Workshop Abstracts and Biographies


Conciliar Humanism. A Tale of Four Popes
Rev Dr Tom Carroll


Pope Benedict XVI claimed with the Second Vatican Council “broad new thinking” was required which set the Church in a new direction. In particular, this workshop examines the Council’s vision of humanity through the lens of its emergent philosophy of the human person, as differentiated from the traditional Boethian / Thomistic understanding of “person” and detailed in the final documents of the Council, the Declaration on religious liberty Dignitatus Humanae and the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the world of today, Gaudium et Spes; which provides the Church with the means of dialogue with the contemporary world on the basis of our shared humanity.

Consideration is given not only to the significant contribution offered by the thought of Pope John XXIII, the Father of the Council, but also to that of three successive popes, namely Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI; all present from the beginning of the Council. These four popes would exercise a fundamental influence in the evolution and on-going promotion of this distinctive Conciliar humanism, as Cardinal Wojtyla writes in his essay written to mark the tenth anniversary of Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae: “wherein the dignity of the human person is the basis of man’s vocation: it thus constituted the essential content and meaning of that vocation.” In this novel Conciliar thinking, humanism and personalism happily coincide.


Rev Dr Tom Carroll, Parish Priest of St. Aloysius of Gonzaga, Cronulla NSW.
Secretary of the Cardinal’s Council of Priests.
Director of Diaconate Programme for the Archdiocese of Sydney.
Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
Also Professor of Philosophy and Theology at the Collegium Augustinianum, a Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in the Augustinian Tradition (Paris, Orlando, Philadelphia, Dresden), adjunct associate professor in the School of Philosophy and Theology, Sydney Campus, Notre Dame University Australia and member of the Advisory Board of the Faculty of Education, Sydney Campus, Notre Dame University Australia.

Born in Sydney, ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Sydney in 1979 and following appointments as assistant priest at St Joachim’s Lidcombe and St Michael’s South Blacktown, Fr Carroll was sent in the academic year 1984/5 to pursue post graduate study in philosophy and theology at the Katholieke Universitet Leuven in Belgium, where he received a licentiate (1987) and doctorate in philosophy (1997), a Master of Religious Sciences and doctoral candidacy in theology (1987). He also holds a Master of Education (1990) from the Australian Catholic University and a Master of Arts (2001) from the University of Sydney. Appointed lecturer in Philosophy and Humanities at the Catholic Institute of Sydney (1987-1997), he was then appointed chaplain at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (1998-2002), where he was invited as a member of the University of Sydney Human Ethics Committee (2001-7). He returned to parish ministry as parish priest of St Francis Xavier’s Ashbury (2003-2011), with responsibility for St Mel’s Campsie (2005-9), until receiving his current appointment as parish priest of St Aloysius of Gonzaga, Cronulla at the beginning of 2012.


Ecclesia ad extra: The Church’s mission in the world
Dr Nigel Zimmermann


Where does the Church look to find its mission? It seems such a broad question to ask, and surely the answer is simple; "the world". Yet, the Second Vatican Council offered a profoundly theological answer to the question of mission, and emphasised that the place of the world is not simply a bare surface upon which Christian belief is to be written. Rather, the world is the complex situation into which the Holy Spirit moves and reaches, seeking out what it may claim for Christ. Indeed, the Holy Spirit goes where it wills, and often the Church discovers the Spirit at work in people and places long ahead of the Church's own arrival

In this presentation, the Church's mission in the world is explored in terms of what interpreters of the Council have called the Ecclesia ad extra – the mission outside of the Church. This was not a term utilised so much in the Conciliar documents, but it sums up a concept to which the Council Fathers gave much attention. Gaudium et Spes will be particularly taken up in its description of the world as the place of mission, a world it describes as "both powerful and weak." (GS 9)


Dr Nigel Zimmermann, Lecturer in Theology, University of Notre Dame Australia

Nigel was born in Brisbane and holds degrees in journalism and politics, and theology. He has lived and studied in Australia, the US, France and the UK. He lived in Scotland for seven years, during which he worked at the Scottish Parliament and Edinburgh City Council, and while living in Edinburgh was received into the Catholic Church. He was awarded his PhD from the University of Edinburgh and was made a Wingate Scholar for a two year period beginning in 2011. In 2012, he took up his present post as Lecturer in Theology at the University of Notre Dame Australia on Sydney's Broadway campus. There, he teaches courses in theology and scripture. Nigel also serves as Private Secretary to Bishop Peter Comensoli.


“Put out into deep water...”: The evangelising thrust of Vatican II
Mrs Marita Winters


In this workshop participants will have the opportunity to reflect on Jesus’ call to the first four disciples in Luke’s gospel as the basis for our discipleship. The workshop will review documents of the Council and see how these teachings influenced subsequent Magisterial teachings. In particular, we will consider ‘the New Evangelisation’ which has been a project of the Church for over thirty years. Participants will find inspiration as well as practical ideas for the New Evangelisation in today’s world.


Mrs Marita Winters, Director, National Office for Evangelisation - Catholic Enquiry Centre

Marita Winters has been involved in media and evangelisation in the Church for over 15 years, and is presently the Director of the National Office for Evangelisation and the Catholic Enquiry Centre. She is also Executive Secretary to the Bishops Commission for Mission and Faith Formation and a member of the Australian Catholic Media Council. Marita has a Bachelor of Arts degree specialising in Communications and a Graduate Diploma in Marriage and Family Studies (JPII Institute Melbourne, 2005). She is passionate about encouraging people to live their faith life to the full.



A Secret No Longer: the Social Mandate of the Church
Chantelle Ogilvie-Ellis


This workshop will canvas some of the key themes that have emerged in Catholic social teaching over the last fifty years since the second Vatican Council, and will encourage participants to look at their implications for the contemporary Church. It will explore mid-century developments such as the Church’s commitment to human rights, and the growing international dimension of Catholic social thought. As well as exploring the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes), the workshop will note the impact of other Council documents, such as those relating to lay people and ecumenism, which had lasting influence on the way in which the Church would approach its social mandate over subsequent decades.

