Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Louis McRedmond

Louis McRedmond, an outstanding religious journalist of our era was buried on Thursday January 20th 2011. At and after the Funeral Mass the sadness of his passing was assuaged by the sense of gratitude, which we mourners , both Louis’s family , fellow press-folk and others, owed to this most exceptional human being. From his professional life he bequeathed to us all the memory and lasting treasure of a unique model of truthfulness, integrity, and kindness; the hallmarks of an authentic Christian gentleman.
Born in 1932, Louis McRedmond was educated at C.B.S. Mitchelstown and later at Clongowes Wood College. He then studied at U.C.D. graduating with an M.A. in history. Legal studies followed, been called to the bar in 1954. In 1958 he joined the Irish Independent as Leader Writer, rising to the responsibility of Editor in 1968. However, by 1970, the teacher in Louis edged him towards academic service and he was appointed the first Director of Journalism at the Rathmines College of Commerce. In that capacity he launched the first professional course of its kind in Ireland.
Finally Louis took over the senior post of Head of Information at R.T.E. in 1973. In that capacity he successfully promoted the establishment of the station’s second television channel (as against the alternative option, at the time, of replicating B.B.C. schedules).
After early retirement in 1986 Louis contented himself with freelance writing, together with an annual lecturing term on Broadcasting Ethics at the European Broadcasting School at Montreux in Switzerland.
Meanwhile, for thirty years, Louis McRedmond was the Irish correspondent for the English based, international Catholic weekly The Tablet.
In 1965 Louis had reported the fourth and final session of the Second Vatican Council in Rome, and this was followed by his attendance as reporter and commentator at subsequent International Church Synods. He was captivated by both the atmosphere and output of these reforming historical events. They proved to be a lasting and determinative experience in Louis’ life and marked him as a knowledgeable champion of Catholic renewal.

Louis published his first book, The Council Re-considered, in 1956. This was an authoritative and highly readable retrospective on both the conciliar achievement and its future promise. Subsequently, he was to sternly critique the unfortunate row-back on much of Blessed Pope John XX111 prophetic vision of aggiornamento (updating of Catholic thinking and practise).
His next book was followed in 1990 by a volume entitled, Thrown Among Strangers, recounting Blessed John Henry Newman’s sojourn in Ireland, in his attempt to provide a Catholic university at St. Stephens Green in Dublin. Louis published another significant historical work in 1991, entitled, To the Greater Glory, which was the story of the Jesuits in Ireland from the 16th century up to our own times. In addition, he produced a lesser known biographical dictionary, with the title, Modern Irish Life.
During this time Louis also worked as a senior editor for Gill & Mc Millan Publishers and contributed to various journals of opinion.
His last contribution came in the Dominican periodical Doctrine and Life only last November, while he was suffering his final illness. Fortuitously, it was on a topic particularly close to Louis’s heart; a scholarly and affirmative review of a recent book on John Henry Newman, entitled Heart Speaks to Heart (Newman’s motto) written by Irish Jesuit Dermot Mansfield. This review endorsed the authors’ highlighting of Newman’s consistent Christ- centred emphasis, when he (Louis), wrote “since faith is rooted in Christ, any proposition not similarly Christ centred causes us to drift away from the moorings of institutionalized Christianity”.
For me, Louis McRedmond was, in every way, and above all else, a man of encouragement. As a scholar-journalist, perpetually alive to the Christian mystery, he helped so many of us ordained ministers; perhaps more than he ever knew. He has lived and died ‘pour encourager les autres’. And we thank him for this precious gift.

No comments: