Venerable Mary Aikenhead Oration 2023

The Inaugural Venerable Mary Aikenhead Oration

The inaugural Mary Aikenhead Oration was held during the Mary Aikenhead Ministries Conference in Sydney on 11 May 2023. It is the fulfilment of a long-held vision by the Trustees of Mary Aikenhead Ministries.

Bernadette Tobin
Xavier Symons

The Oration was given by Dr Bernadette Tobin and a response was provided by Dr Xavier Symons.

Dr Bernadette Tobin is a renowned bioethicist and philosopher who has made significant contributions to ethical debates and progress in Australia. Bernadette has worked closely with the health sector, most especially in her role as Director of The Plunkett Centre for Ethics. Dr Xavier Symons is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard's Institute for Quantitative Social Science. Xavier’s research interests include ethical issues at the beginning and end of life, conscientious objection, ethical issues in aged care, and pandemic ethics.

The topic chosen by Bernadette was a quote by Venerable Mary Aikenhead: “Do pray that justice may be accomplished in peace and that truth may prevail.” The oration explored the question of: what attitude should a healthy, pluralist, liberal, democratic society take to healthcare institutions which will not perform socially-controversial but legally-permissible practices such as abortion and euthanasia? Xavier’s response focused on the fundamental orientation that Catholic institutions, and in particular, Catholic schools have toward the common good.

We were fortunate to be able to live stream the event, and had many guests join online and in-person. Our hope is that the Venerable Mary Aikenhead Oration will continue in years to come, and the legacy and inspiration of Mary Aikenhead will continue to reach a broader audience.

To watch the 2023 Inaugural Oration, please click here

To access a copy of the 2023 Inaugural Oration transcripts, please click here

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