Australian Lonergan Workshop Committee

The primary role of the Australian Lonergan Workshop Committee is to organise the biennial Australian Lonergan Workshop. The Committee consists of approximately 10 people from Australia. The current chairperson is Stephen Ames. Click here to contact Stephen.

An Australian Lonergan Workshop is held every two years, the last being held in Melbourne in 2019. These Workshops provide a home for open discussion of Lonergan’s ideas and support those engaged in teaching and publishing.

Purpose and objectives of the Workshop

The Workshops are designed for people who have found or suspect Lonergan’s work to be helpful within the horizon of their interests. The Workshops provide an opportunity to meet, discuss, and encourage each other in furthering their grasp of Lonergan’s achievement and collaborate in strategies for handing on this legacy. The Workshops could be said to be a “mutual mediating of meaning and value”.

The objectives of the Workshop are:

(1) to strengthen and develop our own grasp of Lonergan’s work

(2) to share our own insights and discoveries and how we are implementing these in our own contexts

(3) to dispose ourselves to the ultimate judgments of history and divine providence.


Tom Daly SJ and Peter Beer SJ drew on the early interest in Lonergan’s thinking in Australia to initiate a two day national gathering at Riverview College, Sydney in 1977. Subsequently this became the biennial Australian Lonergan Workshop which still continues.

Workshop themes

Each Workshop is developed around a particular theme. Themes over previous years were:

  • 2019 Meeting the Challenges of Today – How has Lonergan’s thought helped you to meet the challenges of our day, and how will it help you in the future?
  • 2017 Openness as fact, achievement, gift – Openness to the real and the good: questioning is the key and, the truth will set us free
  • 2015 The Human Good and You: The structure of the human good provides a grasp of Lonergan’s existential ethics as a position to counter the contemporary positions which subvert authentic subjectivity
  • 2013 From Polarisation to Collaboration
  • 2011 Creating And Healing In The Making Of History Worth Inheriting
  • 2009 Hope and History: Implementing the Lonergan Legacy
  • 2007 Hearing the Other – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Insight
  • 2005 Living Authentically in Today’s Troubled World

Workshops have featured both international and Australian speakers. Topics of interest at the workshop typically range widely across many disciplines – philosophy, theology, economics, science, business, ethics, education, social science, cognitive psychology and spirituality.

International speakers were:

  • Emeritus Professor Philip McShane (Mount St.Vincent University, Halifax)
  • Associate Professor Mike Shute (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
  • Professor Patrick Byrne (Boston College)
  • Brendan Purcell (University College Dublin)
  • Professor M Shawn Copeland (Boston College)
  • Professor Frederick Lawrence (Boston College)
  • Associate Professor Jeremy Wilkins (Boston College)

Among the Australian speakers were:

  • Dr Stephen Ames (University of Melbourne, University of Divinity)
  • Professor Peter Beer, SJ (Sydney College of Divinity
  • Emeritus Professor Peter Burley (La Trobe University)
  • Dr John Collins (Sydney College of Divinity)
  • William J (Bill) Danaher
  • Dr Tom Daly SJ
  • Tom Halloran
  • Christiaan Jacobs-Vandergeer (Australian Catholic University)
  • Professor Anthony Kelly (Australian Catholic University)
  • Robin Koning, SJ (Melbourne College of Divinity)
  • Dr John Little
  • Sean McNelis (Centre for Urban Transitions, Swinburne University)
  • Professor Matthew Ogilvie (Notre Dame)
  • Dr Meredith Secomb
  • Dr Kathleen Williams (University of Divinity)

Over many years, we have been graced with some searching and insightful papers. A selection of the workshop papers has been published:

  • Australian Lonergan Workshop, edited by William J Danaher, University Press of America, Langham, 1993
  • Australian Lonergan Workshop II, edited by Matthew C Ogilvie and William J Danaher, Novum Organum Press, Sydney, 2002
  • Australian Lonergan Workshop III, edited by Matthew C Ogilvie, The Lonergan Centre, Sydney, 2019