Introducing The Loyola Institute

A message from acting Executive Dean of Theology and Philosophy Associate Professor Richard Colledge:

As I write, Semester 1 2024 is just about to get underway. Final preparations continue apace, as continuing students return and a whole new cohort of commencing students prepare to launch their ACU experience.

However, this week is also notable for another launch, as ACU enters into formal partnership with the Australian Province of the Society of Jesus to establish a new national research institute in Melbourne.

Starting this week, ACU will be home of The Loyola Institute, established by the Australian Jesuits in 2021 to promote the research and advocacy of Jesuit scholars in Australia and abroad. Our Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Zlatko Skrbis and Provincial of the Australian Jesuits Fr Quyen Vu SJ will officially launch the partnership later today.

The Loyola Institute will bring together ACU experts in various sectors of the university with Australian and international Jesuit scholars to work on collaborative research projects that align with the Society’s apostolic priorities. As such, it builds on an existing formal agreement between our Faculty of Theology and Philosophy and the Australian Jesuits to deliver two postgraduate suites of courses in Ignatian Spirituality and Ministry Supervision.

The Institute’s Chair, Rev Professor Daniel Madigan SJ, is one of the world’s leading scholars in the field of interreligious dialogue and comparative theology, with a special focus on Muslim-Christian relations. A noted Qur’anic scholar, Professor Madigan has previously served at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (2000-2007), where he was the founder and director of Institute for the Study of Religions and Cultures, and at Georgetown University’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies (2008-2021). He has continuing affiliations with both Georgetown University and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.

Professor Madigan will be joined by a range of Jesuit scholars, almost all of whom will be working in an honorary capacity. The partnership with ACU will encourage collaboration among them, placing them in concert with ACU scholars, and with a view to furthering international networks by building on the Order’s global scholarly network.

The Institute will conduct research and advocacy in areas such as:

  • the Church and human rights (indigenous rights, disability, refugee policy, social services, ethics and public policy)
  • contemporary Catholic theologies
  • comparative theology and interreligious engagement
  • mission formation for Catholic institutional leadership
  • the search for adequate responses to profound questions affecting Church life (such as the clerical abuse crisis).

This new and exciting partnership between ACU and the Society of Jesus is also important for the way that it consolidates and deepens our relationship with an Order that has long been so central to the life of Catholic universities the world over. Founded in 1540 by Saint Ignatius Loyola, Jesuits have been great contributors to the intellectual and spiritual fabric of Australian life and culture since 1848, having served in universities, Catholic schools and parishes over this time.

It is a great privilege to partner with the Australian Jesuit Province in way that mutually supports our respective missions, and our passionately held values and aspirations.

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