John Haldane

J. Newton Rayzor Distinguished Chair in Philosophy at Baylor University, USA. Professor of Moral Philosophy and co-director of the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs in the University of St Andrews, Scotland; Visiting Professor in the Centre for Character and Virtues in the University of Birmingham, England; Permanent Research Fellow of the Center for Ethics and Culture, University of Notre Dame, USA, and Chair of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, London.

Marian transformations: art, philosophy and mystical theology

Catholic (and Orthodox) understandings of the status of Mary have been closely tied to cultural representations - 'images' - of her; and to theological/philosophical deductions concerning her role. This talk will examine these and relate them to an aspect of religious practice that is now often misunderstood, namely spiritual practices.


Dr M Isabell Naumann ISSM

Lecturer - Theology, Catholic Institute of Sydney

Mariology at the beginning of the third Millennium

According to the document The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, “the dignity and importance of Mariology ... derive from the dignity and importance of Christology, from the value of ecclesiology and pneumatology, from the meaning of supernatural anthropology and from eschatology: Mariology is closely connected with these tracts.” (22)

The Second Vatican Council marked a turning point in the Church's approach to her own identity and mission which consequently affected Marian theology and spirituality. What emerged from the conciliar discussion and from post-conciliar magisterial documents, in particular from the writings of the recent Popes, suggests a balanced approach toward a more integrated Mariology. Mary represents in a tangible and personal form the Church’s own identity, activity and goal. This more integrated picture of Mary and the Church has raised and opened up many issues, which necessarily involve further investigation and development.

Contemporary Marian studies –enriched by a biblical rediscovery of Mary’s unique role– reflect upon hermeneutical-cultural, anthropological-historical, mariological-ecclesiological, ecumenical and related aspects.

Luke 1:26-38 as a Model of Dialogue

The human person is called and gifted to participate profoundly in an ongoing dialogue with God. The principle of dialogue, evident throughout Sacred Scripture, e.g., in the covenant stories of the Old Testament, is particularly evident in an exemplary mode at the beginning of the New Testament when God calls Mary to her distinguished active role at the centre of the history of salvation, in the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption.

A central text to illustrate the dialogic God-human relationship and co-operation is Luke’s account of the Annunciation to Mary, Luke 1:26-38. In an arche-typal fashion, Mary, in her response to God in the dialogic event - Trinitarian freedom and Mary's human freedom - emerges as the theological person, the person with God.


Rev. Dr Robin Koning SJ

Socius to the Provincial
Province Dean of Studies
Australian Province of the Society of Jesus

Revisiting the Marian Dimension of Ignatian Spirituality

Mary is a central figure in the spirituality of St Ignatius Loyola. This is evident in his own spiritual journey recorded in his Autobiography as also from the prominent role he gives to Mary in the Spiritual Exercises he bequeathed to the Church. Still, in some more recent attempts to make Ignatian spirituality available to people from a range of Christian backgrounds, this Marian dimension of that spirituality has been downplayed or presented as optional.

In this paper, I will highlight Mary’s significance in Ignatian spirituality. I will then note the problematic way in which some adaptations of the Exercises have dealt with her. In particular, I will examine the Triple Colloquy, a prayer form in which Mary plays a key role and which is prayed at points in the Exercises at which the exercitant seeks particularly important graces. I will show how some contemporary ecumenical presentations of this prayer eliminate Mary altogether. In so doing, it will be argued, they undermine the dynamic of this prayer form as Ignatius intended it. At a deeper level, such attempts will be shown to be grounded on a problematic Trinitarian subordinationism.


Dr Tracey Rowland

John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family - Melbourne

The Queenship of Our Lady in the Catholic Social Imagination

In his work on Modern Social Imaginaries Charles Taylor argued that implicit in our social imaginations is the ability to recognise ideal cases and beyond the ideal stands some notion of a moral or metaphysical order, of which the norms and ideals make sense. Much of Taylor’s book on Modern Social Imaginaries is taken up with explaining the various secular myths which ground contemporary cultural life in western countries. With reference to Taylor’s sociological observations this paper will address the decidedly non-secular place of the Queenship of Our Lady in the social imagination of Catholics, especially in the British context.


