The University of Notre Dame Australia “making a difference” By Opening the Centre for Faith, Ethics and Society

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 26-10-2009

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Sydney Campus

Publication Place



The Centre for Faith, Ethics and Society, was officially opened by Adjunct Professor Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP at the University’s Broadway site in Sydney on Thursday 22 October.

Bishop Anthony delighted the audience with an account of Catholic ethics as remedying polarization in society. He reminded his audience that Catholics have the oldest and largest education system in the world, with over 200,000 schools and over 1,000 universities - an institution Catholics invented. He explained that the Catholic Church looks to high education institutions to make a difference in the world according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Bishop Anthony referenced the most recent encyclical letter from Pope Benedict XV1, Caritas in Veritate (2009). The Pope teaches that academic research into the challenges of the physical environment, such as ‘climate change’, or of the social environment, such as the ‘global financial crisis’, must go hand in hand with moral evaluation. This requires us to bring both faith and reason to the task so as to engage the various academic disciplines in a harmonious, interdisciplinary whole. Wisdom – the principal resource of the university – will reclaim the unity of knowledge.

The Bishop welcomed the new Centre as a sign of Notre Dame’s willingness to engage the community in research. The Centre’s purpose is to promote the study of Catholic intellectual tradition and moral tradition, with a particular focus on faith and ethics – and their application and integration into the broader life of society.

Vice Chancellor, Professor Celia Hammond, said that this exciting development is one which lies at the heart of our mission to be a truly great Catholic university. “Given the University’s commitment to the complementarity of faith and reason, the use of reason in context of the Catholic tradition will ground the Centre’s capacity to contribute positively to public debate and social issues,” said Professor Hammond.

Associate Professor Sandra Lynch, is the Centre’s inaugural Director. She commented: “The Centre will help to facilitate students’ engagement in the ethical dimensions of their prospective professions. Our aspirations are also for the development of a research culture which guides practice and contributes to the distinctive character of Notre Dame, but also to ethical debate in the wider community.” A seminar series and a number of other initiatives are planned for early next year.

Media contact:

Rebecca Palser (02) 8204 4409