Two of the world's most popular and dynamic cardinals - the Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, and the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan (pictured) - have recently received honorary doctorates on their visits to Australia and to ACU.
During his visit last week, Cardinal Dolan celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving with ACU staff and students before attending his honorary doctorate ceremony in Sydney on 14 August, and presented catechesis for over 250 young people in Melbourne on 17 August.
Cardinal Dolan inspired and challenged the audience to 'Live the Joy of the Gospel' as he shared his experience of seeing the Gospel in action through the lives of the last three Popes - St John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. The presentation included special performances by Triple J Unearthed musician Genevieve Bryant and Evergreen.
During his acceptance speech for his honorary doctorate, Cardinal Dolan said that a commitment to learning had been revived and flourished under the guidance of recent Pope Benedict XVI and he admired ACU's commitment to embedding that intellectual tradition.
"As a church historian, I'm confident that in the decades in the future we'll see the magnificent gift that Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, was to the Church. Renewal of the intellectual life of the Church, which seems to be an appropriate topic at this wonderful Australian Catholic University.
"Benedict XVI reminded the world and the church of that classical Catholic insight that faith and reason are allies. Faith and reason are not enemies; faith and reason are close collaborators. And nowhere is that more evident than on the campus of Australian Catholic University."
Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven said it was a privilege to have Cardinal Dolan visit ACU to accept his honorary doctorate in recognition of his distinguished service to the Church, particularly in Catholic higher education and Catholic social services. "ACU is delighted to honour Cardinal Dolan as an outstanding Church leader, and particularly applauds his herculean efforts in the defence of religious freedom and of Christian values in public policy."
Cardinal Tagle received his honorary doctorate at a ceremony in Melbourne on Monday 4 August recognising his outstanding pastoral leadership, highly effective communication of the faith, service to the mission of the Church, and unswerving advocacy for social justice. He delivered a public lecture in which he discussed 'The Sacred Gift of Migrants & Refugees: An Asian Perspective'.
In accepting his award he said the honour belonged not only to himself but to all those he worked with and those whose suffering he hoped to alleviate.
"I am humbled by the bestowal of the highest honour of Australian Catholic University, Doctor of the University, honoris causa. Reading the citation sent to me in advance, I came to realise that the recognition is not meant for me alone. Neither does it extol my talents and efforts that in truth have not accomplished much. Rather it draws our attention once again to the cries and sighs of the poor, the youth, the victims of injustice and inequalities, the migrants and refugees. It also remembers the Filipino people who continue to suffer on account of the recent natural and human-caused disasters that have hit the country yet have inspired the world with their lively faith and joyful hope. I accept this honorary doctorate for them. In their name I thank Australian Catholic University."
Professor Craven said ACU was proud to bestow its highest honour on Cardinal Tagle, "who is undoubtedly one of the Church's leading voices in communicating the Gospel and in advocating for social justice, particularly in this part of the world".