Current Executive

President: Dr John Collins

BTheol. (MCD), DipEd (ICE), MTh (Syd), MEd (Pastoral Guidance) (CCES), PhD (ACU)

Brief Biography: A student of the Canadian Jesuit philosopher - theologian Bernard Lonergan John's PhD was on the topic of practical theology and theological method. John has an interest in the relationship between the human scieces and theology with a particular concern for the application of pyschoanalytic theory to ecclesial groups and organisations. John is a Lecturer in Pastoral/Practical Theology at the Catholic Institute of Sydney. John is also an Adjunct Lecturer in Theology at the Australian Catholic University.

Recent Publications:
- Hearing God’s Call: An Audio Introduction to the Catholic Faith, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 2011.
- Call and Response an Introduction to the Catholic Faith, St Pauls Publications, Homebush, and Catholic Enquiry Centre, 2010.

Contact Details:
Catholic Institute of Sydney
99 Albert Road, Strathfield NSW 2135 Australia or

Vice President: Dr Zachariah (Zach) Duke

BTheol (Hons) (ACU), GradCertDisStud (Flinders), GradCertTertTeaching (Curtin), MHigherEd (Macquarie), PhD (UON)

Brief Biography: Zachariah Duke is Associate Dean – Quality, Standards and Innovation and Lecturer in Theology at BBI – The Australian Institute of Theological Education. He is an adjunct lecturer in the School of Education at The University of Wollongong and an Affiliate Lecturer in Philosophy and Religion at The University of Newcastle. He recently completed doctoral dissertation was entitled, A critical analysis of a theology of disability in the Australian Catholic Church: a qualitative study into contemporary inclusionary practices and his main areas of research are: disability theology; perspectives on ecclesiology and ethnography; and the impact of service care in religious organisations. He is an active member of several academic and professional associations, including the European Society for the Study of Theology and Disability, the Living Fully Network (where he is the co-chair), the Australian Catholic Theological Association, the Association for Practical Theology in Oceania (where is the current Secretary/Treasurer), the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Carers NSW, Deaf Australia, Down Syndrome NSW, and Physical Disability Australia, among many others. Zach volunteers regularly at a Catholic primary school catering for children living with disability and is a L’Arche Sydney.

Recent Publications:


- Holy Cross College, Ryde: Stories from 125 Years (Compiler). Preston, VIC: Bounce Books, 2016.

Articles (peer reviewed)

- “Dissolving Boundaries” – An Analysis of Threshold Concepts in Disability Theology (with Peter Mudge), Journal of Adult Theological Education 13, 2 (2016): 147 – 162.

Conference Presentations (selected)

- ‘Dissolving Boundaries’ – An Analysis of Threshold Concepts and Disability Theology” Summer Institute of Theology and Disability, Azusa, USA, 2017.

- “Quality assurance in unit design and delivery with sessional academic staff,” Higher Education Compliance and Quality Network Conference, Melbourne, 2016.

- “Rhetoric and actual substantive efforts towards inclusion of people living with a disability: Reflections from a qualitative study in the Australian Catholic Church,” Exclusion and Embrace: Disability, Justice and Spirituality Conference, Melbourne, Australia, 2016.

- “Did they read the right signs? Disability in the Catholic Tradition since Vatican II,” Summer Institute of Theology and Disability, Holland, USA, 2016. 

- “From Inclusion to Belonging: Navigating a Way Forward,” Living Fully 2016: Disability, Culture and Faith – A Celebration, Rome, Italy, 2016.

- “Embodied Ecclesia or, Let’s Get Physical: A Theological Inquiry,” (with Topher Endress), Summer Institute of Theology and Disability, Atlanta, USA, 2015.