Finally the workshop will deal with developments since the Council. In particular, by exploring the contributions of recent popes, it will argue for the importance of integrating theory and practice – of bringing together the Church’s formidable body of reflection on social, political and economic matters on the one hand, and the practical witness of Christian social mission on the other.


Chantelle Ogilvie-Ellis, Justice and Peace Promoter, Justice and Peace Office, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

In 2003, Chantelle graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications), majoring in Government and International Relations, Media and English. Following university, she worked in social justice ministry with the Young Christian Students (YCS) movement in the Diocese of Parramatta, before taking on a role as World Youth Day Coordinator for both Australian YCS and the Australian Young Christian Workers. In 2008 Chantelle joined the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney Justice and Peace Office. The role of the Office is to promote justice, peace, ecology and development in light of the social teaching of the Catholic Church. As Justice and Peace Promoter, Chantelle leads educational, advisory and collaborative activities to increase understanding of Catholic social teaching, and to enable communities to put this teaching into practice. As part of this work, Chantelle has been a key leader representing the Archdiocese in the Sydney Alliance, a broad-based, non-partisan civil society coalition which fosters civic participation and works for the common good.

Chantelle’s further studies include a Graduate Certificate in Interfaith Relations, as part of the inaugural Young Catholic Women’s Interfaith Fellowship, offered by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in 2006. She is completing a Masters of Theological Studies, and has also taught and tutored theology at a number of Catholic institutions. Chantelle has a particular interest in the spirituality of democratic participation. Chantelle is a parishioner at St Vincent’s Catholic Church, Ashfield. She is married to Evan and they are shortly expecting their first child.


Liturgical art and architecture after the Council. What works?
Dr Renée Köhler Ryan


In its directives on “sacred art and sacred furnishings,” the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sancrosanctum Concilium) states that sacred art should “strive after noble beauty rather than mere sumptuous display.” Interpretations of this “noble beauty” have led to a variety of artistic and architectural works. We will discuss some of these eclectic results, keeping to the fore another statement within Sancrosanctum Concilium, that “the art of our own days, coming from every race and region, shall also be given free scope in the Church, provided that it adorns the sacred buildings and holy rites with due reverence and honor.” What can we understand “noble beauty”, “mere sumptuous display”, and “due reverence and honor” to mean, and how can we judge whether an artistic work still stands within our tradition? We will examine these questions in several ways.

First, we will briefly examine the ideas behind the most predominant ecclesiastical styles preceding the Council. The baroque in particular gives pause, begging the question of how works so “sumptuous” might possess noble beauty and offer means to know the mysteries of faith celebrated in liturgical space. We will then ask how artists might express continuity with a tradition that reaches back to the days of the earliest celebrations of the Eucharist, and at the same time a contemporary articulation of the catholic faith.

The Council fathers have issued a challenge with which our artists and architects continue to wrestle. The final part of the workshop will ask the broader question of what it means to be a postconciliar catholic, by considering what styles of ecclesiastical art and architecture work and do not work. Our criteria for judgment will rely finally on an understanding of precisely how a style is recognizably catholic, offering both the space and occasion for worship.

nomic matters on the one hand, and the practical witness of Christian social mission on the other.


Dr Renée Köhler Ryan, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, School of Philosophy and Theology University of Notre Dame Australia (Sydney)

Dr Köhler-Ryan is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy on the Sydney campus of University of Notre Dame Australia. She completed her PhD in Philosophy at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, with a dissertation entitled From Head to Foot Set in our Place: Sacred Space as the Expression of Religious Experience and Imagination. She also has an undergraduate degree in the Liberal Arts, an area in which she has also taught Philosophy subjects for two Liberal Arts colleges in Rome, Italy. Combined with research, her international experience of the Catholic intellectual and artistic tradition have sustained her interest in how sacred art and architecture can express the relationship between faith and reason.

Dr Köhler-Ryan’s publications reflect her main research areas, including articles concerning the continuing influence of Augustine, the work of contemporary philosopher William Desmond, and the importance of sacred spaces to the Catholic imagination. They include: “Elemental microcosms: Sacred Space and the City,” The Sacred and the Metropolis, Ed. Walter Van Herck and Liliana Gomez, Continuum Press, 2012; “The Beginning that is Already and End: Finding the Significance of Labyrinthine Travel,” Philosophies of Travel, Ed. Alex Norman, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2013 (forthcoming); “Gifted Beggars in the Metaxu: a Study of the Platonic and Augustinian Resonances of Porosity in God and the Between,” Louvain Studies, 2013 (forthcoming); “An Archaeological Ethics: Augustine, Desmond, and Digging Back to the Agapeic Origin,” Between System and Poetics: Themes in the Work of William Desmond, Ed. Thomas Kelly, Ashgate, 2007.



New wineskins for a new Pentecost: The rise of the New Ecclesial Movements and Communities
Totò (Antonio) and Rita Piccolo


Pope Francis has started his new life with a great message in his first homily: The Church is always in movement and that to walk with Christ, to build with Him and to confess Christ Crucified is to be disciples of the Lord. This synthetic summary expresses very well the heart of the Second Vatican Council. In the Council’s constitutions and decrees it is possible to discover the work of the Holy Spirit for the "aggiornamento", a renewal to make the Church able to answer to the questions and suffering of the men and women of today.

As Cardinal Newman said, sometimes to understand an event it is necessary to look at his effects in the following years. Applying this exegesis to the Council, it appears clearly in front of everyone the phenomena of the birth and growth of the new ecclesial movement and communities. Pope Francis has spoken of walking, building and confessing, and the Council in the three main Constitutions has shown the path to follow: the Liturgy, the Word of God and the Koinonia, the Church.