Rev. Fr Scot Anthony Armstrong

Member of the Brisbane Oratory
Sessional Lecturer
John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family (Melbourne) and Vianney College (Wagga Wagga)

The Annunciation: Icon of All Genuine Ecclesial Reform

At the moment of the Annunciation the full revelation of the Trinity, the incarnation of the Eternal Word of the Father, and the unveiling of the personal reality and action of the Holy Spirit took place. That moment, awaited by the ages, also constituted the inchoate redemption of the human race. By the will of God, the assent of one person was necessary. In the Annunciation to Mary of Nazareth we are given the pattern that underlies all of salvation history, the nature of the Church and of the sacraments, the cooperation of human freedom with grace, and the irreplaceable dignity of every human person. The icon of the Annunciation also provides the key to the new springtime for the Church, and to the new evangelisation.


Dr Robert M. Andrews

Lecturer in Church History, Catholic Institute of Sydney

True Devotion to Mary as a Via Media: John Henry Newman’s Nineteenth Century Apologia for Our Lady

This paper elucidates John Henry Newman’s contributions to nineteenth-century Mariology by setting his biblical and patristic devotion to the Virgin Mary within the context of nineteenth-century theological debate—typified by Catholic-Protestant tensions. Making use of terminology that Newman used and promoted whilst he was an Anglican—that is, of a via media as representing a middle-way between extremes, this discussion argues that after his conversion Newman in fact created a Catholic synthesis that chartered a sensible course between Protestant minimalism and ultramontane extremes. This synthesis will be shown to have been evident in Newman’s interactions with, on the one hand, the extreme Mariology of Frederick William Faber, and the High Church criticisms of Edward Bouverie Pusey. Far from simply critiquing Protestantism, Newman was equally as scathing of unorthodox tendencies he saw being promoted by members of his adopted Church.


Fr Joseph Azize

UNDA – Sydney - Adjunct Associate Professor

Historical Methodology and Mary the Mother of Jesus

This article sifts the earliest historical evidence for the Christian tradition concerning Mary the Mother of Jesus, with a view to determining what may be affirmed, with certainty or with probability, of those traditions concerning her. Commencing with the New Testament, and considering also the evidence of Ignatius of Antioch and the Gospel (Protoevangelium) of James, it emerges that, with a sound historical methodology, there is more evidence for continuity in the tradition than is generally allowed. In particular, an impartial consideration of the ancient evidence, read in the light of its cultural context, renders it quite possible that Matthew 1:25 is entirely consistent with the ancient tradition of the perpetual virginity of Mary. It also emerges that the Protoevangelium is a much under-rated source for early Christian beliefs.


Mark Aarts

MTheol student
UNDA – Sydney

Toward a Marian Hermeneutic of Scripture or How to Read the Bible Properly

At the beginning of the third millennium, biblical studies and the spiritual lives of the Christian faithful hang in the balance as two fundamental principles informing exegesis of Sacred Scripture remain unreconciled. The enthusiasm amongst biblical scholars for methodologies that seek to shed light on the human authorship of the Bible has largely replaced concern for its Divine authorship. This, according to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, is due to a failure today to understand adequately the nature of inspiration; that is, the process by which God co-operated with human authors to compose the sacred books. The argument of this paper is that a renewed understanding of inspiration rehabilitates the neglected principle that “Sacred Scripture must be read in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written”. Reflection on how the Bible was written in the Spirit reveals that the human authors experienced a participated union in God. To read in the Spirit, therefore, requires from the believer and exegete alike a participated union in God, the principal author of Scripture. A renewed theology of inspiration is in this way shown to promote a theology of interpretation grounded in holiness. This paper will indicate that both the faithful and the bible critic can find the pre-eminent example of this “participated union” or “holy reading of Scripture” in the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Dr Mario Baghos

Associate Lecturer in Church History
St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College

Theotokoupoleis: the Mother of God as Protectress of the Two Romes

Cities in late antique and medieval Christendom were often dedicated to the protection of a patron or matron saint, who, on account of their close proximity to God, could thus intercede to him on behalf of the citizens. Modern cities have lost this perception of reality, and, from a secular point of view, are bereft of intercessors. This paper addresses the challenge presented by the latter phenomenon by turning to the medieval perception of the Theotokos (Mother of God) as protectress of and intercessor for the cities of Rome and Constantinople. In the case of the latter, from the 7th century onwards the Byzantines devoted the city to her protection, leading to the proliferation of her veneration in within the city-space. The representation of the Mother of God in the apses of Byzantine churches as ‘Wider than the Heavens,’ which depicts her in the orans position, indicates – when one considers the dominant role of Christ Pantokrator in these domed structures – her role as intercessor to him on our behalf. Such Byzantine motifs also appear in the medieval churches of Rome, and thus this paper will account for the impact of the former city on the latter before addressing the effects of the marginalisation of the role of saints-as-intercessors in the public life of modern cities.


