Drawing knowledge and inspiration gained through the completion of his doctoral thesis at the University of Edinburgh, the recently elected Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli launched a new book that defends human dignity, particularly of people who suffer with disabilities.
The Sydney launch of In God’s Image: Recognizing the Profoundly Impaired as Persons was held at the Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) North Sydney campus on Monday 26 November.
Joining Archbishop Comensoli at the launch were Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP DD, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge DSS, as well as former New South Wales Premier and ACU Chancellor The Hon John Fahey AC.
The launch served as a formal celebration of the book’s aim to be an important contribution to Catholic anthropology, especially in favour of persons who experience disability and those who are often overlooked and misunderstood.
ACU Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Greg Craven said Archbishop Comensoli made a robust argument in the book for the personhood of every human being, arguing that it is all too easy to overlook and marginalise those who do not fit into our category of “able-bodied” or “able-minded”.
“The book has received many generous endorsements from scholars, who have praised its contribution to contemporary Catholic theological discourse on the nature, dignity and destiny of the human being,” Professor Craven said.
“The book demonstrates we have a responsibility to live alongside those with cognitive impairments as friends, in a community, and to be open to learning from them how it is we can be more perfectly human.
“The book will pave the way forward for Christian theologians working on the topic of disability and impairment,” he added.
Prof Craven said Archbishop Comensoli has had a long association with ACU, and has participated in a number of student activities through our campus ministry, including presiding at graduation Masses in his former role as the Bishop of Broken Bay, which neighbours Sydney and the North Sydney campus.
In 2015, Archbishop Comensoli has served as Chair of the Internal Unit Review of the ACU Faculty of Theology and Philosophy.
The Melbourne Archbishop has served on the advisory board of ACU’s PM Glynn Institute and participated as a panelist at several public events organised by the University.