The Holy Spirit in promoting the new ecclesial movements and communities has created a way to walk in conversion towards Christ, a way to build the Church as if it was in the beginning from its foundation, and a way to celebrate the mysteries of the Lord with great participation and love. In fact these are the three common features of all the new ecclesial realities that today have sprung up in the Church in all parts of the world. Some of these groups are international and have spread everywhere, for example the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, the Neocatechumenal Way, Communion and Liberation and Focolare just to mention a few. Some are more locally based but all offer to men and women of our time the chance to reconnect with our Lord Jesus Christ, the Verum, Bonum and Pulchrum, sent by the Good Father in Heaven for the salvation of all people.

It is surprising that even after 50 years from the Council these new wineskins for the Holy Spirit are not always understood and appreciated enough at times by priests and bishops: they carry in themselves a special prophetic mission for the good of all the Church, the People of God, the Body of Christ.


Totò (Antonio) and Rita Piccolo

Totò Piccolo was born in Grosseto, Italy, in 1952 but was brought up in Rome. After completing high school, which specialized in classical studies, he got a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Rome, La Sapienza. At the age of nineteen in his parish in Rome he had an experience that was going to redirect his life on a different and new path. He encountered the Neocatechumenal Way, an itinerary of Catholic formation, lived in small communities. This Way was officially approved by the Holy See in 2008.

He started this journey of growth in faith with his girlfriend and future wife Rita. She was born in Rome and completed her studies at the University of Rome with a degree in modern history. They soon became involved in direct evangelization, through teams of catechists, opening the Way in other parishes of Rome. Totò and Rita married in 1975 and worked one year, Antonio as an engineer and Rita as a high school teacher. But soon God’s call to missionary work was felt stronger and stronger. So they left their jobs, their careers, their goods and their beloved city of Rome and offered themselves to be sent as missionaries anywhere, to announce, especially to people far away from the Church, the infinite love of Christ for sinners and His power to rebuild the lives of men and women, even those most destroyed.

In 1977 they were sent to Australia, through the Neocatechumenal way, invited by a Melbourne parish priest and with the permission of Archbishop Little. Since then, with their six children who were born during the mission in Australia, they have been itinerant catechists in a team with a lay man and a priest, opening the Neocatechumenal Way in 11 dioceses and 35 parishes, in the main cities of Australia.

Their work is not paid, they are not on wages, but they are witnesses of God’s providence, having learnt to live in precariousness putting their security in God alone. At present they live in Sydney, and travel throughout Australia to help the Neocatechumenal communities relive the richness of their baptism in the itinerary of faith.


Power, authority and service in a post-Conciliar era.
Archbishop Timothy John Costelloe SDB


The two concepts of “power” and “authority” are often presented as being in contrast with the notion of “service”. In the Christian tradition however those who exercise power or authority in the Christian community are understood to be servants of the community rather than masters or overlords. This understanding of the relationship between power and service comes from the teaching and the example of Jesus “who came not to be served but to serve”. In the post-Conciliar Church this fundamental Christian approach is seen to be grounded in a number of threads of theology which coalesce in the concepts of the Church as the Pilgrim People of God, the universal call to holiness and the relationship between the universal priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood of ordained priests and bishops.

In this workshop the nature of power, authority and service in the Christian community will be considered by looking at the fundamental identity of the Church as expressed in the documents of Vatican 11 and the way in which the structural elements of the Church serve this fundamental identity. Particular attention will be given to the concept of the Church as the “priestly people”, a theological description which was given some prominence in the documents of Vatican 11. The implications of this for a genuinely Christian exercise of authority and service will be explored, particularly through an examination of the one and unique priesthood of Christ, in which the Church, as a priestly people, participates.


Archbishop Timothy John Costelloe SDB, Archbishop of Perth, Archdiocese of Perth

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe was born in Melbourne on February 3, 1954, the second son of Francis John (Jack) and Carmel Tasma Costelloe (nee Roadknight). He was educated at Saint Peter’s parish primary school, East Bentleigh and at Salesian College, Chadstone, from where he matriculated in 1971. After working in a variety of jobs he undertook a teacher training course at Christ College in Melbourne, which he interrupted in 1977 to join the Salesians of Don Bosco. He made his first profession as a Salesian on January 31, 1978 and graduated from Christ College at the end of that year. Finally professed as a Salesian of Don Bosco in 1985 he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Sir Frank Little on October 25, 1986.

After three years as Religious Education coordinator at Salesian College, Chadstone, he was transferred to Rome where he completed a Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Salesian Pontifical University in 1991. Upon returning to Melbourne he began lecturing in Systematic Theology at Catholic Theological College in Melbourne and worked in the area of the formation of young Salesians. In 1996 he was transferred to Perth where he was parish priest at Saint Joachim’s, Victoria Park, and lecturer at the University of Notre Dame, Fremantle. He completed his doctorate in Theology from the Melbourne College of Divinity at this time. In 1998 he attended the Synod for Oceania in Rome as Archbishop Hickey’s theological adviser.

Returning to Melbourne in mid 1999 he was appointed as Rector of the Salesian formation community in 2000 and resumed teaching commitments at Catholic Theological College. In addition to these duties he was appointed as parish priest of the parish of Saint John the Baptist, Clifton Hill, in 2006 and as parish priest of the adjoining parish of Saint Joseph’s, Collingwood in January 2007. He was a member of the Provincial Council of the Salesians from 2002 to 2007, Provincial Delegate for Formation in the Australian Province from 2003-2007, and was appointed as Regional Delegate for Formation for the East Asia-Oceania Salesian region in 2006.

Archbishop Costelloe was appointed as Titular Bishop of Clonard and Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne on April 30, 2007 and ordained as a bishop on June 15, 2007.

