Development & Alumni Relations Office 


26 September 2018

Dr Aidan Donaldson, BA Politics (1980), PhD Scholastic Philosophy (1987) – writer, lecturer, social justice activist and former chaplain at St Mary’s Christian Brothers’ Grammar School in Belfast – has published a book in which he explores the significance of the six modern-day beatitudes outlined by Pope Francis almost two years ago.

The Beatitudes of Pope Francis – a Manifesto for the Modern Christian, will be launched formally at an event in the Holy Family Church, Belfast on 17 October.

Pope Francis introduced his new beatitudes during a homily on the Sermon on the Mount in Malmo, Sweden in November 2016.  

Focusing on faithfulness, forgiveness and ecumenism, in his beatitudes, Pope Francis emphasises his deep-seated concern for the disenfranchised, the marginalised and the poor. These are themes that Dr Donaldson explores through the lives of a number of Irish Christians who are striving to change the world around them for the better.

Well known in the Irish Church and beyond, and a founder member of Project Zambia, Dr Donaldson presents the new beatitudes not as alternatives to the familiar blessings from the Sermon on the Mount, but as fresh signposts towards discipleship in everyday life.

Speaking to the Irish News last month, Dr Donaldson said Pope Francis's contemporary beatitudes emphasise ‘his deep-seated concern for, among others, the disenfranchised, for humanitarians, those who work towards repairing our relationship with the earth and those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.’

Reviewing the book in Slugger O’Toole in August, Gladys Ganiel – a Research Fellow in the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s – said that The Beatitudes of Pope Francis – a Manifesto for the Modern Christian ‘may be of interest to people outside the Christian churches, who are curious to gain other perspectives on what faith in Ireland looks like beyond the long shadow of the abuse crisis.’    

Dr Donaldson is an associate consultant in ethos and Catholic schools for the Diocese of Down and Connor and previously lectured in philosophy at St Malachy's Junior Seminary, Belfast.

He works on a range of projects that advocate for the marginalised and dispossessed in both Ireland and Zambia, and is the author of a number of books.

Further details of ‘The Beatitudes of Pope Francis – a Manifesto for the Modern Christian’ (which is published by Veritas) are available here.

General enquiries to Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO), tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5321.



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