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The Catholic Church is a Force for Good in the World


Event Status

For almost two millennia, the Catholic Church has been the author and repository of some of the highest ideals of humanity. Yet, as humanity is flawed, so is the Church. Few would deny that the Catholic Church has dark chapters in its history. So much is expected of an institution that claims to bridge the sacred and the secular. Do these darker moments unfairly obscure the light? Or is the Catholic Church simply the most ancient of wolves in sheep’s clothing?

Speaking for the proposition will be Helen Coonan, Julian McMahon and Sister Libby Rogerson. Speaking against the proposition will be Father Peter Kennedy, Anne Summers and David Marr.


Libby Rogerson

Sister Libby Rogerson IBVM is a Loreto sister currently working with Mary Ward International Australia, the Loreto Sisters’ aid, development and volunteer organisation. From 1999 to 2009 Sr Libby was coordinator of Social Justice and Director of Caritas in the Diocese of Parramatta. She is a membe... Read more

Julian McMahon

Julian McMahon was admitted to practice in 1992. After working at Sly & Weigall and the OPP, he joined the Victorian Bar in 1998. Since then his practice has been in criminal matters. He has acted in numerous complex matters, including police corruption, terrorism, drug, murder, sex, commercial ... Read more

Peter Kennedy

Father Peter Kennedy is a former Catholic priest who was forced to stand down from his position as parish priest in the South Brisbane diocese of St Mary’s in 2009.

Peter has since gone on to form a breakaway congregation in the same area called St Mary’s-in-Exile.

Helen Coonan

Senator Helen Coonan was a Liberal member of the Australian Senate representing New South Wales from July 1996 to August 2011. Helen Coonan attended a Catholic boarding school before gaining a law degree and working as a barrister and solicitor. She was elected to the federal Senate as a Liberal sen... Read more

David Marr

David Marr is the author of Patrick White: A Life, Panic, The High Price of Heaven and Dark Victory (with Marian Wilkinson). He has written for the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age, the Saturday Paper, the Guardian and the Monthly, and been editor... Read more

Anne Summers

Dr Anne Summers AO is a journalist, researcher, commentator and best-selling author of nine books, including the classic Damned Whores and God’s Police, first published in 1975, and still in print. Her most recent book Unfettered and Alive, a memoir, was published in 2018. In 2021 Anne was appoint... Read more


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