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.
Parsing the Australian Catholic bishops' election advice
By Andrew Hamilton
Tentative prelates dip their toe into the water after a freezing winter.
The Australian Catholic Bishops' statement on the upcoming federal election, 'Politics in Service of Peace', is significant as much for the fact that it was made as for its argument.
It comes in the middle of a long, bruising time for the Catholic Church, and for the bishops in particular, culminating in the trial and sentencing of Cardinal George Pell.
When speaking on moral issues the bishops have lost much credibility in the wider society and among Catholics. Read more
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. It has been humbling, enlightening and inspiring to take part in these important conversations—the most important conversation we could ever have. Read more
An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow
17 Oct 1938 – 29 Apr 2019
The word goes round Repins,
the murmur goes round Lorenzinis,
at Tattersalls, men look up from sheets of numbers,
the Stock Exchange scribblers forget the chalk in their hands
and men with bread in their pockets leave the Greek Club:
There's a fellow crying in Martin Place. They can't stop him.
Close and Concrete: Pope Francis Evangelizing a World in Flux
Austen Ivereigh, D.Phil
The 2019 Helder Camara Lecture at Newman College, Close and Concrete: Pope Francis Evangelizing a World in Flux, was delivered by Dr. Austen Ivereigh who is a journalist, author and commentator.
He is a former deputy editor of The Tablet and was for a time Director for Public Affairs of the former Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. Read the Lecture here.
St Patrick's Feast Day 2019
Homily at the midday Mass, Michael Whelan SM
Feast days are days for remembering. Today is our feast day. We remember the people, events and things of 175 years. This particular act of remembering by us here today, is grounded in a more general act of remembering by the Church. For the feast of St Patrick evokes a broad landscape of memories that belong to the whole Church and, we could say, the human race at large. As Sister Fidelis McTeigue is wont to remind us, there are two types of people in the world: Those who are Irish and those who want to be!
Remembering is a mysterious process. Among other things, it is crucial to our sense of identity. “If you do not know where you come from you will always be a child.”1 The words of the ancient Roman poet, Cicero. I would add: “If you don’t remember well your past, your future will be more or less stunted.”
Film Lectio II - A Human Search and The New Creation in Christ
Starts 10am Wed May 22
Repeated 6pm Wed May 22
Born into English middle class in 1906 and Oxford educated, Bede Griffiths OSB was a brilliant religious scholar and prolific author. This film tells his story, from his experiment with communal living in the English countryside, to his decision to become a Benedictine brother, and his creation of a meeting place for East and West at an ashram in Southern India. It was there he spent his last 37 years as a Catholic monk living as a Hindu holyman.
He wrote many books widely viewed as spiritual classics, including The Golden String, Return to the Center, A New Vision of Reality, and The Marriage of East and West.
Course: Thomas Aquinas on Charity
Rev Dr Andrew Murray sm
Starts Tuesday June 4
This course will involve a careful reading of section of Saint Thomas Aquinas’s writings on charity, centred on Summa Theologiae II-II qq. 23 – 27. Students will be introduced to Thomas and instructed in how to read his work. Thomas understands charity as a habit created in the human soul by the Holy Spirit. Its object is God, who without grace is beyond the human will. In loving God, a person loves other human beings in so far as they are ordered to God. In this way, Thomas unites the commandments of the Gospel.
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 Sixth Sunday of Easter (26 May 2019)
Gospel Notes by Michael Whelan SM
Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe (John 14:23-29 – NRSV).