Dr Mariusz Biliniewicz

Lecturer, Theology
UNDA – Sydney

Our Lady in the teaching of St. John Paul II – an overview

This paper will present some most important issues regarding the teaching of Pope St. John Paul II on Mary. It will highlight the most significant themes present in his reflection, discuss the main inspirations and influences on his thought, demonstrate the historical, theological, ecclesial and ecumenical contexts of his works and discuss the importance of his contribution which was offered in the uneasy aftermath of the Second Vatican Council and at the threshold of the third millennium. The paper will also identify areas which need further reflection in the light of contemporary mariological discussions.


Dr. Sandra Carroll

Lecturer in Religious Education
Australian Catholic University

Image and Word: The dynamic interaction between images of Mary and doctrinal development

Generations of Christians have shaped their own image of Mary and adapted them to religious needs in different times and places. This paper argues for a dynamic relationship between depictions of Mary in Art, theological reflection and doctrinal development. Images of Mary both reflect doctrines but also have an impact on the milieu in which theological reflection and doctrinal development occur. A range of images from the history of mainly Western Art will be presented. The paper proposes cultural understandings of women impact on how Mary is depicted and that images of Mary can also influence how as a culture we understand the roles of women. A brief background will be given to the paintings but essentially the images are allowed to speak for themselves in promoting reflection about our own images of Mary.


Dr John Francis Collins

Lecturer – Practical and Pastoral Theology, Catholic Institute of Sydney

Mary and the Feminine

Seven years before his death in 2014 the then 90 year old Benedictine monk Sebastian Moore published a collection of essays in a book called the Contagion of Jesus. Included in this book is a chapter entitled “On Mary and the Feminine”.

In a manner that perhaps can be exercised by one who, at that time, had lived the monastic life for 70 years, Moore turned his considerable reflective capacity and his psychological and theological expertise to the topic of “Mary”.

From the mysteriously held belief of the Church, faith in, prayer to and confidence in Mary is a psychologically proven tenet of faith. It is a belief that works. The ground of faith however is ultimately mysterious and is only confirmed psychologically.

This paper draws on Moore’s mature reflection on Marian dogmatic statements, “Mother of God” the “Immaculate Conception” and “The Assumption” as an invitation to explore the potentially transformative topic of “Mary and the Feminine”.

For Moore, “the Immaculate Conception is as necessary as a reminder of who Mary is as the homoousion is as a reminder of who Jesus is.” (p. 90) The theological task addressed in this paper is a search for a middle between the technical language of dogmatic definitions and the millions of rosaries recited every day.


Protopresbyter Dr Doru Costache

Senior Lecturer in Theology (Patristic Studies)
St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College

The Mystery of Mary in the Byzantine Theotokia of Dominical Vespers

Sometimes attributed to the great liturgical poet, Saint John Damascene, the eight vesperal theotokia for Sunday, chanted on Saturday evening, are hymns of overwhelming imaginal and thematic intensity. Corresponding to the eight musical modes of the Byzantine rite, within the resurrectional setting of dominical vespers these hymns celebrate Mary the Theotokos (“The one who gave birth to God”) as the signifier par excellence of the mystery of Christ and the salvation of the world. The hymns contemplate the Theotokos from the deepest theology of divine economy – both directly and mediated by scriptural symbols – within a rhetorical context meant to induce awe to a congregation assembled for the purposes of remembrance, learning and doxology. Here, Mary is the one in/by whom a range of scriptural types are fulfilled and clarified, and for this reason the one who is best positioned to initiate God’s people in the mysteries of revelation and salvation. She teaches, comforts and encourages the people of God, as well as mediating for it. In this paper I consider the eight theotokia in order to discern, first, the relationship between Christ and his Mother; second, aspects pertaining to the identity of the Theotokos; third, a series of Old Testament theotokological types; and, forth, the relationship between Mary and God’s people. My goal is to bring to the fore the ways in which the Byzantines have approached the Theotokos, within a complex framework – theological, hermeneutical and pastoral.


Dr Bernard Doherty

Lecturer in New Religious Movements, Cults and Sects at St Mark's National Theological Centre, ACT

Marian Arks Cut Adrift: The Post-Roman Catholic Careers of Two Australian Marian Visionaries

In an important recent sociological study on the organizational development of Marian apparitional movements David G. Bromley and Rachel S. Bobbitt (2011) outlined a model to account for how Marian apparitional movements develop in interaction with their surrounding culture and the institutional Roman Catholic Church and the alternative trajectories that such movements can take during this development. In this paper I chart how each of the six stages of movement development outlined by these scholars apply to two controversial and highly publicized Marian apparitional movements in Australia: the Magnificat Meal Movement International and the Order of Saint Charbel; both of which ultimately split from the Church to found sectarian religious communities organised around the visions of their respective charismatic leaders, Debra Burslem (b. 1953) and William Kamm (b. 1950), better known as "The Little Pebble." In addition, in this paper I develop aspects of Bromley and Bobbitt’s model to further illuminate what happens to apparitional movements which are rejected by the institutional Roman Catholic Church and continue to resist attempts to curtail their activities and to clarify some of the ways in which movement careers develop in what I call their post-Roman Catholic phase. I demonstrates how post-Catholic apparitional movements develop through the interplay of at least four distinct organizational strategies: reintegration, regularization, hereticization, and alternative legitimation. These strategies are demonstrated by a series of historical and contemporary case studies.


Veronica Fitzpatrick

Honours student
UNDA – Sydney

The Madonna della Misericordia – An Image for the 14th, 15th and 21st Centuries

This paper is an art historical response to the conference’s theme of “Mary at the beginning of the Third Millennium.” In this paper I draw attention to the image of the Madonna della Misericordia – a representation of the Virgin that was popular in the post-plague Italian art of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Depicting Mary as a protector and intercessor for human beings, the image would have brought hope and comfort to those affected by the ravages of the Black Death. Despite the Madonna della Misericordia being an image for the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, I argue that the image and its concept is relevant to the twenty-first century, in light of current discussions on the Virgin given by St. John Paul II and Pope Francis I.


Jocelyn Hedley

PhD candidate
UNDA – Sydney

‘I am your Mother & His’: Marian devotion, union and identification in the life of Eileen O’Connor, co-founder of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor

In the early years of the 20th century and with only those closest to her, the young Australian foundress began to refer to herself as ‘Our Lady’, and as Our Lord’s ‘Mother’. Her concerns at discretion were valid then as they would be today, for such references are indeed disconcerting. Given what we know of her faithfulness to the Magisterium, can it really be that Eileen O’Connor was serious in her claims? If so, what do we make of this? How can such thinking possibly fit into Catholic teaching? Eileen’s intimate identification with Our Lady will be explored via ideas of mystic union, which mystic union has at its heart suffering and sacrifice, and which in turn operates in, through and for the communion that is the Church.


Dr. Renée Köhler-Ryan

Senior Lecturer, Philosophy
UNDA – Sydney

How is Mary a Seat of Wisdom? An Spatial Exploration

In the middle ages, one of the names given to Mary was “Our Lady Seat of Wisdom”. It is a noteworthy title when thinking about Mary as our model for prayerful contemplation. This paper will examine some of the medieval iconography of Mary as Seat of Wisdom. It will also consider images of containment that directly relate to Mary both as containing God (as theotokos) and as being contained by Him (held by Christ in an aureola). These images will enable us to explore the significance of Mary as a “seat”. Implications for a theologically informed philosophical understanding of wisdom will be the final keystone of the presentation.


