Wednesday, 4 June 2008

New Canberra Think Tank - Frank Brennan SJ finds a new home

Fr Frank Brennan has found a new home, as head of a policy think tank at the Australian Catholic University Cath News:

"Australian Catholic University has named Jesuit Professor Frank Brennan to a new Canberra based public policy think tank to be launched later this year.

The Canberra Times quotes new ACU vice chancellor, Professor Greg Craven, as saying the ACU Watson campus, which has 800 students, would be the site of the yet to be named centre. ...

Professor Craven, who took over at ACU four months ago, said it was time Australia's national Catholic university engaged in public policy debate at the highest level.

''Universities have to engage in policy; a fundamental role is to provide good advice on policy and to influence policy with quality research,'' he said.

Theology would be just one policy area with the think tank to ''run the gamut of Catholic social thought'' including social justice issues concerning the marginalised and disadvantaged, and Christian life, Professor Craven said....

"We would be looking to make quality inputs to policy makers on Catholic perspectives, but also to decision makers around the Catholic Church on areas like health care and Catholic education."

Father Brennan, who is a Jesuit priest and a professor of law at the ACU's North Sydney campus, is the first appointment to the new think-tank.

"Father Brennan is the foremost Australian Catholic intellectual, and he is respected on all sides of politics and throughout the Church, and I expect him to make a major contribution," Professor Craven said.
Professor Craven said he hoped other local intellectuals would take part in the institute. "

Actually I think this is a good idea in principle - the lack of a Catholic focus on public policy in Canberra has been a gaping gap for a long time. The only problem is how one makes sure it offers a truly Catholic - as opposed to dogmatically left-wing - perspective. I'm not holding my breath.


Marcel C.R. White said...
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Marcel C.R. White said...

Father Brennan SJ is a Catholic 'liberal' in the true sense of the word. He expertly straddles a fence between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, with tensions between the two pervading nearly every sentence he writes. Australian society's near universal ignorance of the true faith is partly attributable to a scarcity of fearless wintess from the Catholic clergy, who opt for ambiguous language at the expense of 'yes meaning yes, and no meaning no'. Alas, this think tank will doubtless expend much ink blurring the lines if Father Brennan is at the desk.