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.
Pope endeavors to shift church culture
In January, the Vatican office that oversees Catholic priests, sisters and brothers in global religious orders had a plenary session. Seven women attended as representatives of the world's women religious. That fact may not seem significant for those outside the Vatican, as sisters and nuns obviously represent a large proportion of those in religious life. But it was the first time in decades that women had been present at such a meeting, the result of a direct request to Pope Francis.
When some 900 leaders of the world's congregations of women religious met with Francis last May, they asked why they were not being invited. "Speaking about someone who is absent is not of the Gospel," the pope responded. "You must be present." Read more ...
No one wins as public discourse thins
It is a commonplace that our political discourse is much impoverished. Speeches are built around the sound bite designed to be quoted. The Trump administration is experimenting with letting go of speeches and communicating within the limits set by Twitter.
In such a world there is little space for more complex rhetoric, for cultural reference, for reflection on historical precedents, or for wondering. From their speeches we would not know generally what politicians read seriously and what significant cultural influences have shaped them. Their words leave no echoes. Political discourse is dominated by barracking and by answers to 'how' questions. Read more ...
Bergoglio’s red hat marked the start of the Francis era
Sixteen years ago today, an ailing Pope John Paul II created a record number of cardinals in the consistory of February 2001. Among them were a record number of Latin-Americans, many of whom play key roles in the current pontificate. This is the hour of the 'Class of 2001.'
Historians love to pinpoint moments that in retrospect come to be defined as turning points - thresholds beyond which history begins to look different, when one era slides into another.
Sixteen years ago today was one of those threshold moments in the life of the Catholic Church, when the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was made a cardinal by St. John Paul II. Read more ...
Marriage and Divorce. "Jesus Too Must Be Reinterpreted"
Jesuits' Superior General
Incredible but true. In the eighth chapter of "Amoris Laetitia,” the most heated and controversial, the one in which Pope Francis seems to “open up” to remarriage while the previous spouse is still alive, there is no citation at all of the words of Jesus on marriage and divorce, presented primarily in chapter 19 of the Gospel according to Matthew: «Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning Read more ...
Course: The Catholic Church and Democratic Society I
Starts Wednesday 8 March
Presenter Robert Gascoigne
This module will consider the relationships between the Catholic Church and democratic society in the modern period. Using both a historical and theological approach, it will reflect on the ways in which the Church has responded to, and influenced, political and social movements since the French revolution up to the present day, and how the development of democratic societies has affected the Church’s own life. It will have four main foci: 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 ...
Pope Francis, Cardinal Pell and the Grand Inquisitor
Michael Whelan SM
I refer to the report by Dan Hitchens in London’s Catholic Herald, 29 November 2016 (Link here to Article) . Hitchens reports on a talk given by Cardinal Pell in London on St Damien of Molokai as part of a series of talks for the Year of Mercy. It all sounds terribly familiar. Cardinal Pell needs to be challenged as a mischief-maker.
A personal reflection - Lectio Divina
Today I visited a St Vincent De Paul Op Shop. My friend bungled me in so she could get a costume for the local theatre production. While she rummaged through the clothes, I scoured the book shelf. Sometimes the most wonderful out of print novels turn up in such places. Sadly, today it was just pulp fiction.
Some of the authors were okay; I could’ve easily bought a couple of books. But there was an uncomfortable sense about something? Not sadness . . . . emptiness perhaps?
Marist Presence 7: Instruments of mercy
Notes by Michael Whelan SM
Michael Fitzgerald SM writes:
Mary’s presence in the Church is not seen as a remote, nebulous, contemplative one, but rather Mary is in the Church with a particular mission: she is the gentle and merciful face of the Church, the open and welcoming door of the sheep-fold .... She extends the welcome of a merciful God, of a merciful, welcoming community of disciples. ....
Gospel for the Fourth Sunday in Lent (26 March 2017)
Gospel Notes by Michael Whelan SM
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. ....
6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” ....