Dr Peter John McGregor

Lecturer - Theology, Catholic Institute of Sydney

Mary as Priest, Prophet and King

At Vatican II a decision was made not to produce a document specifically devoted to Mary, but to include a section on Mary in Lumen Gentium, thereby emphasising the relationship between Mary and the Church. In the same document one finds some significant reflections on how members of the Church can participate in the priestly, prophetic and royal mission of Christ. Since Mary is a member of Christ’s body, it is valid to ask how she participates in this threefold mission. In order to answer this question, one first needs to arrive at an adequate understanding of what is entailed in these missions. It will be argued that a more coherent understanding of these missions needs to be expounded than is to be found in Lumen Gentium, Ad Gentes, and Apostolicam Actuositatem. This more integrated understanding could then be applied to the way in which Mary shares in this mission. In practical terms it is hoped that such an understanding will assist the Church in its mission of evangelisation. Since the threefold mission of Christians is an important concept in Protestant Christianity, it is also to he hoped that such an understanding could help strengthen ecumenical ties, which would in turn strengthen the evangelical mission of the Catholic Church.


Natasha Marsh

Post-graduate student
John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family – Melbourne

Icons of Mary: Bridging the divide between the didactic and the devotional

For centuries, the Catholic West has oscillated between a ‘high’ and ‘low’ Mariology. These have been, in turn, reflected in artistic representations of Our Lady. As the devotion to Mary is intrinsically wrapped in her artistic representation, these one-sided depictions can stunt the hyperdoulia that her ‘objective value’ demands - with devotees rocking between statuesque aloofness and hyper-emotionalism.

We suggest that the iconography of the Eastern Orthodox Churches gives an example of an art form that does not set ‘high’ and ‘low’ Mariology in opposition. To demonstrate this, we will look at three images: Theotokos of Vladimir, Panagia Paramythia, and Theotokos Life-Giving Spring to show how each image, while emphasising or anticipating the elements of ‘high’ Mariology (theotokos, perpetual virgin, Immaculately conceived and co-Redemptrix) also hint at her humanity; the close embrace of mother and child, holding back her Child’s arm in restraint and her motherly concern for the wellbeing of her children in the vale of tears.

Iconography, with its didactic nature and precise theological symbolism, has allowed for the simultaneous artistic contemplation of Mary as mother, queen, virgin and woman. We hope that an acquaintance with iconography will give Western artists encouragement to depict Mary in her totality.


Dr Mauro Meruzzi

Associate Professor of New Testament
Pontificia Università Urbaniana

The Birth of New Testament Mariology and the Shift in the Perception of Femininity at the Beginning of the Third Millennium. What does this has to say about the New Evangelisation?

The aim of this paper is: to highlight the importance of the general perception of femininity in the society in general, and in the Christian communities in particular; to see how this is provoked by Mariology; and, finally, to identify some useful cues for evangelisation at the dawn of the third millennium.

The birth of Mariology in the New Testament provokes a major shift in the perception of femininity in the Christian communities, and not only among them. Something similar can be traced now, at the beginning of the third millennium. The gradual discovery of Mary in the New Testament arouses a decisive shift in mentality: the woman is considered from another point of view, she acquires a new status. This status is rooted in the OT, specifically in Gn 1-3, but with the NT Mariology emerges a complete revelation on the feminine, and on its significance. A significance that could be a guideline for the evangelisation today.


Debra L. Newbury OFS

Sessional Tutor, School of Philosophy and Theology
UNDA - Fremantle

Our Lady, ‘Pure Conception of Love’, In the Heart of the Church

This paper analyses the term ‘Immaculate Conception’ to form a clearer understanding of what this title may mean in terms of who Mary is in relation to the Holy Spirit, the love of the Father and the Son, and the Church.

Drawing on research from Papal Encyclicals, St Maximilian Kolbe, St Alphonsus de Liguori, St John Eudes and the mystical tradition of the Catholic Church (St Bernard of Clairvaux, St Bridget of Sweden and the Venerable Mary of Agreda), this paper fits within the topic of ‘Marian Spirituality and Devotion’.

The main thesis of this paper is the understanding that the Blessed Virgin Mary, in declaring to St Bernadette at Lourdes, ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’, is revealing herself as ‘pure conception of love’, in the heart of the Church, which has considerable implications in light of the mission of the Church and the new evangelisation.


