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.
Winton Higgins, Albert Camus and Pope Francis
Winton Higgins is a distinguished writer, Secular Buddhist teacher and Holocaust scholar. He tells us the story of Le Chambon. In 1940 the writer Camus was sent there for his TB but while writing The Plague, he observed a conspiracy of goodness. The community was committed to saving the lives of many Jewish people and helping them escape to Switzerland.
As plague force global emissions in our time are temporarily lessened by flights,cruises and industry being locked down for the pandemic, many are re-reading The Plague. Winton discusses the novel in terms of what strength we can draw from it as we face the truth of the climate emergency in our generation.
He also looks at Laudato Si! by Pope Francis to learn how not to displace our moral responsibility... How to be citizens rather than consumers. More information and to listen
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.
"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)
The self-emptying of Divine Presence
Notes by Michael Whelan SM
•“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’
“The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
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 the Feast of the Ascension (24 May 2020)
Gospel Notes by Michael Whelan SM
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20 – NRSV)
The ending is also the beginning. The Christian community is a missionary community:
“In his concluding paragraph (which is peculiar to this Evangelist) Matthew tells of Jesus’ meeting his disciples in Galilee and of the charge he gave them to make disciples of all the nations and to baptize them in the name of the Trinity. Many scholars have raised doubts over parts of this section, particularly over the use of the Trinitarian formula for baptism. But the arguments are all subjective: there is nothing else with which to compare the passage, and textually it is well attested. And it is very important.