Senior church graduates of Trinity College, Dublin have reacted with disappointment and anger at the college’s decision to remove the Bible from its official insignia, in a new branding initiative.
The eminent institution, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I as the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, is taking religious symbolism out of its official crest.
The Bible is being replaced with “an open book” in what is described as “a deliberate and symbolic change”.
Trinity graduate, the Rev Dr William Morton, Dean of Londonderry’s St Columb’s Church of Ireland cathedral, said it was “political correctness gone totally mad”.
“I am justifiably proud to have been a Trinity graduate, but this decision to remove the Bible from the insignia is extremely regrettable,” he said.
“It flies in the face of the whole history and tradition of TCD as an ancient seat of learning. It is like not being able to put up a Christmas tree in case of offending ethnic groups. It is absolutely ridiculous.”
Former Church of Ireland Dean of Belfast, the Rev Dr Houston McKelvey, who spent two years at Trinity, said: “The irony of a college dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity being reluctant to have a Bible on its crest is beyond even the celebrated Dean Jonathan Swift’s satirical capability.”
Other Church of Ireland clergy, including Cork bishop Paul Colton, criticised the Trinity board for failure to consult and its disregard for the foundation of a college as a place to train Anglican clergy, and also the contribution of Anglican scholarship to the college.
The college previously told staff and students it would retain the Bible, with other long-standing symbols: the lion, castle and harp.
However, a college memo confirms the Bible will be replaced by an open book “to signify the tradition of scholarship which should be accessible to all”.
The aim is to create “a more forward-looking image”, along with the college’s planned new brand name – Trinity College, the University of Dublin, which is to be used instead of TCD. Colouring in the new logo, to be unveiled in September, will change from five to two – blue and white.
For most of its 422-year life span, Trinity has had a strongly Christian ethos, with a Protestant Reformed tradition.