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.
Archbishop Wilson: Fair cop or foul?
By Alan Atkinson
Archbishop Philip Wilson has gone from church leader with a reputation for dealing professionally with sex abuse cases to being stoned by all and sundry in the national village square. The calls to resign come not only from victims, anti-church crusaders and commentators of every ilk, but also eminent Catholics who fear he may cause more damage by staying on.
I do not wish to debate the rights or wrongs of resignation but simply reflect on whether the pursuit of Wilson could in any sense be described as a witch-hunt and whether he might be seen as a scapegoat for the sins of many.
First, I do not know Wilson and have interviewed him just once. Read more
Concerning Laws Demanding Disclosure - A Response from St Patrick's Church
Michael Whelan SM
What does the Royal Commission recommend?
“Laws concerning mandatory reporting to child protection authorities should not exempt persons
in religious ministry from being required to report knowledge or suspicions formed, in whole or in
part, on the basis of information disclosed in or in connection with a religious confession.” ...
Comment: This recommendation is dangerously open-ended. See full article
Why the Catholic Church doesn’t want to break its seal of confession
South Australia has joined the ACT in moving ahead with laws to force priests to break the seal of confession in child sexual abuse cases. Other states are still deliberating over whether they'd adopt that recommendation from the Royal Commission.
Catholic Church leaders reject the idea and say they'd refuse to abide by the laws. And one prominent theologist and politician says priests' mandatory reporting is not the most effective way of fixing problems within the Catholic Church.
Michael Whelan SM was recently interviewed by the ABC's Catherine Gregory on this issue. Listen here
Tour to India - Yearning for Peace
Marie Fonseca (above, Spice Odyssey) is organising her 7th tour to South India “Yearning for Peace” from February 3 – 25, 2019. The highlight of this pilgrimage will be a five night’s meditation/yoga retreat with daily mass led by Fr. Joe Pereira (Mumbai), in Goa. For further information, please contact:
Marie Fonseca: 02 9344 0523 or 0418 265 117
Website: www.spiceodyssey.net.au (for more information and to to download a flyer)
Information evenings: Two Information evenings are planned, one in Sydney towards the end of July and one in Melbourne, mid-August. Dates to be confirmed.
Subverting idolatry in churches and banks
Even after three weeks, the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry has come to resemble the earlier Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
We have seen the same initial resistance to a public enquiry, the same insistence that revelations of sexual or financial abuse reflected a few bad apples and not a bad culture, the same endorsement when the royal commission was called, and the same shaming as the public questioning of hapless senior officials followed damning evidence of abuse and of the failure to address it. Read more
How we came to be so cruel to asylum seekers
If you had been told 30 years ago that Australia would create the least asylum seeker friendly institutional arrangements in the world, you would not have been believed.
In 1992 we introduced a system of indefinite mandatory detention for asylum seekers who arrive by boat. Since that time, we have accepted the idea that certain categories of refugees and asylum seekers can be imprisoned indefinitely; that those who are intercepted by our navy should be forcibly returned to the point of departure; that those who haven’t been able to be forcibly returned should be imprisoned indefinitely on remote Pacific Islands...Read more
Conscience, hope and the double bind
Michael Whelan SM
One of the most wonderful gifts one human being can give another is the sense of realistic possibility. The presence of faith, hope and love tends to do this for us – especially when we are young and vulnerable. When others – typically parents – communicate faith in us, hope for us and love no matter what, it can awaken a realistic sense of our own dignity and worth and allow us to engage the world with some confidence and honesty. It tends to engender in us a life-giving sense of possibility, preparing us for adulthood ...
Course: Developing Your Own Spirituality, Unit II
Crises & dimensions, thinking & willing
Starts Thursday 2 August
& Wednesday 7 November
In Unit I we focused on some general principles underlying the development of a healthy spirituality. In Unit II we will focus more on particular concrete facets of spirituality. Walker Percy, the American essayist, wrote: “It is pilgrims we are, wayfarers on a journey, and not pigs, not angels.” (Walker Percy, Love in the Ruins: Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World, Avon Books, 1978, 104.)
Pilgrims frequently come to crossroads, choices must be made – sometimes without much knowledge of what the consequences might be. Commitment to the journey is more about departing than arriving. It is more a matter of grace than conquest. This is a hard-won realization.
Spiritual Practices and Attitudes 6 – Eucharist and Forgiveness
Notes by Michael Whelan SM
“That by the Eucharist are remitted and pardoned lighter sins, commonly called venial, should not be matter for doubt. For whatever the soul has lost through the ardour of passion, by falling into some slight offence, all this the Eucharist, cancelling those same lesser faults, repairs, in the same manner .... Justly therefore has it been said of this heavenly sacrament by St. Ambrose, ‘That daily bread is taken as a remedy for daily infirmity’.” (Part II, Chapter IV, Question L The Eucharist remits Venial Sins. T A Buckley, The Catechism of the Council of Trent, London: George Routledge and Co., 1852, 239.)
“The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”
Gospel for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (22 July 2018)
Gospel Notes by Michael Whelan SM
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. (Mark 6:30-34 – NRSV)