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Catholic intellectual movement re-formed after three decades

At the instigation of two university graduates, a historic movement for Catholic intellectuals and professionals has been revived with broad support from Catholic groups and individuals engaging in social change.

Graduates Minh Nguyen and Rachel Galea have gathered interest and support to found the Australian Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (ACMICA), a social movement for Christian professionals and intellectuals committed to building 'a just society in solidarity with the marginalised'.

ACMICA's predecessor, the Newman Association, died out in the 1970s but its historical roots can be traced back to 1944 with the founding of the University Catholic Federation of Australia (UCFA), originally a national association of Catholic university students.

"It would be a crime to ignore such a rich tradition that was once so fundamental to the faith formation of people like Chris Sidoti, the former Human Rights Commissioner," Mr Nguyen said.

ACMICA was officially launched last month by way of a conference at the University of Technology, Sydney, attended by over 70 representatives from the student, academic, cleric, and grassroots communities.

"This conference is about an interaction between academic life and our Catholic faith -- that faith can engage in conversation with intellectuals so that we can put faith into action in the real world to the advantage of those who are normally excluded." Newtown Parish Priest and conference co-organiser, Fr Peter Maher said.

ACMICA is current in negotiation with interested individuals and groups in Melbourne and Adelaide, and is expected to participate in its first international Pax Romana commitment in Bali this month.



7 May 2002