The Aquinas Academy
The Aquinas Academy was set up under the auspices of the Australian Province of the Marist Fathers by Fr Austin Woodbury SM in March 1945. The Academy began as a centre for the study of Philosophy and Theology in the Thomistic tradition. For some twenty-nine years it continued in this capacity under Fr Woodbury's guidance, in premises at the back of St Patrick's Church, Gloucester Street, in The Rocks (Sydney, NSW). For a short while the Academy offered a License in Philosophy under accreditation from the University of St Thomas in Rome. Since its inception, a number of qualified priests, religious and laity have been part of the lecturing staff. The Academy was one of the pioneers of Catholic adult education in Australia.
Since 1975, the Academy has increasingly focused on general adult education in the faith. Perhaps the most popular of the programs mounted was the Christian Growth Program, offering basic education in theology, morality, psychology and spirituality.
Is Cardinal Pell a Martyr?
The Australian Church Tries to Move On
Because he has a weak heart and must build strength in his chest muscles, the seventy-seven-year-old Australian cardinal asks for a broom he can push around the jail’s exercise yard each day. The remaining twenty-three hours of his solitary confinement in Melbourne Assessment Prison George Pell reads and writes, when not sleeping and praying. He is not allowed to say Mass. Read more
Sacred Silence in Literature and the Arts Conference
4-5 October 2019 at ACU, Strathfield
This conference is a coming together of artists, writers, musicians, academics and practitioners of the sacred from different faith and no-faith traditions. The conference will offer opportunities to explore and experience.
Registration is now open. More information
Tour - India North and South
Marie Fonseca (Spice Odyssey) is organising a tour to India “India, North and South” from September 16 – October 2, 2019. The highlights of this tour include a visit to the Taj, Agra and the Backwaters of Kerala.
For further information, please contact Marie Fonseca on 0418 265 117 or email
Ideological bias cannot taint our approach to sexual abuse
By Matt Malone, S.J.
Pope Benedict XVI
Since last summer I have taken part in about a dozen panels and programs across this country that were organized to discuss the causes and consequences of the crisis of sexual abuse of minors by members of the Catholic clergy. I have visited several cities and met people from every walk of life—victims, survivors, bishops, priests and religious, lay leaders, moms and dads, young and old. Read more
Days of Solitude and Silence 2019
Sorry Jul 27 cancelled.
Next Date: Sept 21
Aquinas Academy has a place of solitude and silence called "Nazareth". It is situated 75 minutes from the Sydney CBD at Colo.
We organize special days on which we take small groups there for a few hours of solitude and silence.
Course: Laudato Si’ - Care of our common home
Starts 10am Thu August 1
The Pope’s 2015 ground-breaking encyclical about the current ecological crisis, Laudato Si’, sought a wide readership both inside and outside the Catholic Church. Not only has it succeeded in this endeavour, it has received strong praise from influential commentators from many diverse backgrounds. For instance, Robert Manne – one of Australia’s leading public intellectuals and a secular Jew – calls it ‘one of the most important documents of our era’.
Course: Restorative Dialogue - The Explicit Practice of Relationships
Terry O'Connell OAM
Starts 10am Tues Aug 6
In this series of talks, you will be invited on a ‘journey’ to discover how restorative dialogue helps build and sustain healthy relationships. Estrangement and separation often result from our inability to deal with vulnerability. By understanding the ‘why’ of relationships, the ‘what’ we do to strengthen those relationships becomes more purposeful.
Of God and Safeguarding
Thomas Ryan sm
Safeguarding, protection of children and vulnerable adults: protocols, police checks, training. Who would have imagined these words as daily currency in the Catholic Church 20 years ago? Since then, we’ve been confronted by the devastating moral failure of the Church (and other institutions) – in public ministry and leadership.
The sexual abuse crisis, it has been said, is, perhaps, the Church’s 9/11. We are called to confront deliberate denial and evil. This requires, most importantly, acknowledging the pain and suffering of victims and survivors and a determination to stand with them.
Spiritual Practices and Attitudes 9 - I Sought and I Found
Notes by Michael Whelan SM
A few years before he died, the monk, Carlo Carretto (1910-1988), returned to Italy from the Sahara Desert, after many years living among the Bedouin. He wrote a document entitled, “I Sought and I Found”. There he tells of his inner journey and his struggles with God. He concludes the document with a letter to the church. The letter begins:
“How much I must criticise you, my church and yet how much I love you! You have made me suffer more than anyone and yet I owe you more than I owe anyone. I should like to see you destroyed and yet I need your presence. You have given me much scandal and yet you alone have made me understand holiness.
Gospel for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (21 July 2019)
Gospel Notes by Michael Whelan SM
Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42 – NRSV)
“On the heels of the good Samaritan episode, this one emphasizes the listening to the word of Jesus, something that goes beyond love of one’s neighbor. Martha’s service is not repudiated (by Jesus), but he stresses that its elaborate thrust may be misplaced.