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.
Tour to India - Yearning for Peace
Information Evening Update
Join Spice Odyssey on a Yoga and Meditation tour to India, “Yearning for Peace”.
Are you searching for peace? Take the first step and find out more about this quest for peace at Information Evenings to be held in Sydney and Melbourne.
Sydney Information Evening has been cancelled.
Please see the Spice Odyssey website for further updates.
Date: Thursday, 13th September 2018
Time: 6pm start
Venue: To be advised.
Marie Fonseca: 02 9344 0523 or 0418 265 117
Website: www.spiceodyssey.net.au (for more information and to to download a flyer)
No media witch-hunt on Wilson
By Suzanne Smith
I refer to the article by Alan Atkinson published 12 July posing the question 'whether the pursuit of Wilson could in any sense be described as a witch-hunt', and making the suggestion that despite the court's judgment against him Wilson 'believes he has told the truth and is unwilling to give in to what he perceives to be a witch-hunt'.
In May 2018 Archbishop Wilson was convicted of concealing a serious indictable offence relating to the sexual abuse of a teenage boy by a priest in his diocese. Wilson is the highest ranking Catholic cleric to be convicted of such an offence. The Church's response to this episode should be of particular interest. Read more
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
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: Origen of Alexandria and Scripture
Denis Minns OP
Starts Thursday 6 September
Origen of Alexandria (185-254) was the most prolific and most brilliant scriptural scholar of the early Church, and one of its most original and most controversial theologians. This course will explore his understanding of how the scriptures should be interpreted, examine his interpretation of some passages from scripture in detail, and outline some aspects of the theological and spiritual understanding he drew from them.
Film Lectio III - Reflecting with Jean Vanier on St John’s Gospel No 2
Starts Wednesday 12 September
Jean Vanier is the founder of L’Arche. He was born in 1928, the son of a former Governor General of Canada and was was educated in Canada, England and France. At 13 he entered the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. At 22, inspired by the Gospel and by the call to work for peace, he resigned his commission as an officer on the aircraft carrier the Magnificient. He joined a Christian community foundered by Fr. Thomas Philippe near Paris, “where we lived simply, learning to pray and work with our hands, studied philosophy and theology, leading to a doctorate in Philosophy on the ethics of Aristotle”.
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 Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (19 August 2018)
Gospel Notes by Michael Whelan SM
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:51-58 – NRSV)