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.
Marist and Pacific Mission History
Marist buildings near Tarban Creek, Hunters Hill. Painted 1854
Andrew Murray sm, PhD has completed a project to digitise and make available online a large number of books on Marist and Pacific Mission history. All the books are available for both viewing and downloading on Andrew's website, available here
Treat yourself to a wealth of information about this fascinating history!
"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.
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 ... More information and to listen
Course: The Rise of the Virtual World - The Book of Revelation Today
Wednesday 16, 23, 30 Sept
We all live in an increasingly unreal world where matter has become immaterial and talk is of the post-human where humans, animals, and inorganic life are to be treated as one and the same. It is a world labelled ‘Surveillance Capitalism’ but it is more than this;
Course: Thomas Aquinas on Hope
Rev Dr Andrew Murray sm
Starts Tuesday 6 October
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).
Course: St John Henry Newman - His Life and Contexts
Dr Robert Andrews
Starts Wednesday 7 Oct
St John Henry Newman (1801-90) was a convert from Anglicanism, a religious controversialist, a scholar and a theologian. Not only one of the great Victorian intellectuals, his contributions to modern Catholic thought make him one of the most important Catholic thinkers of modern times. From positions such as Vicar of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford, to the leader of the Oxford Movement, and later a leading English Oratorian and cardinal,
By Michael Whelan SM
Three months before he died on 7 March 1274, St Thomas Aquinas had an extraordinary “experience” while celebrating Mass. As a result of this “experience”, St Thomas refused to do any further work on the Summa Theologica – his major life project. The English Dominican Thomistic scholar, Brian Davies, tells us that Aquinas’ secretary, Reginald of Piperno, begged him to return to the writing. St Thomas replied: "Reginald, I cannot, because all that I have written seems like straw to me" (Brian Davies, The Thought of Thomas Aquinas, Oxford University Press, 1993, 9).
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.’
Spiritual Practices and Attitudes 11 - A Primary Conversation
Notes by Michael Whelan SM
“I will be with you!” [Exodus 3:12] This is not only a promise, it is an expression of the very nature of God. To be God is to be with! Jesus enfleshes this same promise and the Divine Nature: “And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time” (Matthew 28:20).
We are made in the image and likeness of the One whose nature it is to be with. It is also our nature to be with. We are at our best when that “being with” is embraced generously and allowed to shape our lives. We thrive in constructive and life-giving relationships, we wither in the absence of such relationships. “Relationship is written into the very nature of human beings. As the Bible sees human beings, you cannot think about them, without recognizing that they are, as it were, made for relationship” (Aelred Squire, Asking the Fathers, SPCK, 1972, 20).
Gospel for the Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (20 September 2020)
Gospel Notes by Michael Whelan SM
Vineyard Owner and Laborers - Codex Aureus Epternacensis
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager,