Hicks' American lawyer inaugurates Philip Neri Lecture Series at Notre Dame

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Fall 19-4-2006

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Sydney

Publication Place



American Lawyer, Major Michael Mori, recently visited the Sydney Campus of the University of Notre Dame Australia to deliver the inaugural guest lecture in the Philip Neri Lecture Series.

Major Mori, the military’s defence lawyer for Australian David Hicks, spoke passionately about his work and the relationship he has forged with Mr Hicks over recent years.

In front of more than 100 people, including members of the legal profession, Major Mori outlined the unprecedented procedures of the controversial US Military Commission, which makes a fair trial for Mr Hicks unattainable.

Major Mori expressed great concern at reports his client had been placed back in solitary confinement. ‘The information I'm getting is David has done nothing to motivate this.

Since Major Mori’s speech, the British Court of Appeal has upheld an earlier ruling that Mr Hicks is a British citizen. Major Mori hopes that British Government will secure Mr Hicks’ release from Guantanamo Bay, as it has done for other British inmates.

The Philip Neri Lecture Series is named after St Philip Neri [1515-95], also called the Apostle of Rome, who was one of the most remarkable laymen, and later priest of the Counter-Reformation period.

Notre Dame’s Campus Minister, Anthony Crook, says that St Philip was a man of great humility and good humour, who continued the reforming work of the Council of Trent not at a doctrinal level, but at the individual level.

‘Philip gathered about himself groups of young people who came together to discuss matters of contemporary concern, both spiritual and social. He had a particular concern for the marginalised of society and so these gatherings, which became known as ‘the Oratory’ focused on discussing contemporary issues related to faith and society,’ Mr Crook said.

In 1575, towards the end of his life, Philip founded the Congregation of the Oratory, a congregation of priests and brothers dedicated to preaching and service to the local Church.

Three of the hallmarks of this congregation, which still exists today, are:

  1. A commitment to, and spirituality of, place – Oratorians remain in the one house for life,
  2. A commitment to service especially to the marginalised – Philip is quoted as saying: “brothers when shall begin to good”,
  3. A commitment to involve the laity more fully in the life of the Church and its service to broader community

Philip accepted all people making an honest attempt to devote their lives to God.

Notre Dame’s Philip Neri Lecture Series aims to continue the Oratory model of engaging society, especially the young, in a process of critical dialogue around contemporary issues. The three hallmarks of the Oratorian spirit mentioned above are reflected in the commitment of the lecture series to locate itself within, and add to, the rich life of the Sydney Church.