The Christopher Dawson Centre for Cultural Studies was officially launched at Parliament House in Hobart this week. The Centre, which formally came into existence in November 2013, was launched enthusiastically by the Hon. Tim Fischer AC in the presence of the patron Archbishop Julian Porteous along with other church, academic and civic dignitaries and invited guests.
Host for the evening, Dr David Daintree welcomed guests who had travelled from around Tasmania and interstate for the celebration. They were entertained by anecdotes from Mr Fischer who told guests, among other things, that Australia’s first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton, visited Rome in 1902 where he met Pope Pius X and conversed with him in Latin.
Archbishop Porteous recognised that Christopher Dawson had quite unique insights into the nature of human civilisation, the basic message being that cultural development depends on a religious foundation.
Christopher Dawson (1889 – 1970) was a British historian who was brought up an Anglican, converted to Roman Catholicism in 1914, and is principally known for his powerful defence of the vital role of the Christian religion as a major strand of Western culture.
The Centre is planning a number of talks throughout each year and will invite distinguished guest speakers from Australia and abroad. In 2015, a colloquium is planned with the title: ‘Ideas dangerous to a secular world’. Other activities will include the provision of short courses in philosophy and theology.