Lawrence Qummou

MA (Theol) student
UNDA – Sydney

Divine Wisdom and the Blessed Mother: Bulgakov and Bouyer

Commenting on the image of the Theotokos of Vladimir in his encyclical Redemptoris Mater, Pope John Paul II notes that in these icons “the Virgin shines as the image of the divine beauty, the abode of eternal Wisdom, the figure of the one who prays, the prototype of contemplation, the image of the glory: she who even in her earthly life possessed the spiritual knowledge inaccessible to human reasoning and who attained through.” This paper will explore the notion of Mary as the divinised creature par excellence in the thought of twentieth century theologians Louis Bouyer and Sergius Bulgakov. Of interest here will be how both position the Blessed Mother to Christ and creation through employing the notion of ‘Wisdom’ and to what extent there exists a common ground between their thought.


Dr John A. Rees

Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations (School of Arts & Sciences) and Convenor of the Religion and Global Affairs Program (Institute for Ethics and Society), UNDA – Sydney

A Political Devotion

The paper examines select depictions of Mary within political theology and explores the implications that each holds for understanding the nexus between faith and politics in the 21st century. The first depiction is Mary, Mother of the Poor in the liberationist tradition, as one who “lives her life in the hope of the poor” (Pixley & Boff). The second depiction is Mary, Queen of Nations, as a source of blessing and protection for communities born in political time and space (Llewelyn). Two implications that each depiction holds for political ethics are considered: firstly, the imperative(s) of praxis; secondly, the limits of ideology. Finally, these implications are read into a new rendering of Appleby’s seminal notion of the ‘ambivalence of the sacred’, situating Marian devotion within critical discussions about the future development of political theology.


Fr Eric Skruzny

Rector - Redemptoris Mater Seminary (Sydney)

Madonna of Kiko Arguello and the New Evangelization

Traditionally icons depicting Mary the Mother of God and the Child Jesus depict them as looking at each other, as a mother and baby child often would do. However in the Cathedral of Madrid we can find the well-known icon of the Spanish artist Kiko Arguello, also known as the Co-Initiator of the Neocatechumenal Way, with a novelty which most onlookers do not notice. Kiko has portrayed both Mary and the child Jesus looking not only in the same direction, but also interestingly to their left. This has special significance for each one of us in this Year of Mercy.

This paper will examine the Biblical, Patristic and Iconic inspiration behind this modern day masterpiece and its significance for the New Evangelization.


Dr Matthew Tan

Campion College

Marian Epistemology

This paper will argue that being a Creature in the Body of Christ entails knowing in the same manner as Mary did as the Icon of the Church. It will argue that Mary's embodying the life of the disciple extends to the way in which she embodies an epistemology, one that runs counter to many Modern forms of epistemology by those within many parts of the Church, which in turn has aligned the Church with institutions, practices and premises whose evangelical value can only be described as questionable. With reference to the Marian narratives in Scripture, this paper will suggest the beginnings of a Marian epistemology grounded in what Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 calls “knowing in part”. This is a way of knowing grounded not in triumphalistic comprehension of an object but in inquiry, prophetic utterance, hopeful commitment and embodied service. Before concluding, the paper will explore possibilities for a Marian epistemology to not only correct Modern presumptions of knowledge but also but also speak to and engage postmodern theories such as standpoint feminism.


Dr Robert Tilley

Catholic Institute of Sydney

Mary the Temple of Scripture: Tracing the art of Sacred Circumlocution

With the Reformation and the rise of the modern world the accent on reading Scripture increasingly fell on the value of immediacy; which is to say, on the immediacy of the apprehension of the meaning of the sacred text. A view that had its clearest expression in the Calvinist doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture. This had a number of ramifications for scriptural exegesis among which was the tendency to identify significance with quantity. As if the amount of times someone or something was mentioned was a measure of their significance. And yet, in the same period, we witness the birth of the modern novel which genre, as it comes into its maturity, is often marked by a tendency to ellipsis and lacunae, to forms of circumlocution in which the meaning of the book is not immediate, is anything but. That which is most important rarely appears but instead is only intimated through various structural means that, being subtle, are not at first evident but rather require a highly developed sense of artistry to discern. In the last forty to fifty years scholars have noticed and traced out the presence of like structures in the Scriptures and this has given rise to the discipline of Narrative Criticism. It is the argument of this paper that these structures are best understood and explicated by reference to the Tabernacle/Temple and that they find expression in the way the Gospel writers seek to capture and convey the person and role of Mary the Mother of our Lord. It is thus Mary who proves to be the locus of the art of sacred circumlocution and, thereby, an exemplar of how the Scriptures ought to be read.


