Cullen was a Roman Catholic Archbishop
of Dublin who became the first Irish Cardinal.
Born 29 April 1803 Narraghmore, County Kildare, Ireland
He died 24 October 1878 (aged 75) Eccles Street, Dublin, Ireland.
Buried in Holy Cross College, Dublin, Ireland.
Hugh Cullen of Prospect, Co Kildare, was the
father of Cardinal Cullen.
A trained biblical theologian and scholar of ancient languages, he is
best known for his crafting of the formula for papal infallibility at
the First Vatican Council. He is largely credited for ushering in the
devotional revolution experienced in Ireland through the second half of
the 19th century and much of the 20th century. He advocated successfully
for the Roman Catholic church's control of Irish education.
school days, ironically, were spent at the Quaker Shackleton School in
nearby Ballitore. He was one of 16 children. Following the relaxation of
some of the Penal Laws, his father, Hugh Cullen, had purchased some 700
acres, giving him the status of a "strong" Catholic farmer, a class that
greatly influenced 19th-century Irish society. They were fervent in
their Catholicism and fearful of the sort of social unrest which had led
to the failed 1798 Rising.
Paul Cullen entered St. Patrick's, Carlow College in 1816, and
proceeded, in 1820, to the College of Propaganda in Rome where his name
is registered on the roll of students on 29 November 1820. At the close
of a distinguished course of studies, he was selected to hold a public
disputation in the halls of Propaganda on 11 September 1828, in 224
theses from all theology and ecclesiastical history.
This theological tournament was privileged in many ways, for Pope Leo
XII, attended by his court, presided on the occasion, while no fewer
than ten cardinals assisted at it, together with all the élite of
ecclesiastical Rome. Abbate Pecci, the future Pope Leo XIII, was present
at the disputation. During his studies, Cullen acquired knowledge of
classical and Oriental languages. He was later appointed to the chairs
of Hebrew and Sacred Scripture in the schools of Propaganda, and
receiving at the same time the charge of the famed printing
establishment of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda. This later
charge he resigned in 1832, when appointed rector of the Irish College
in Rome, but during the short term of his administration he published a
standard edition of the Greek and Latin Lexicon of Benjamin Hedericus,
which still holds its place in the Italian colleges; he also edited the
Acts of the Congregation of Propaganda in seven quarto volumes, and
other important works.
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