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.
Philip Wilson's dead letter day
By Frank Brennan
Everyone, including the victims of abuse and church officials like Wilson, is entitled to be governed by laws which are clear, sensible and practical.
Philip Wilson, pictured prior to his resignation as Archbishop of Adelaide.
The show trial of Archbishop Philip Wilson has backfired badly causing hurt to many people, most especially victims of child sexual abuse who thought the law was being rightly applied to put an errant Catholic bishop in the frame.
Wilson was charged under a provision of the New South Wales Crimes Act, section 316, which has hardly ever been used. It's a provision which was introduced in 1990. It was reviewed by the New South Wales Law Reform Commission in 1999 and comprehensively trashed. Read more
Thomas Merton: the embrace of difference
Michael Barnes SJ
Thomas Merton, the famed spiritual writer, died on 10 December 1968. His writings are still as relevant as his life story is fascinating, particularly his treatment of ‘difference’, a word that ‘now commands an attention that would never have been possible fifty years ago,’ writes Michael Barnes SJ. The fiftieth anniversary of Merton’s death, particularly as it falls in Advent, is an opportunity to contemplate with him the action of the Spirit. Read more
A Time of Reckoning
Second thoughts about the sexual revolution.
By Mary Eberstadt
Hegel famously wrote that the owl of Minerva flies only at dusk, meaning that history’s unfolding is most plainly seen in retrospect. With all due respect to Herr Doktor, some moments are so transparently situated at a cultural crossroad that they illuminate history even in real time. Improbably enough, the MeToo movement seems to be one.
As anyone following events can see, the ongoing sex scandals that gave rise to MeToo are more than just placeholders in the news cycle. They reveal a shift in the cultural plates of the last half-century and ... Read more
Oscar Romero: ‘Starting from the world of the poor’
By Martin Maier SJ
On 14 October, Pope Francis will declare Archbishop Oscar Romero a saint, along with Pope Paul VI and several other beati. Martin Maier SJ, who has a longstanding connection with El Salvador, traces Romero’s personal transformation up to the moment of his martyr’s death in the middle of a sermon.
It has been a beatification and canonisation process dogged with obstacles and delays. In El Salvador, the vast majority of the population began venerating Archbishop Oscar Romero as a saint a long time ago. The impact of his murder during the celebration of Mass on 24 March 1980 was still fresh when ... Read more
Has the abuse crisis torpedoed Francis’ reform plan?
That is clearly the aim of those who oppose the pope. The question is whether they will succeed.
Author: Robert Mickens, Rome Vatican City, September 14, 2018. (La Croix International).
Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP.
For nearly five years he never made it one of his major priorities, despite the fact that many of his admirers and unofficial spokespersons tried to claim the opposite. But now Pope Francis, who was slow to even pronounce the phrase “clergy sex abuse of minors,” has been forced to face head-on this worldwide phenomenon and its institutional cover-up.
Rosemary Goldie Lecture 2018
Recorded video presentation on the subject of "Pope Francis and the Australian Plenary Council 2020/2021", delivered by John L Allen Jr, editor of Crux. Sponsored by The Grail in Australia and Catalyst for Renewal and delivered at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on Sunday, 9th September 2018. View 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: Thomas Merton
On the 50th anniversary of his death
Starts Tuesday 27 November
Thomas Merton was born in France on January 31, 1915. His mother, Ruth Jenkins, had gone from Long Island to France to study art; his father, Owen Merton, had gone there from New Zealand for the same purpose.
On a return visit to the United States Ruth gave birth to their second child, John Paul, on November 2, 1918. Ruth died there of cancer in October 1921 – not long before Thomas Merton’s 7th birthday. This meant that Thomas Merton spent much of his childhood with relatives or in boarding schools. The father and Thomas returned to France in 1925. Later they were to move to England.
Spiritual Practices and Attitudes 7. 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 Second Sunday of Advent (9 December 2018)
Gospel Notes by Michael Whelan SM
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” (Luke 3:1-6 – NRSV)