About Us

St. Thomas Aquinas by Gentile da Fabriano

Our Vision

“For all those who wish to make their religion more profound”

Our Purpose

In this time of moral relativism, it is more important than ever that the Centre for Catholic Studies goes out and evangelises the gospel. As Pope Francis has said, we need to take on the smell of the sheep and be part of a bruised, hurting and dirty Church that goes out to the peripheries.

The challenge that we are facing today is that the world needs a re-acquaintance with objective truth and the way in which reality is explained by philosophy. People are no longer aligned with reality and if they cannot interact with the world around them as it is, then how can they accept the message of salvation that Christ came to offer? There has never been a greater need for the wisdom and common sense of St Thomas Aquinas, G. K. Chesterton, Christopher Dawson, and others.

The Centre for Catholic Studies is here to help bring those people who are hungry for truth, for goodness and for beauty to fall in love with the world again. That is why the Centre is open to everyone, with no prior qualifications needed. We attract people from all walks of life and all ages. Why not come and find out more about “the truth that the Catholic faith professes”?

History

The Aquinas Academy was formed in 1945 by Rev. Dr. A.M. Woodbury, S.M., Ph.D., S.T.D. to bring to the people of Sydney “the truth that the Catholic faith professes”, as elaborated by the Church’s greatest theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas, as many popes and great saints since his time have proclaimed, has left us with a treasury of Catholic wisdom in his writings on philosophy and theology.

For nearly 30 years Fr. Woodbury led the Academy at St. Patrick’s Church in The Rocks and in the first 20 years there were between 200-300 students enrolling every year. After his death in 1979, the Aquinas Academy began to focus less on Scholastic philosophy and more on spirituality and psychology.

A breakaway group of Sydney lay Catholics formed the Centre for Thomistic Studies in 1985 for the purpose of continuing the work begun in 1945 by the late Rev Dr A.M. Woodbury SM. Dr Woodbury, who more than any other person was responsible for bringing to the lay people of Australia the wealth of wisdom and understanding to be found in the writings of St Thomas Aquinas.

Cardinal George Pell has described the Centre for Catholic Studies “as a superb example of the initiative of laymen and women in promoting the study and understanding of philosophy and theology under the wise guidance of St Thomas Aquinas”, adding that it made “a valuable contribution to the life of the Church in this city” and that he was “happy to be known as a supporter of the Centre”.

In 2014 the Centre of Thomistic Studies changed its name to the Centre for Catholic Studies and its current director is Dr. Donald Boland.