Archbishop Costelloe, in addition to his duties as an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne with responsibility for the northern region of the Archdiocese, was the Episcopal Vicar for Tertiary Education, Chair of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria, Chair of the Mannix College Council, Chair of the Steering Committee for the Catholic Leadership Centre, Chair of the Advisory Board of the Archbishop’s Office for Evangelization and the Archbishop’s delegate for Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

The Archbishop is also an Adjunct Professor at the Australian Catholic University. In the Bishops Conference he is a member of the Bishops Commission for Doctrine and Morals and the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education. He is also a member of the Permanent Committee of the Bishops Conference. In 2011, together with Bishop Christopher Prowse of Sale, Archbishop Costelloe was elected by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference as a delegate for the Synod on the New Evangelization, held in Rome in October, 2012. On February 20, 2012 Archbishop Costelloe was appointed by Pope Benedict XV1 as the ninth Bishop and sixth Archbishop of Perth. He was formally installed as the new metropolitan Archbishop of Perth in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Perth, on Wednesday March 21, 2012.


The vision of Pope John XXIII: A different kind of Council

Rev Dr Max Vodola


John XXIII is often remembered as a pope of peasant background elected to a supposedly ‘transitional’ papacy. Angelo Roncalli was an historian who brought the perspective of history to the papacy, in particular, a critical study of the Council of Trent and the reforming zeal of San Carlo Borromeo. This study was highly significant not simply in John XXIII’s decision to call Vatican II but, more importantly, in his style of leadership, the language that he used to articulate his vision and the historical framework that guided his ideas. John XXIII intended a different kind of council for the Catholic Church in the twentieth century. His call for aggiornamento needs to be contextualized to his wide reading of history and his intuition of a new historical epoch for the Church and the world.


Rev Dr Max Vodola, Lecturer in Church History, Catholic Theological College, East Melbourne, MCD University of Divinity.

Rev Dr Max Vodola is a priest of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, currently pastor of Flemington/Kensington parishes. He undertook his seminary studies at Corpus Christi College Clayton and was ordained in 1997. He holds the degrees of Bachelor of Theology and Master of Theological Studies from the MCD University of Divinity and a Master of Arts from Monash University.

In 2010, Max completed his PhD at Monash University following a period of research at the Istituto per le Scienze Religiose in Bologna. Max’s thesis is titled ‘John XXIII, Vatican II and the Genesis of Aggiornamento’, an analysis of Angelo Roncalli’s critical study of Trent and Borromeo which was decisive in helping him to shape his vision of the Second Vatican Council.

Max is Deputy Head of the Department of Church History at Catholic Theological College, East Melbourne, and lectures in the history of the Church in Australia, Early Modern Catholicism and the history of the Second Vatican Council. Max is the author of Simonds: A Rewarding Life and A Friendly Guide to Vatican II.


Council, Code and Catechism
Sr Elizabeth Delaney SGS


A collection of the documents of Vatican II does not include the Code of Canon Law. Pope John Paul II described the Code as the last of the documents of Vatican II. The richness of the Code can be fully revealed only when studied in the light of the documents of the Vatican Council. On the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Council, the Catechism of the Catholic Church was published. Pope John Paul II saw this volume as fulfilling one of the intentions of Pope John XIII in calling the Council: “to guard and present better the precious deposit of Christian doctrine in order to make it more accessible to the Christian faithful and to all people of good will.”

Taking the documents of the Council as a starting point, we will draw together aspects of the Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, exploring how the teaching and discipline of the Church have been reformulated in such a way that it invites us to approach them “with a new enthusiasm, a new joy and serenity of mind” (Pope John XXII’s Address at the Opening of Vatican Council II). Following some themes through the canons of the Code we will explore how they are grounded in the teaching contained in the Vatican documents and how the Catechism enhances and deepens the canonical language.

We will explore themes such as, the expression of ‘communio’, the mission of the Church today, the dignity and role of ordinary people, the Church’s invitation to all Christians. Approaching this seminar with an attitude of questioning the relvance of the Church’s law, will we hope, lead us to an understanding of both the fruits of the Council and the extent to which they may yet be realized.


Sr Elizabeth Delaney SGS, Executive Secretary for Church Life, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Sister Elizabeth Delaney is a Sister of the Good Samaritan. She spent over twenty years in Catholic Education in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. Following study in Canon Law, she took up the role of Chancellor in the Diocese of Wollongong. After completing a doctorate in Canon Law at Saint Paul University in Ottawa she commenced working for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. Her involvement in education continues as a member of Good Samaritan Education, St Patrick’s College Campbelltown and more recently, as a Director of Broken Bay Institute.


Proposing, not imposing: the place of the Church in the public arena
Mr Rocco Mimmo


Often, in public life it is said that Church Leaders should not impose their views on society. It is, of course, a shorthanded way of saying “keep religion out of public debate”. To abide by this saying means that religious liberty can be exercised only in private: that is, in places of worship/churches or in the home. Therefore, the richness of religious tradition, and values are absent in the making of public policy.

The whole point of religious freedom is to seek the truth and the meaning of life. To ask the questions: “Does God exist; what does He ask of me; is there life after death”. These questions are the common bond for all humanity. Each person asks these questions in search for an answer to what is the meaning of life. They become the basis for our reasoning on the meaning of life and faith in the belief that God exists.

The teachings of the Catholic Church provide a pathway to God and assist us in discovering the truth.

When we discover the truth, that is, the reality of God’s existence – it assumes an obligation that we are to serve God and live in accordance with the tenets of our faith.

Jesus said to the Apostles: “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations ....teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have enjoined upon you” (Matt.28: 19-20). We can only be true to this duty if we are free to exercise our religious liberty in the public arena. We are opposed to coercion, to forcing people to act against their will. God us a free will, not an imposed will. Therefore, we must propose the truth not impose it by force or unreasonable behaviour or conduct. It is by example that we lead.

