was elected a Dunboyne, or senior student in June, 1835. Towards the end of the Dunboyne course he accepted a curacy in Francis Street, Dublin, where in a short time he acquired the reputation of a zealous worker and an eloquent preacher. He was appointed professor of English and French in Maynooth, on September 7, 1838, after the usual concursus, or examination, and after three years in this position he was appointed professor of theology, after another brilliant concursus, on August 27, 1841. The remainder of his life he devoted mainly to theological science. In 1879 he was appointed prefect of the Dunboyne Establishment, which position he retained until his death in 1882. His principal works are: “Essays, Chiefly Theological” (4 vols., Dublin, 1850-53); “De Ecclesia Christi” (3 vols., Dublin, 1860-62-66); “De Ecclesia Christi”, compendium (Dublin, 1874); “De Gratia” (Dublin, 1877); “De Veneratione et Invocatione Sanctorum”, etc.; “De Impedimentis Matrimoni Dirimentibus” (Dublin, 1881); “Prose and Verse” (Dublin, 1867); “Lectures (on Moore’s poetry) before Cork Young Men’s Society” (Cork, 1856). Dr. Murray was a man of high intellectual power, of big projects, and of great activity and perseverance. He would certainly have risen to great eminence in the world of literature, had he remained professor of English, as he was possessed of literary and poetic gifts of a high order. But he chose the domain of theology. He wrote for the Dublin Review and for magazines. In 1850 he announced his intention of publishing a series of volumes on subjects chiefly theological, to supply the Catholic laity with exact and reliable information on the debated religious questions of the day. He published four volumes under the title: “Essays, Chiefly Theological”. But though he intended at the beginning to extend the work to seven or eight volumes, he discontinued the Essays after the fourth volume, to devote himself to the great work of his life, his “De Ecclesia Christi”. This work involved immense labor. It is a work of great learning, a masterpiece in positive and controversial theology, which at once placed its author in the front rank of dogmatic theologians. While not neglecting the views of the continental reformers, the author made a special study of the works of all the leading Anglican divines; and hence his work became the standard authority for the exposition and refutation of the then current Anglican views about the Church. Though writing in 1860, ten years before the Vatican definition, the author with great power establishes the doctrine of papal infallibility. The treatise, “De Gratia”, excellent in itself, was intended as a textbook for students; as was also the less perfect work, “De Veneratione et Invocatione Sanctorum”. Dr. Murray was ever kind and considerate for his students, by whom he was always respected and loved. He was of a retiring disposition, of a deeply religious nature, and of great saintliness of life.


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