Dr Paul Collins

Born in Melbourne, Australia, in March 1940, Paul Collins is an historian, broadcaster, and writer. In March 2001 he resigned from the active priestly ministry of the Catholic Church due to a dispute with the Vatican’s Congregation for the doctrine of the Faith over his book Papal Power.

For many years he has worked in varying capacities in TV and radio with the ABC. He also writes regularly for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines, as well as for the London Tablet, the National Catholic Reporter in the United States and for several Catholic magazines in Germany. He has also presented an ABC TV program, Sunday Spectrum, which examined ethical, spiritual and philosophical/theological issues in the contemporary world.

He has a Master’s degree in theology (ThM) from Harvard University and a PhD in history from the Australian National University (ANU). He has taught church history and theology in Australia, US and Pacific countries and worked as a parish priest in Sydney and Hobart. In 1998 he was a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies at the ANU, and Ethel Hayton Visiting Fellow in Religion and Society at the University of Wollongong. He also has wide experience in tertiary and adult education.

Between 1988 and 1996 he was a producer-presenter in the ABC in radio and TV, and for three years he was Specialist Editor-Religion for the ABC. He is the author of Mixed Blessings [Penguin, 1986], No Set Agenda: Australia’s Catholic Church Faces an Uncertain Future [David Lovell, 1991], God’s Earth. Religion as if matter really mattered [Harper Collins 1995], Papal Power [Harper Collins, 1997], Upon This Rock - the development of the papal office from Saint Peter to John Paul II [Melbourne University Press, 2000], and From Inquisition to Freedom [Simon and Schuster, 2001]. He is at present working on a book on the ethics of population.

While he is well known as a commentator on the papacy, he also has a strong interest in environmental and population issues, and his book God’s Earth has been made into a major TV documentary by the ABC. He is a member of the Australian National Committee for the Earth Charter and he was also one of a thousand world religious leaders invited to attend the United Nations Millennium Peace Summit in August 2000.

Nowadays he works as a freelance writer, speaker and broadcaster on environmental issues, social ethics, theology, history and communication. [May 2001]