We sow our influence on what best serves the common good by arguing for the equal worthy of all people in human dignity. We act by example that all people are equal in the eyes of God and we serve our neighbour by working to improve public policy so that all can exercise their God given free will. We therefore “propose not impose the teachings of our Church”.


Mr Rocco Mimmo, Founder & Chairman, Ambrose Centre For Religious Liberty

Rocky is a Sydney based lawyer. He has a Masters Degree in International Law from the University of NSW. His post graduate Masters studies included an emphasis on Human Rights Law. He is married with 8 children.

He has devoted his adult life to working on social issues and running organisation attempting to influence public decision makers on critical moral social issues. On these social moral issues, Rocky works in the background in and around politics. Although not party politically aligned, he can boast to being very well connected to both sides of politics at the Federal and State level. Rocky has made numerous written submissions and frequently been invited to give oral submissions to Parliamentary Committees Inquiries into contentious moral and social matters. He has published several articles arguing the case for religious liberty and human rights. After many years of involvement in the moral social issues and noticing the decline and deterioration of religious and cultural values, Rocky founded the Ambrose Centre For Religious Liberty in 2007. The Ambrose Centre was launched in Sydney in April 2009.


The first Council for women?
Professor Celia Hammond


Commencing with Our Holy Mother Mary’s ‘yes’ to the Angel Gabriel, women have shared the responsibility and privilege of proclaiming the Christian Faith and building the Catholic Church. The manner in which women have shared the responsibility and privilege of proclaiming and living the Faith has been shaped and influenced to a large degree by the historical norms regarding the role of women in society at large (although it must be noted that the vocations carried out by Women Religious throughout history were often counter cultural for their times).

Documents of Vatican II acknowledged that the role of women in society was undergoing transformation and that the full dignity and vocation of women within the Church and society at large needed to be explored further. It was at Vatican II and the years following it that the significance and nature of women’s role in the life of the Church and in the promotion of the Christian Faith has been articulated so clearly and powerfully by the Church. Beautiful and profound teachings emerged throughout the latter half of the twentieth century, including Pope John Paul II’s “On the Dignity and Vocation of Women” (1988) and his letter to women in 1995. This workshop will allow participants to explore together how the Church’s teachings on the unique genius of Women are of enduring relevance and significance and how they can empower and guide women to develop their full dignity and vocation in 21st century Australia.


Professor Celia Hammond, Vice Chancellor, The University of Notre Dame Australia

Professor Hammond holds the position of Vice Chancellor at The University of Notre Dame Australia with direct responsibility for managing and overseeing the University operations on the Broome, Fremantle and Sydney campuses. Professor Hammond is a legal practitioner with experience in private practice in Western Australia. She has held senior leadership, management and teaching positions at Notre Dame, where she has been a staff member for over fifteen years. She was appointed Vice Chancellor in August 2008. She has wide experience teaching in commercial law and has published in the areas of corporate, property, and insolvency law. She also has experience in industrial relations. Professor Hammond currently holds or has held membership on Hospital Ethics Committees, Law Society Committees, Academic Committees, Catholic Education Boards and School Boards


Sacred Sexuality: Energising the Prophetic Role of Matrimony
Dr Byron Pirola & Francine Pirola


How does one present the wisdom of the Church to mainstream Catholics and families in today’s culture? Since the Second Vatican council, the social landscape has changed dramatically making the transmission of Catholic values more difficult. Open hostility from the secular media and misrepresentation of Catholic teachings, together with an increase in interfaith marriages make the conversation with Catholic families more complex. The secularization and sexualisation of the culture competes with the message of the Gospel and the practice of the faith, leaving many families ill-equipped to pass on the faith to their children.

Drawing on key insights from their work in marriage and family spanning two decades, this workshop will explore the practical ways to evangelise through marriage and the family in the current cultural climate. The role of Matrimonied couples as prophetic leaders and agents of evangelization will be discussed and practical strategies for empowering married couples to be forces of evangelisation through their relationship explored.


Dr Byron Pirola, PhD & Francine Pirola, MA, Executive Directors, Marriage Resource Centre

Byron and Francine are Directors of the Marriage Resource Centre and are recognised leaders in marriage education, with a particular emphasis on understanding its sacramental nature in the Catholic faith. They have five children and a wealth of down-to-earth practical experience in the daily realities of marriage, relationships, family life and parenting. Married since 1988, they are founders and directors of the marriage enrichment seminar SmartLoving Marriage (formerly Celebrate Love) which has been operating in Australia since 1990, and more recently in the UK, NZ and Uganda. They are also authors of the multi-media marriage preparation course SmartLoving Engaged (formerly Embrace) which is used for Catholic marriage preparation in dioceses across several English speaking countries.

They are current members of the Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council (a council of the ACBC), have represented the Australian Catholic Bishops at meetings of the Pontifical Council of the Family, are former past presidents of the Australian Council of Natural Family Planning, and co-founders of the Antioch youth movement. Currently, they are members of the Executive of PMRC (Australia) and Directors of its Marriage Resource Centre and LivingWell Media. They are the authors and creators of the My School Diary series which is used by more than 100,000 Catholic school students and teachers. In 2008 they launched CathFamily, an on-line initiative to support Catholic families in raising their children in faith. Byron holds a PhD in Biochemistry and Francine a Masters in Religion & Religious Education from Fordham University.


Come so far, so far to go: The Council’s call to Inter-religious Dialogue
Sr Giovanni Farquer


This workshop sets out to examine the nature, special significance and impact of the document “Nostra Aetate” on the Church and on the world, fifty years on. Focus will be given to the robust debate, over several years, initially private, later more public, amongst the Council Fathers in consultation with Jewish and other scholars, about the purpose, scope, content and title of the document. Attention will be drawn to the critical role played by Cardinal Bea appointed by Pope John XXIII to chair the Commission. Reference will be made to others of extraordinary vision and influence, for example Jules Isaacs, a reputed French historian and a secular Jew.