Kevin Wagner

Lecturer, Theology
UNDA – Sydney

Virginity and Infertility: Barren Fruitfulness in ‘de virginitate’ Literature of the Fourth and Fifth Centuries

According to the Fathers of the Church, consecrated virginity involved the union of a person with Christ in a matrimonial or spousal relationship. The life of the virgin demanded a free choice to forego the gift of physical progeny in favour of producing spiritual children. In contrast to the deliberately barren virgin, the infertile married man or woman does not choose to remain childless. In both cases, however, the consecrated virgin and the barren married person share the suffering which comes with childlessness. Mainstream de virginitate literature of the fourth and fifth centuries was written to extol the value of consecrated celibacy while warning against the disparagement of marriage. Here we will examine these valuable texts in order to trace the outlines of a patristic theology of barrenness with a view to understanding how God can bring fruit through infertility.


Leonie Westenberg

Associate Lecturer (LOGOS)
UNDA – Sydney

An Episode of Sparrows: Marian Devotion in Literature

Literary apologetics describes a way of knowing God with a search for Truth and Beauty through literature. It highlights the role of virtue in literary style and form amid a description of theology as wonder. The novel ‘A Episode of Sparrows’ by Rumer Godden exhibits many nuances of a life devoted to Mary and echoes much of St Louis de Montfort’s marks of true Marian devotion. This paper explores the story of Lovejoy, the child of ‘An Episode of Sparrows’, as she comes to understand the role of Mary in the economy of her life in post-World War II London. Godden provides glimpses of Marian devotion throughout her novel – just enough to draw the reader closer to Mary but only so much in order to allow Mary to draw the reader to the truth and beauty of the Faith. The novel is a literary work worth reading on its own merits, and, yet, from a theological viewpoint, it is also a work that images Marian devotion.


Chris Wolter

Associate Lecturer (LOGOS)
UNDA – Sydney

Lex orendi, Lex credendi: Dulia, Hyperdulia et latria – the liturgy as Marian Doctrine

Lex orandi, lex credendi, “the law of prayer is the law of faith”, is the ancient Christian axiom that speaks of the intrinsic relationship between our prayer and our beliefs. The Church believes as she prays, how the individual prays shows what they truly believe and what we are taught to pray informs our faith. In this relationship between belief and practice, the Liturgy is seen as “a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition” (CCC 1124). Latria, in English is usually translated as ‘worship’. Dulia means the veneration or homage, different in nature and degree from that given to God. How are these two different? Catholics are often accused of worshiping the Blessed Virgin Mary. Moreover, when it comes to our Lady, the term used to talk about the honour given her is not mere dulia, but hyperdulia.

It is all about giving honour where honour is due, but practically speaking, how does one give different levels or types of honour? To answer that we can do no better than to look at the place of the saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of Almighty God as they are presented to us in the liturgy. By looking at the liturgy we will thus define dulia, hyperdulia and latria.

These terms themselves are connected with the concept of justice. We will thus also discuss this in the context of a Thomistic understanding of justice. For St Thomas Aquinas, the liturgy is a thing of justice. Having her own category of hyperdulia, are we saying then that owed to our Lady is a unique rendering of justice? We will affirm so, yet, it is also our argument that to God an altogether different honour is due and we will demonstrate this by looking at the liturgy.


Dr Ray Younis

Senior Lecturer, Coordinator Logos Programme
UNDA – Sydney

On the Concept of Revelation (Annunciatory)

John Hick argues that “Christian thought contains two very different understandings of the nature of revelation, and as a result, two different conceptions of faith” (1983, p.60), “propositional” and “non-propositional”. Richard Swinburne understands divine revelation in terms of things which God chooses to reveal; the “method of expression”; the role of the church (in the “development” of the revelation); and the function and place of interpretation (2007, pp.107-108). He sets out four “tests”. This paper will focus on such accounts in order to see if they are defensible and also to see if they go far enough in terms of shedding light, philosophically, on acts of revelation such as the Annunciation.