Contact Details:
BBI - The Australian Institute of Theological Education
PO Box 662, Pennant Hills, NSW 1715 Australia or

Treasurer: Dr Robert (Bob) Dixon

BSc (Melb), BTheol (MCD), GradDipEd(Sec) (ICE), MEdStuds (Monash), PhD (Monash)

Brief Biography: Bob Dixon was Foundation Director of the Pastoral Research Office of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference from 1996 to 2016. He has a PhD in sociology from Monash University as well as degrees in science, theology and education. He is the author of The Catholic community in Australia (2005) and the author or co-author of numerous other books, book chapters, journal articles and reports about the demography of the Australian Catholic population and about aspects of Catholic belief and practice. He has held honorary appointments at Australian Catholic University and at Catholic Theological College in Melbourne. He is a member of the Board of the Christian Research Association and, until recently, NCLS Research. He is a member of the University of Divinity’s Research Committee.

Recent Publications:


- Robert Dixon, Jane McMahon, Stephen Reid, George Keryk and Annemarie Atapattu. Our Work Matters: Catholic Church employers and employees in Australia. Melbourne: Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, 2017.

- Dantis, Trudy and Robert Dixon. Building Stronger Parishes Project Report May 2015. Melbourne: Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, 2015

Book Chapters (select)

- ‘Post-secularity and Australian Catholics’, in Anthony Maher (ed), Explorations in practical theology: Faith and the political in the post-secular age. Melbourne: Freedom Press, In press. (Due for release in the first quarter of 2018)

- ‘The Demography of Australia’s Catholics: Method and Applications’, in Brian J. Grim, Todd M. Johnson, Vegard Skirbekk and Gina A. Zurlo (eds), Yearbook of International Religious Demography 2017, Leiden: Brill, 2017)

-  ‘Why research? How social research helps to reignite creativity and generate new pastoral paths’, in Charles Zech and Giulio Carpi (eds), Proceedings of the International Festival of Creativity in Church Management, Rome: Creativ, In press. (Due for release before the end of 2017)

Journal articles (select)

- ‘The science of listening: Context and challenges facing the Catholic community in Australia'. Australasian Catholic Record, Vol 91, No 3, September, 2014, pp. 264-280.

- 'What do Mass attenders believe?: Contemporary cultural change and the acceptance of key Catholic beliefs and moral teachings by Australian Mass attenders', Australasian Catholic Record, Vol 90, No 4, October 2013, pp 439-458.

Conference Presentations (select)

- ‘The Australian Church in 2030: what the research predicts’. Paper presented to the St Thomas More Forum, Canberra, 26 April 2017.

- ‘Catholic parishes in Australia: A study in diversity and cooperation’, Paper presented at the ISSR conference, Lausanne, Switzerland, July 2017.

- ‘The Demography of Australia’s Catholics: History, method and applications’, Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Atlanta, October 2016.

Contact Details:
64 Sharon Road, Springvale South VIC Australia or

Secretary: Ms Cecilia Francisco-Tan

PhD (Cand.) (University of Divinity), MA (Theol) MCD, GradDipTheol (MCD), GradDipEd (University of Melbourne),  BA Hons (National University of Singapore)

Brief Biography: Cecilia is currently in her final year of PhD studies at the Yarra Theological College, University of Divinity.  She is currently researching in the area of Authentic Authority and its implications for contemporary pastoral leadership using Bernard Lonergan’s Cognitional theory and method. She is a senior Pastoral Associate at St. Clement  of Rome Parish, Bulleen.  A major aspect of her work involves the formation of Parishioners in the area of liturgy, scripture, sacraments and the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.)  Her engagement with people of diverse cultures, ages and needs has allowed her to test the principles and insights gleaned from Bernard Lonergan.  She has written resources for children’s sacraments and catechesis, grief and bereavement programs, RCIA and scripture studies to meet the contextual needs of the people of the Parish. Her other major theological interests include: feminist and womanist theology, political theology, ecclesiology and practical theology.  Cecilia is an avid reader of classics and literature and when time permits paints, and writes icons. Cecilia has given several papers at different research seminars, conferences and workshops including the following: Australian Lonergan Workshop 2017 (Melbourne); RCIA Conference, 2017 (Melbourne); ACTA Conference, 2017; and APTO Conference, 2017. Married to Lawrence, she is a proud mother to five and a grandmother to 7.

Contact Details:

20 Downard Crescent, Dandenong North VIC 3175 Australia or