The remarkably polished, five paragraph Declaration “Nostra Aetate” will be explored in the context of its source, its situation in time and in particular, its implications for the human family today, a human family united in origin, life’s pilgrimage and final destiny. It will be proposed for consideration that the Council Fathers, primarily through “Nostra Aetate”, opened the Catholic Church to living dialogue with Jews and people of other Faiths. In this sense the Declaration was an act of the Catholic Church directed to all of its members about proper attitudes and conduct towards Jews and other peoples of World Faiths. Of all the documents of Vatican II it is the shortest, yet solid and exciting. It was and still is regarded by many in Religious and Secular Society as having ground breaking potential for generating peace, justice and unity amongst the whole human family. Its relevance, even after fifty years, remains undisputed.

The final segment of the workshop will be devoted to questions and comments. Workshop participants will be invited to discuss with one another and share their perceptions of, for example, the post Conciliar Church response to the Council’s call to Interfaith dialogue and the extent to which interfaith dialogue reflects universal questions relating to the whole of humanity.


Sr Giovanni Farquer, Director of Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations, Archdiocese of Sydney

Sister Giovanni worked in primary and secondary education for ten years before assuming roles in Educational and Congregational leadership. A graduate of the University of Melbourne, Sister Giovanni holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hon) English Literature and Middle Eastern History, Master of Arts Middle Eastern History - Thesis: Christology in the Koran.

Sister Giovanni was awarded a Fellowship by UNESCO for further studies abroad and completed a Master of Educational Administration at the Sorbonne Paris followed by units of study at The International Institute for Educational Planning (Paris), the Gregorian University, Rome and the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies. Sr Giovanni is currently the Director of Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations, Archdiocese of Sydney.


The Call to Co-Responsibility: Lay Leadership in the Church
Daniel Ang


Since the Second Vatican Council the concept of ‘collaboration’ has been the dominant framework through which the magisterium has read the relationship of laity to the ministry of the clergy. However, that began to change on 26 May, 2009, when Pope Benedict XVI, in an address to the Diocese of Rome, raised the term ‘co-responsibility’ as an appropriate hermeneutic through which to understand the role of laypeople in the Church.

This paper will present the theological basis and implications of such a development, underlining the significance of ‘co-responsibility’ as an ongoing realisation of the ecclesiology of communion that is the fundamental idea of the Council documents. It will address the accompanying shift from a contrastive theology of the laity to a more positive assessment of the contribution of the laity to the Church’s being and acting.

Specifically, it will contend that the endorsement of ‘co-responsibility’ by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI signals not only clear recognition of the fact of change in ecclesial ministry but acts as a stimulus to the development of lay leadership into the future. This greater realisation of common responsibility in the life of the Church depends largely on a deeper integration of the Christological and Pneumatological dimensions of Vatican II’s ecclesiology. In this integration lies the promise of the pastoral renewal and growth of the Church as a communion and the flourishing of its mission as agent of ‘the new evangelisation’.


Daniel Ang, Pastoral Planning Offier, Diocese of Parramatta

Daniel Ang is currently the Pastoral Planning Officer for the Diocese of Parramatta. He teaches ecclesiology, ministry and ecumenical theology at the Parramatta Institute for Mission and holds a Bachelor of Arts/Commerce from the University of Sydney and a Master of Divinity from the Sydney College of Divinity, undertaken at the Catholic Institute of Sydney. His research interests include the work of ressourcement theologian Henri de Lubac SJ and the writings of Thomas Merton.

Daniel is published in a number of peer reviewed journals in the areas of ecclesiology and pastoral theology. He has worked in the context of diocesan, parish and religious life, in strategic planning and adult faith education. He is a married layman with one son. Daniel blogs at and can be found on Twitter @DanielAngRC. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


One in Christ Jesus: The Ecumenical Turn of Vatican II
Fr Gerard Kelly


Commenting on the importance of Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism, Pope John Paul II said, “ecumenism, the movement promoting Christian unity, is not just some sort of ‘appendix’ which is added to the Church’s traditional activity.” He taught that ecumenism is an organic part of the Church’s life and work. Ecumenism calls for a renewal in Church life and witness, so that we may be truly the Church that God desires. The Decree on Ecumenism developed strong Catholic principles of ecumenism, relying on the theological vision of the Church presented in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church.

One of the fruits of Vatican II’s ecumenical turn has been engagement in dialogue. Dialogue involves deep listening to each other. In the process we learn something about the other, but just as importantly we learn something about ourselves, and about the Church. The ecumenical turn of Vatican II suggests that we only fully realise our true identity when we are open to learn from others. In this workshop we will review the major themes of the Decree on Ecumenism and note how its reception unfolded in the Catholic Church and in other churches and communities. The Catholic Church in Australia has been at the forefront of ecumenical engagement. We will note some of that engagement.

Some say that we are now living in an ecumenical winter. Does this mean that we have abandoned the ecumenical turn of Vatican II? Or is it rather a sign of the enormous progress that has already been made? The last steps in the journey to full visible unity are the most difficult. What are the challenges that still face us? What resources do we have to deal with them?


Fr Gerard Kelly, President of the Catholic Institute of Sydney and Professor of Theology, Catholic Institute of Sydney

Gerard Kelly was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Sydney in 1980, after completing studies at the Catholic Institute of Sydney (CIS) and graduating with the Baccalaureate of Sacred Theology (STB). After three years at St Joseph’s parish, Moorebank, he returned to the Catholic Institute of Sydney to undertake further study, and graduated in 1986 with the Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL). At the beginning of 1986 he began as a lecturer in Theology at CIS. In the middle of 1988 he commenced doctoral studies at the Collège universitaire dominicain in Ottawa, Canada, and successfully defended his doctoral thesis at the end of 1992.

He returned to CIS at the beginning of 1993 to resume as a lecturer in Theology and to take up the position of Deputy President. In 2004 he was appointed President of the Catholic Institute of Sydney, a position he currently holds. In 1993 he was a member of the Catholic Church’s delegation to the World Conference on Faith and Order, in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. He is currently the co-chair of the Lutheran–Roman Catholic Dialogue in Australia, and is chair of the Faith and Unity Commission of the National Council of Churches in Australia. He is a member of the Australian Catholic Council for Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Relations. He is also a member of the Archdiocese of Sydney Commission for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations.


From Gaudium et Spes to Humanae vitae, and beyond: a life-giving humanity
Rev Dr Gerald Gleeson, Associate Professor in the Sydney College of Divinity,

Catholic Institute of Sydney


Although the emerging question of contraception was removed from the debates at Vatican II, the Council did make important statements of principle about marriage and responsible parenthood. In this workshop we will review the Council’s teaching in its Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World in the light of Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae which reaffirmed the Church’s conviction that contraception is not in accord with the true meaning of Christian marriage. We will identify lines of continuity between the Council’s teaching and the encyclical, and review the ways in which the Church’s teaching on responsible parenthood has been further developed in the decades since. It will be argued that these developments make Paul VI’s teaching more accessible than it was in 1968. Nonetheless, the reception of Humanae Vitae – and hence of Vatican II –remains a continuing theological and pastoral challenge, with implications for all aspects of Catholic life today.


Gerald Gleeson is a priest of the Archdiocese of Sydney. He studied philosophy and theology at the Catholic Institute of Sydney, and undertook graduate studies in philosophy at the University of Cambridge and the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium). He is an Honorary Fellow of Australian Catholic University, attached to the Plunkett Centre for Ethics in Health Care (Darlinghurst).


Same message, new way: the communicating Church in a digital age
Dr Matthew Tan, Lecturer in Theology and Philosophy, Campion College Australia


This workshop will provide an overview of Inter Mirifica, the Decree on the Media of Social Communications, and seek to apply the principles within the document to the Church's new postmodern context, where social media is now the predominant communications medium.


Dr Matthew Tan is Lecturer in Theology and Philosophy at Campion College Australia. He received his doctorate in Political Theology at Australian Catholic University, and his Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He is the editor of the theological blog the Divine Wedgie. He has an upcoming book analysing a line of a paragraph of a document of Vatican II, entitled Justice, Unity and the Hidden Christ: the Theopolitics of the Social Justice Approach to Ecumenism in Vatican II. This will be published next year by Pickwick Publications.


Indigenous Peoples and Vatican II: a rallying cry for Inculturation?
Graeme Mundine, Executive Officer, ACM Sydney Archdiocese


There is a long history between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and the Catholic Church in Australia. Many generations of Indigenous Peoples have committed to the Catholic faith and yet they have not always been joyfully received in the full life of the Church. Vatican II offered an opportunity to pause and to re-think about how the Australian Church relates to and includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and their cultures. Of particular importance is the thinking on Inculturation and how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples engage in the Church and also how the Church engages with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their cultures and spirituality.

This workshop will consider, from an Aboriginal perspective, whether thinking, in the Australian context, about Inculturation has evolved since Vatican II. Pope John Paul II said to Aboriginal People in 1986 “The Church invites you to express the living word of Jesus in ways that speak to your Aboriginal minds and hearts”. In this workshop we will consider whether the post Vatican II Australian Church has meaningfully extended that invitation, how Aboriginal people have experienced being Aboriginal and being Catholic and what challenges remain.


Graeme Mundine is the Executive Officer of the Sydney Archdiocese’s Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, based at Alexandria. Graeme brings with him over thirty years experience of working with Churches. Prior to joining the ACM Graeme was with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC) which is the Indigenous commission of the National Council of Churches. He was also the inaugural Chair and Executive officer of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC). Prior to that Graeme was a Marist Brother and worked in schools and youth ministry. In all these roles Graeme strives to bring a greater understanding to the non-Indigenous community of the issues concerning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. Graeme is committed to advocating for the needs of Aboriginal People within Churches, with Government and with the wider community.



We Weren't There: Vat II for Gen X, Y & Next
Dr Joel Hodge


What is the experience of young people in the post-Vatican II Church? This question is often placed within the context of a larger debate about evangelisation and how faith can be passed on in the modern context. The question has been asked with increasing urgency as the numbers of young people active in the Church seem to dwindle. Is Vatican II to blame for this situation? Can Vatican II offer anything to answer this dilemma?

This workshop will begin by assessing the effect of the Council, as well as the influence of general cultural changes, on young people. It is important to note that many young people in Australia know little about the Second Vatican Council and its impact on church life. Nevertheless, in some ways, they seem to have been influenced by the Council and have appropriated some of its most important messages and perspectives. Furthermore, the great changes experienced in the Church and the general Australian community since the 1960s have affected the social context and norms of the current generation of young people.

Drawing on current research, this presentation will also explore the experiences, attitudes, ideas and characteristics of Catholic young people in the light of these social changes. It will end by examining current movements in the Church that might offer a taste of what is to come.


Dr Joel Hodge, Lecturer in Systematic Theology, Australian Catholic University

Joel Hodge is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at the Australian Catholic University (St Patrick's Melbourne campus). He is co-editor of "Vatican II: Reception and Implementation in the Australian Church" (John Garratt Publishing, 2012) and authored a chapter in the book, “The Post-Vatican II Experience of Youth". He was also on the organising committee for the "Fruits and Future of Vatican II" conference held in Melbourne last year.

Joel has had some involvement with youth ministry, including as a member of the Brisbane Archdiocesan Commission for Ministry with Young People (2007-8). He is also author of "Resisting Violence and Victimisation: Christian Faith and Solidarity in East Timor" (published by Ashgate, 2012) and co-editor of "Violence, Desire, and the Sacred: Girard's Mimetic Theory Across the Disciplines" (Continuum, 2012).


"In the Beginning..." The Biblical Imperative of Vatican II
Dr Robert Hugh Tilley


When we think of the Second Vatican Council and the Bible it is easy to think only of Dei Verbum, and although this is where we would start, nevertheless unless we see something of how this Document relates to the overall Council, we will miss its full significance. This is because informing the Council was a biblical logic that can be characterised as gracefulness, the major characteristic of which is the principle of expansive inclusiveness. It is in the Church that the meaning of the Bible grows; that is, grows as a seed grows into a tree, a tree tall and majestic, and, to borrow from the words of Jesus, one that becomes the home of all the birds of the world (Mark 4:31-32).

The goal of this workshop is to show how the graceful dynamic of expansive inclusiveness is present in the Council and in the Scriptures. We will see how this dynamic serves both to frame the Bible and to elucidate the meaning of its contents. That is, to show how this dynamic is present in the opening chapters of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, and how it is brought to completion in the closing chapters of the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible.

The question we want to take away from this workshop is this: in light of Dei Verbum how are we to serve the Church and, thereby, serve the world, which is to say to help in some small measure the bringing about of the New Jerusalem?


Dr Robert Hugh Tilley, Lecturer in Biblical Studies, The Catholic Institute of Sydney

Robert Tilley received his doctorate from the University of Sydney with a thesis on the interplay between biblical studies, textual theory, and critical hermeneutics, entitled Reading the Sacred Text. He has lectured widely not only in the field of biblical studies but on the engagement between literature and the arts with theology and philosophy. He has lectured and tutored in biblical studies at the University of Sydney, the Catholic Institute of Sydney, and Notre Dame (Sydney). He has also taught at the Aquinas Academy Sydney, and the Catholic Adult Education College at Lidcombe..

His work on the theology of Benedict XVI was published in 2007 – Benedict XVI and the Search for Truth – and his next book on Our Lady and the Bible – Mary the Temple of Scripture – is with the publisher now. He is currently working on two books, one on the Book of Job for a work tentatively titled That Which I Greatly Feared: Theology and Terror, and another on St Paul entitled Reading Graciously: The Word of the Cross and the Theology of Inclusion.


Griefs and hopes: How the Church has fared since the second Vatican Council
Archbishop Philip Wilson


In this workshop I would like to explore the experience of the Church since the closure of the Second Vatican Council in 1965. An examination of the hopes and expectations that abounded at the end of the Council and some of the griefs that people experienced, and what they considered to be the imperfect application of the Council's insights to the life of the Church. My aim would be to point out that, in my opinion, the positives outnumbered the negatives. In my presentation, I will make special reference to the 1983 Code of Canon Law.


Archbishop Philip Wilson BTh, LittD, DD, JCL, Archbishop, Archdiocese of Adelaide

Archbishop Wilson grew up in Cessnock, in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley, and served as a Priest in nearby Maitland. He was ordained a Bishop in 1996 when he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as Bishop of Wollongong. Five years later, he became the eighth Archbishop of Adelaide. In 2006, Archbishop Wilson was elected President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and subsequently re-elected twice more, and in 2012 was elected Vice President. Also in 2012, Archbishop Wilson was elected Chairman of the Justice, Ecology and Development Commission of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Chairperson of Catholic Earthcare Australia. Archbishop Wilson was also elected as a Member of the Canon Law Commission of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in 2012.


The work of the Holy Spirit amongst the Laity since Vatican
Shanelle Bennett (B. Soc Sci, Dip. Theol), Executive Director, NET Ministries


This workshop will take as its focus the development of the role of the laity in the Church since the Second Vatican Council. In a particular way, we will look at the role of laity in the mission of the Church, keeping in mind the fundamental question posed by Pope Paul VI in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi:

… after the Council and thanks to the Council, which was a time given her by God, at this turning-point of history, does the Church or does she not find herself better equipped to proclaim the Gospel and to put it into people's hearts with conviction, freedom of spirit and effectiveness? (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 4)

When the Second Vatican Council affirmed the dignity of every believer that comes as a result of Baptism and the subsequent universal call to holiness and mission, a new horizon opened for lay people in the life of the Church.

In subsequent years, the participation of the lay faithful in the life and mission of the Church was more clearly articulated. Great missionary writings such as Evangelii Nuntiandi and Redemptoris Missio presented both encouragement and challenge to millions of lay people from around the world who had caught the vision of the Council and had responded in their local situations. Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation, Christifideles Laici, following the Synod on the Lay Faithful in 1987 was a radical appeal to the lay faithful to take up their role. Conscious of the changing social, political and economic realities in the world and aware of a decline in missionary fervour, he states unequivocally, A new state of affairs today both in the Church and in social, economic, political and cultural life, calls with a particular urgency for the action of the lay faithful. If lack of commitment is always unacceptable, the present time renders it even more so. It is not permissible for anyone to remain idle. (C.l.3)

More recently, Pope Benedict asked the question, “To what extent is the pastoral co-responsibility of all, and particularly of the laity, recognized and encouraged?”

In this workshop, we will explore this exciting journey which continues to open up new horizons.


Shanelle Bennett (B. Soc Sci, Dip. Theol), Executive Director, NET Ministries

Shanelle Bennett is the Executive Director of NET Ministries, a peer to peer youth ministry established for 25 years in the Catholic Church of Australia. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science (counseling/psychology) and has worked many years as a Counsellor. She has a diploma in Theology and is currently undertaking further studies in counseling. Shanelle has over thirty five years of experience in youth ministry, and has spoken at Youth and Leadership Conferences both on a National and International level. Shanelle also facilitates Retreats for Women locally and nationally. Shanelle has served as a member of the Archbishop’s Taskforce on Vocations for the past 10 years, and was appointed by the Archbishop of Brisbane to the Commission for Ministry with Youth People for three years.