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.
Faith, Film & 'Silence'
An Interview with Martin Scorsese
On December 23, Paramount will release Silence, Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited film about the persecution of Christians in 17th-century Japan, based on the 1966 novel by Shusaku Endo. One of the last century’s most celebrated Japanese novelists, Endo has been called “the Japanese Graham Greene.” Greene himself praised Silence as “one of the finest novels of our time;” John Updike judged it “somber, delicate, and startlingly empathetic;” and Robert Coles, writing in Commonweal after Endo’s death in 1996, called it “a major witness to Christian introspection.” Read more ...
2017 Aquinas Academy Course List
Aquinas Academy has organised a terrific range of course for 2017, including many offered for the first time but with some old favourites as well. You can explore everything from relationships to poetry, from film to politics to writing your life. Come explore, learn and grow. See the 2017 Course List by clicking on the following link.
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 ...
Absence of meaning has consequences
There is a need for deep repentance and a change in direction on the part of all those who control the resources of the planet, argues the archbishop of Canterbury. Discontent is growing in western democracies as evidenced by Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the rise of populism. Dr Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and primate of the Anglican communion (1) shares his views with La Croix. Read more ...
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.
The Magic of Real Human Conversation
Ursula K. Le Guin
Every act of communication is an act of tremendous courage in which we give ourselves over to two parallel possibilities: the possibility of planting into another mind a seed sprouted in ours and watching it blossom into a breathtaking flower of mutual understanding; and the possibility of being wholly misunderstood, reduced to a withering weed. Candor and clarity go a long way in fertilizing the soil, but in the end there is always a degree of unpredictability in the climate of communication — even the warmest intention can be met with frost. Yet something impels ... Read more ... See also related artice on The Paradox of Communication.
A Christmas Carol: Secular Redemption?
Tom Ryan SM
Those amongst us of a ‘certain age’ will remember Alistair Cooke’s weekly Letter from America. On March 2004, aged 95, a month before his death, Cooke announced his retirement from the Letter on the advice of his doctors. After 58 years, his weekly reflections had been the longest-running speech radio show in the world. In his twelve- minute talk, he brought not only insight and whimsy but also an effortless spontaneity that concealed his craft. In many ways, he was a model for anyone preparing a talk or a homily.
What do you say to a homeless person?
Advice from Catholic urban missionaries.
It’s a common sight at a city intersection. A man or a woman holds a cardboard sign: “Homeless, Hungry. Please Give. Anything Helps.” Most motorists, stopped at the light and eager to move on, just ignore the person.
But what should you do before the light changes? The Denver-based urban ministry Christ in the City offers some advice.
“Ask the person’s name,” said the group’s tip sheet. “One of our friends on the street told us he went four months without hearing his own name. Ask the person’s name and remember it.” Those with a regular commute should remember that name and say hello the next time. “You’ll be amazed how his or her face will light up that you remembered.” Read more ...
Marist Presence 5: Unknown and hidden
Notes by Michael Whelan SM
“(Marists) desire to breathe (Mary’s) spirit .... They seek inspiration in the traditional phrase, ‘hidden and unknown in the world’. For Jean-Claude Colin it best captured, in the light of his spiritual and pastoral experience, Mary’s presence in the Church. They learn from him and like him from Mary, how to approach the work of evangelization so that Gospel may be received in all its power and charity. .... While Marists are willing to undertake any ministry that will help build up the Church for the sake of the world, they work in such a fashion that no one, as it were, notices their presence.” (Constitutions (1988), #9, #22, #23 & #25).
Gospel for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (15 January 2017)
Gospel Notes by Michael Whelan SM
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God”. (John 1:29-34 – NRSV)