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.
Postponement of Courses
Upcoming scheduled courses at Aquinas Academy have been suspended. (Courses which have started will continue to completion.)
The human family is facing an unprecedented and most serious crisis with the coronavirus. We must be mindful of the common good, always weighing our actions in terms of their possible ramifications and effects on other citizens. Let us cooperate fully with the efforts at “social distancing”.
With this in mind, we have made the decision to suspend courses at Aquinas Academy for the foreseeable future.
When it is appropriate to re-commence courses we will announce that here.
Let us look out for each other, using phone and social media to keep in touch, encouraging each other during these difficult days.
Catalyst Dinner - Recovering the Mystical Heart of Catholicism
Catalyst Dinner, Hunters Hill, 3 March 2020
Michael Whelan SM
During the days of 17-20 November 1998 – on the sidelines of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ ad limina visit and the Special Assembly for the Synod of Bishops for Oceania, in Rome – representatives of seven Dicasteries and fifteen members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference met.
This meeting was at the request of Pope John Paul II. The Catholic media organization, Zenit, wrote at the time, that “similar meetings held with other Episcopal Conferences have proved to be equally beneficial as expressions of ecclesial communion”. Read full Talk in the link below.
Video Series: "The Cross ... Dying that Leads to Life"
Michael Whelan sm
An inspirational video series for Lent and Holy Week
Dying is not the enemy of living but the servant of living.
At the heart of our lives there is a profound paradox: the surrender and letting go is a dying that allows us to live; the refusal to embrace the dying leads us away from life into death.
Life is full of these moments where living and dying intersect.
These are some of the key reflections Michael Whelan opens up for us with insight, depth and relevance in this 6-episode video series, available now in the Emmaus Online Video Prayer and Meditation Library.
"Comments on" and "Response to" Michael Whelan's Book Review
See Article "Problem-solving has Little to Offer in the Face of Evil" on this website
Comments on Michael Whelan’s Review of the book: Abuse and Cover-Up: Refounding the Catholic Church in Trauma (Orbis Books, 2019), by author Gerald A. Arbuckle, SM.
I am grateful to fellow Marists Michael for his review and to Tom Ryan for his Response that are on this website. They have tried to engage my book seriously. I offer a few reflections in light of their interchanges.
Course: Thomas Aquinas on Hope
Rev Dr Andrew Murray sm
In his treatment of the virtues in Summa Theologiae I-II qq. 55-67, Thomas divides them into the intellectual, moral and theological virtues. The theological virtues are faith, hope and charity (see 1 Corinthians 13:13). Although a less agreeable term in English, they are so named because their object is God (Theos), they are infused by God, and they are made known to us by Divine Revelation (q. 62, a. 1).
This course (the second of three in the series)
Course: Christianity and Buddhism - Four areas of convergence
Week One: “Suffering”
A Buddhist perspective: “When I was still a seeker, it occurred to me to ask: ‘What is the delight of life? What is the tragedy of life? What is the emancipation of life?’ Then I thought to answer: ‘The happiness and joy that arise conditioned by life, that is the delight of life; that life is impermanent, difficult and changing, that is the tragedy of life; the removal and abandonment of grasping for life, that is the emancipation of life” (Samyutta Nikāya 35:13)
A Christian perspective: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:24-25).
Conscience and our journey towards adult Christianity
Notes by Michael Whelan SM
revealed to us by our conscience;
and our conscience insists on preserving that order.
Human beings ‘show the work of the law written in their hearts.
Their conscience bears witness to them’ (Romans 2:15).
And how could it be otherwise?
All created being reflects the infinite wisdom of God.
It reflects it all the more clearly, the higher it stands in the scale of perfection.”
Problem-solving has Little to Offer in the Face of Evil
A Book Review
Michael Whelan SM
Gerald A Arbuckle SM, Abuse and Cover-Up: Refounding the Catholic Church in Trauma, Orbis Books, 2019, footnotes, index, 226 pages, pb.
Two preliminary comments
The first comment arises from my own experience of appearing as a witness, together with Fr David Ranson, at the Royal Commission on the afternoon of Monday 6 February 2017. Read full Review
Spiritual Practices and Attitudes 10 - Eucharist: Bread of Life
Notes by Michael Whelan SM
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (2002) goes to the heart of the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist:
The sacrificial nature of the Mass, solemnly asserted by the Council of Trent in accordance with the Church’s universal tradition, [Ecumenical Council of Trent, Session 22, Doctrina de ss. Missae sacrificio, 17 September 1562 : Enchiridion Symbolorum, H. Denzinger and A. Schönmetzer, editors (editio XXXIII, Freiburg: Herder, 1965; hereafter, Denz-Schön), 1738-1759.] was reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council, which offered these significant words about the Mass: ‘At the Last Supper our Savior instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his Body and Blood, by which he would perpetuate the Sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until he should come again, thus entrusting to the Church, his beloved Bride, the memorial of his death and resurrection.’
Gospel for Palm Sunday (5 April 2020)
Gospel Notes by Michael Whelan SM
Judas to Betray Jesus
Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
The Passover with the Disciples
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.
When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.” Read full document: