7:30 pm19:30

PUBLIC FORUM Francis Sullivan


In the lead up to the 2020 Plenary Council Concerned Catholics Canberra Goulburn is taking a close look at local governance with a view to contributing to archdiocesan discussions and to ongoing Plenary Council processes.

This forum follows a consultation evening with a number of parish pastoral councils within the Canberra Goulburn Archdiocese on issues including governance; review; transparency; collaboration between clergy and laity; accountability and authentic, trained leadership. The evening will focus on table discussions and responses to Archdiocesan & Plenary Council processes.

7:30pm - 9:30pm
Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture
15 Blackall Street Barton ACT


Ms Phil Billington
Monsignor John Woods

A National Perspective: The Church Governance Project
Professor John Warhurst AO

Media release from workshop held 10 October 2019

Contact Mark Metherell 0417 603 697

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7:30 pm19:30



Wagga Wagga Diocese

Public Forum

Accountable, Inclusive and Transparent

A Better Church for Australia



Chair Concerned Catholics Canberra Goulburn



Catholics Speak Out, Concerned Catholics Canberra Goulburn, Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform


7:30pm Thursday 24 October 2019

RJ Hall Room, Commercial Club

77 Gurwood Street Wagga Wagga

All are welcome.

Contact         John Goonan           Mob: 0428 970 445

                        Kerry Carmichael   Mob: 0411 222 205


John Warhurst AO is an experienced political scientist, with special interests in public policy, political lobbying, election campaigning and church-state relations. He is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University in Canberra. John is Chair of Concerned Catholics Canberra Goulburn and he currently serves on the boards of Caritas Australia. He has served on boards for Catholic Social Services Australia, Marist 180 and the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council. His long interest in religion and politics led to a research fellowship on "The Faith of Australian Prime Ministers" and to publications on the church and public debate, St Mary MacKillop and Australian society, and Catholic identity and mission. He is a regular contributor to Eureka Street magazine and the Canberra Times. John is also published regularly in other major metropolitan daily newspapers and media platforms including the ABC. 

Marilyn Hatton last year accepted the Edna Award for Community Activism. She has advocated for gender equity in the Church and in the wider community since the 1970s. Spurred by the exclusion of women from decision-making and priesthood in the Church, she has been an energetic leader of the Catholic feminist movement in Australia and overseas. Her concern about the Church’s failure to listen to appeals for an equitable role for women led her to join with other women and men to mount numerous challenges to the Church hierarchy and its orthodoxy. She was a co-coordinator of the Ordination of Catholic Women and has worked with Women and the Australian Church and Catholics for Renewal supported by Catholics Speak Out and Concerned Catholics.  She has represented Australia on the Women’s Ordination Worldwide Network and at the International Catholic Reform Network ICRN, Chicago meeting, working with supporters around the world. Ms Hatton has been a pioneering figure in Concerned Catholics of Canberra Goulburn which advocates for deep reforms in the Church including a greater role for the laity and particularly for women.

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7:30 pm19:30

PUBLIC FORUM Frank Brennan SJ AO - Our Church or Our Museum?

Our Church or Our Museum?

Contributing to a confident, humble, listening, and questioning Church

In Christus Vivit, Pope Francis says, ‘A Church always on the defensive, which loses her humility and stops listening to others, which leaves no room for questions, loses her youth and turns into a museum.’ #41

7:30pm Wednesday 26 June 2019

The Chapel, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture

15 Blackall Street Barton ACT

Frank will be leaving Canberra by the end of the year to become Rector of Newman College at the University of Melbourne in 2020.

Download the flyer

Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO is a Jesuit priest and CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia. He is superior of the Jesuit community at Xavier House in Canberra. He is professor at the P M Glynn Institute at the Australian Catholic University and research professor at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. He chaired the National Human Rights Consultation for the Rudd Government and more recently has been a member of the Turnbull Government’s expert panel conducting the Religious Freedom Review. His latest books are No Small Change: The Road to Recognition for Indigenous Australia, Amplifying That Still, Small Voice, The People’s Quest for Leadership in Church and State and The 2015 Gasson Lectures: Maintaining a Convinced and Pondered Trust. An Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for services to Aboriginal Australians, particularly as an advocate in the areas of law, social justice and reconciliation, he was the recipient of the Migration Institute of Australia’s 2013 Distinguished Service to Immigration Award and of the 2015 Eureka Democracy Award in recognition of his endeavours which have contributed to strengthening democratic traditions in Australia. When launching Frank’s book Acting on Conscience on the place of religion in Australian politics and law, Kevin Rudd described Frank as ‘an ethical burr in the nation’s saddle’. Earlier during the 1998 Wik debate, Paul Keating labelled him ‘the meddling priest’. The National Trust has classified him as a Living National Treasure. Frank serves on the board of the National Apology Foundation and on the Advisory Council of the Global Foundation. His research interests include conscience and faith, human rights and the rule of law, and the rights of Indigenous peoples and asylum seekers.


All are welcome. Supper provided.

Overnight billeting is available for rural and interstate visitors to Canberra (Contact

Contact Mark Metherell 0417 603 697

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7:30 pm19:30

PUBLIC FORUM Robert Fitzgerald AM - Governance for our Church - Out of Hope not Fear

190416 - IMAGE - CC Public Forum - Audience.jpg

Governance for our Church - Out of hope, not fear

Exploring the lessons of the Royal Commission and beyond, for the future governance, leadership and culture of the Catholic Church and its people

Robert Fitzgerald AM is one of the six former Commissioners for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2013-2018). Prior to that, he has been a Commissioner on several inquiries, and for more than 30 years he has been involved in a voluntary capacity in numerous community services including President of the Australian Council of Social Service, and NSW State President of the St Vincent de Paul Society.

This Concerned Catholics forum will be held at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Blackall Street, Barton ACT.

All welcome. Supper will be provided.

Overnight billeting available for rural visitors to Canberra (Contact

Download the flyer here

190426 - Robert Fitzgerald provided a glimmer of hope for Australia’s Catholics - John Warhurst - Pearls and Irritations

190411 - Women critical to the church: Commissioner - Tessa Akerman - The Australian

190410 - MEDIA RELEASE - Public Forum - A Catholic future - out of hope not fear - Robert Fitzgerald AM

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7:30 pm19:30

PUBLIC WORKSHOP 2020 Plenary Council

L to R: Terry Fewtrell Di Van Meegan - Facilitators - John Warhurst Chair Concerned Catholics

L to R Terry Fewtrell and Di Van Meegan facilitators, John Warhurst Concerned Catholics Chair

The Chapel, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture
55 Blackall Street Barton ACT

Terry Fewtrell
Di Van Meegan

Concerned Catholics’ next public forum will focus solely on shaping a submission to the 2020 Plenary Council.

The meeting will provide an opportunity for Catholics of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn to start to frame a submission to the Plenary Council that reflects the realities of the predicament of the Australian church in 2018 and then to discern/distil the wisdom of the People of God in this Archdiocese in responding to that situation.


These Background Papers are intended to provide context and background to inform the discussions at the workshop on the evening of Thursday 29 November.

People attending the workshop are strongly encouraged to read the papers prior to attending the workshop.

Background Paper No 1 - Demographics of the Australian Church - Andrew Phelan
Background Paper No 2 - Canon Law Issues - Andrew Phelan
Background Paper No 3 - Understanding Vatican Council II - Paul Collins
Background Paper No 4 - Recommendations from the Royal Commission - Kevin Vassarotti
Background Paper No 5 - Church Culture and Perspectives of Pope Francis - Terry Fewtrell
Background Paper No 6 - REVISED - Women, Leadership and Church - Marilyn Hatton

Contact: Mark Metherell 0417 603 697

Article - Seems Francis is with the people - Terry Fewtrell

Article - Seeking a plenary council fit for purpose - Frank Brennan

Concerned Catholics Initial Submission 2020 Plenary Council October 2017

Canberra Goulburn Archdiocesan Central Deanery Draft Submission from Listening and Dialogue Session July 2018

181210 - MEDIA RELEASE - Canberra Catholics work on blueprint for Church reform

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7:30 pm19:30

PUBLIC FORUM Bishop Vincent Long

REPORT - CC Lobbying and Engagement March 2017 - September 2018 pdf

SPEECH - Sr Clare Condon sgs former leader Sisters of the Good Samaritan pdf
SPEECH - Anne Kirwan, CEO Catholic Care Canberra & Goulburn pdf
SPEECH - Bishop Vincent Long, Diocese of Parramatta pdf


7:00pm for 7:30pm start
Tuesday 11 September 2018

The Chapel
Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture
15 Blackall Street, BARTON ACT



Bishop Vincent Long
Bishop of Parramatta
Ms Anne Kirwan
CEO Catholic Care Canberra-Goulburn
Sr Clare Condon
former leader Good Samaritan Sisters

Professor John Warhurst will chair the forum and provide an update on the work of Concerned Catholics Canberra-Goulburn.

All are welcome. Supper will be provided.
Admission is free but donations welcome.

Limited parking is available at the venue
Additional parking is available in the Wilson carpark at the back of the Ottoman Restaurant

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6:00 pm18:00

BOOK LAUNCH Anthony M Maher

You are invited to join Fr Frank Brennan sj and Bishop Stephen Pickard in the Chapel at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture on Tuesday 11 September at 6:00pm for for the launch of Anthony M Maher's books:

The Forgotten Jesuit of Catholic Modernism, (2018) 
This book illustrates how George Tyrrell's theological challenge to those who would take the church out of history was never effectively refuted, either at the time or since, and that the issues Tyrrell raised are still relevant and alive in the church today. In highlighting Tyrrell's liberation of theology from dogmatism, the current work describes why he was vilified by the Roman hierarchy, expelled from the Jesuits, and eventually excommunicated. Tyrrell's Ignatian-inspired, hope-filled theology should not be forgotten, not least because it sheds further light on another courageous and prophetic Jesuit, Pope Francis. In revisiting Tyrrell's Ignatian theology, this book celebrates the promise that Vatican II presents to the future church, namely, a universal call to holiness as embraced by Pope Francis.

Faith & the Political in the Post-Secular Age (2018)
An ecumenical work, the authors challenge the current polarising rise of aggressive atheism and closed-truth fundamentalisms, both religious and economic. The work is mindful that a Gospel inspired prophetic voice seeks to persuade rather than coerce, to strike a balance between individual autonomy and the protection of the common good. Appealing to those of faith and none, written by leading scholars, yet in a conversational style that is accessible to the modern reader, the book opposes the growing cultural dominance of 'fake news' and advocates for rigorous 'truth-seeking'.

Contributors: Anthony Maher, Elaine Graham, Bob Dixon, Andrew Cameron, John Warhurst, Terry Veiling, Brendan Long, Frank Brennan

Anthony M Maher is a Research Fellow of the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology (PACT) at Charles Sturt University, Australia. He is the series editor of two ongoing projects, Explorations in Practical Theology, and Educating Hearts - Ignatian Characteristics of Education.

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to 29 Aug

Health and integrity in church and in ministry by the University of Divinity

PLEASE NOTE: There has been a very strong response, and bookings for this event have now closed.

An ecumenical conversation on the task of rebuilding and renewal after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

At a time when Australia’s churches are still in an early phase of absorbing and responding to the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, this two-and-a-half-day symposium aims to begin an inclusive, ecumenical and interdisciplinary conversation about the task of cultural change and renewal that lies ahead.

There are significant questions that need to be taken up in light of the Royal Commission’s final report:

  • What are the theological implications of the child sexual abuse crisis and indeed the theological learnings to be gained from the Royal Commission?
  • How do we support those who have been harmed, confront the damage that has been caused within the ecclesial community, and rebuild trust?
  • How do we build ecclesial communities and ministerial practice marked by health and integrity?
  • What are the neuralgic issues that need to be faced and addressed, and how can resistance to change be confronted positively and transformed for the good of the ecclesial community?
  • What questions require further research?
  • In responding to the Royal Commission, what can the various Christian faith traditions learn from each other?

This conference aims to bring together a broad cross section of voices: church leaders, academics, people in religious and pastoral ministry, representatives of Church agencies, together with those who rarely get a voice, including survivors of abuse and their supporters, members of the laity, women, and church reform groups.

former child abuse royal commissioner Robert Fitzgerald
Anglican Bishop Alison Taylor
a leading member of the Franciscan Friars, Brother John Wong
clinical psychologist and former Greens Senator Christabel Chamarette
Newcastle University academic Dr Kathleen McPhillips
Dr Peter Wilkinson and
his co-author of a study on Catholic child sexual abuse, Professor Des Cahill.

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to 21 Jun

2020 SYNOD PREPARATION Listening and Dialogue Sessions

The Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese is hosting a number of listening sessions as part of consultation ahead of the 2020 Plenary Council.

19 June 2018
10:00am Gungahlin Club, Gungahlin
7:00pm Gungahlin Club, Gungahlin

21 June 2018
10:00am Eastlake Football Club, Kingston
7:00pm Eastlake Football Club, Kingston

For more detail visit the Archdiocesan website

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7:00 pm19:00

BOOK LAUNCH Absolute Power How the Pope became the most influential man in the world

Absolute Power: How the Pope became the most influential man in the world
By Paul Collins

"What is different about Pope Francis? How has the papacy become so influential in the modern world? Come and hear noted author and media commentator PAUL COLLINS speak about his new book with leading journalist PAUL BONGIORNO in the chair.  

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Parish Hall
Holy Trinity Church
3 Strangways Street, Curtin, ACT

All are welcome. Supper provided. 

Copies of the book will be available for sale.

Enquiries: Concerned Catholics Canberra-Goulburn: 0439 498 283

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3:00 pm15:00

PRAYER GATHERING St Matthew's Church in Page responds to Royal Commission and its own history

A Prayer Gathering will be held to remember and acknowledge the people who have come forward with their stories of sexual abuse in the then parish of St Matthew’s in Page

The gathering will be held on Sunday 8 April at 3pm at St Matthew’s Church in Page and will be open to all people who wish to attend.

The gathering will take the form of a prayer service, followed by the planting of a weeping cherry tree and the blessing of a plaque. The tree is deciduous and has been chosen specifically to reflect the great sadness of the abuse and the hope of healing. The tree will also bear white flowers in Spring to signify the innocence of the children and hope for the future.

The purpose of this prayer gathering is to create a space in the garden at St Matthew's Church Page where people who told their stories of sexual abuse can be assured they have been heard and acknowledged. It is also a space where families and friends of those children can feel remembered. The space will be an ongoing sign to the general parish community and others, that the betrayals and failures of the past will not be forgotten, nor repeated.

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7:30 pm19:30

PUBLIC FORUM Francis Sullivan

Read Francis Sullivan's Speech
Media Release

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse delivered its final report to government on 15 December 2017 after five years of investigation.

At our third public forum Francis Sullivan, CEO, Truth Justice and Healing Council, will provide an analysis of the Commission's final report.

Concerned Catholics Chair, Professor John Warhurst will also provide a report on Concerned Catholic's liaison with the Canberra Goulburn Archdiocese and the 2020 Synod.

7:00pm for 7:30pm
Thursday 22 March 1018
Centre for Christianity and Culture
15 Blackall Street, Barton, ACT

Limited parking is available at the venue
Additional parking is available in the Wilson carpark at the back of the Ottoman Restaurant

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6:00 pm18:00

BOOK LAUNCH Trapped in a Closed World: Catholic Culture and Sexual Abuse


Pearls and Irritations: The Dangers of a Feminine Touch: Kevin Peoples

Trapped in a Closed World is Kevin Peoples' first-hand account of the harmful clerical culture that dominated Catholic seminary life in Australia in the 1960s. This is more that just a memoir, It is an insightful and compelling examination of clerical culture and its link to sexual abuse in Catholic institutions.

6:00pm Wednesday 22 November

Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, 15 Blackall Street, Barton ACT

Please Note: Due to current court proceedings, Trapped is not available for sale in Victoria.

Limited parking is available at the venue
Additional parking is available in the Wilson carpark at the back of the Ottoman Restaurant

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7:30 pm19:30

PUBLIC FORUM Sr Ruth Durick & Fr Peter Day

  • Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Media Release: CC Public Forum 31 August 2017 Canberra

The Chapel
Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture
55 Blackall Street BARTON ACT
(Parking: See details below)

Sr Ruth Durick OSU
President Catholic Religious Australia
Member representative Catholic Professional Standards

Fr Peter Day
Associate Priest, Queanbeyan, Bungendore, Braidwood
Founder 'Home' in Queanbeyan

Dr John Falzon
CEO St Vincent de Paul Society
National Council of Australia

7:00pm                Refreshments
7:30pm                Introduction and Welcome: John Warhurst
7:40pm                Sr Ruth Durick
7:50pm                Fr Peter Day
8:00pm                Dr John Falzon
8:10pm                 Q&A
8:30pm                2020 Plenary Council
                             National and Local Update (chaired by Robyn Beetham)
                             Monica Phelan
                             John Warhurst
8:45pm                 Q&A
9:30pm                 Close

Limited parking is available at the venue
Additional parking is available in the Wilson carpark at the back of the Ottoman Restaurant

Admission is free but donations are welcome on the night

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7:30 pm19:30

PUBLIC FORUM Kristina Keneally, Marilyn Hatton, Francis Sullivan

Read Francis Sullivan's speech
Read Marilyn Hatton's speech
Media Release: Canberra Catholics call for reform at watershed meeting of laity
The Canberra Times: Canberra Catholics push for more power in church decision-making

Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture
55 Blackall Street BARTON ACT 2600

Francis Sullivan CEO Truth Justice and Healing Council
Kristina Keneally former NSW Premier
Marilyn Hatton, Convenor Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Renewal

See the video

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