“A Jesuit Perspective on Making Human Rights and Religion Friends, Not Foes”
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 7:30 pm
The Rev. Bernard R. McIlhenny, S.J., Ballroom
The Patrick & Margaret DeNaples Center
About the Lecturer - Fr. Frank Brennan, S.J.
A Jesuit priest, lawyer and professor, Fr. Brennan has been a central figure in Australia’s social awareness and human rights efforts through his writings, teaching and advocacy. He is a professor of law at Australian Catholic University and Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University College of Law and National Centre for Indigenous Studies.
Fr. Brennan has been a tireless advocate for indigenous peoples, refugees and others who seemingly have no voice in society. He was the founding director of Uniya, the Australian Jesuit Social Justice Centre that promotes changes to government policies that concern the country’s “most marginalized” people. In addition, Fr. Brennan is a board member of St. Vincent’s Health Australia and Jesuit Social Services, and he is the Advocate in Residence for Catholic Health Australia, Catholic Social Services Australia and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. He has written books on Aboriginal rights, refugee rights, civil liberties and the relationship between law and religion.
Fr. Brennan earned a Bachelor of Arts in politics and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Queensland, and a Bachelor of Divinity in theology from the Melbourne College of Divinity. He continued his education at the University of Melbourne, where he gained a Master of Laws, and the Queensland University of Technology, where he earned a Doctor of the University.
Fr. Brennan entered the Society of Jesus in 1975, and was admitted to the Queensland Bar in 1977 and the Victorian Bar in 1978. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1985. In 1995, Fr. Brennan was a Fulbright Scholar at Georgetown Law Center. It was then that he met Fr. Kevin Quinn, S.J. He has enjoyed periodic academic appointments at Boston College, Georgetown and Santa Clara.
Fr. Brennan has served on various international Jesuit committees for the social and intellectual apostolates. He directed the Jesuit Refugee Service in East Timor when it became independent. In 2009, he was appointed by the Australian Government to chair the Australian National Human Rights Consultation Committee.