In line with its core mission, the Institute works to enhance public understanding of and access to research and information on the Church's mission by organising courses, seminars, discussion panels, lectures, internships, training, and policy programs.

Public Lectures

DISCERN organises a number of lectures throughout the year centering on the "Benjamin Tonna Lecture"; the "Discern Annual Lecture"; and the "Gaudium et Spes Lecture".

The Discern Annual Lecture

2013Costa"Faith in an Age of Unbelief"
Gavin D'Costa
Professor in Catholic Theology
University of Bristol
2012Faggioli"Is Vatican II Dangerous or in Danger?"
Massimo Faggioli
Assistant Professor of History of Modern Christianity
University of St Thomas
2011Zanussi"The New Barbarians"
Krzysztof Zanussi
Professor of European Film at the European Graduate School
2010Luigi Bettazzi"il-Concilio Vaticano II Ieri, Oggi, Domani"
H.L.Mgr. Luigi Bettazzi
Bishop Emeritus of Ivrea
2009Martin"Is secularisation on the Reverse Gear?"
Prof. David Martin
Professor Emeritus in Sociology
University of London
2008Serraccini Inglott"Beauty: A path to dialogue between believers and non-believers"
Prof. Peter Serraccino Inglott
Professor Emeritus in Philosophy
University of Malta
Interview published titled "Contemplating Beauty"
2007Burrell"Children of the same God"
Prof. David B. Burrell C.S.C.
Hesburgh Professor in Philosophy and Theology
University of Notre Dame
2006Barker"Cults, Sects and New Religious Movements: What are they doing in Contemporary Western Society?"
Prof. Emeritus Eileen Barker
Text Published
2005Kerr"Reforming the Catholic Church: The mission of Cardinal Yves Congar"
Rev. Fergus Kerr O.P.
Text Published
2004Soskice"Girls & God: Theology and Women Today"
Dr. Janet Soskice
Text Published titled "Imago Dei"
2003Gutierrez"Spirituality and the Preferential Option for the Poor"
Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez OP
Text Published; Video Presentation Available
2002Poupard"Discerning the Signs of the Times"
His Eminence Cardinal Paul Poupard
President of the Pontifical Council for Culture
Text Published

The Benjamin Tonna Lecture (instituted in memory of the first Executive Director of DISCERN)

2012Mostofsky"Medical Miracles: Faith, Fact or Fiction"
David Mostofsky
Professor of Psychology at the Boston University
2011Ian Ker"Newman on Councils and Vatican II"
Ian Ker
Professor of Theology at the University of Oxford
2010Ursula King"Teilhard de Chardin and Contemporary Mystic Quest"
Prof. Emerita Ursula King
Department of Theology and Religious Studies
University of Bristol
2009Michael Barnes SJ"A Church in Dialogue"
Rev. Dr Michael Barnes SJ
Heythrop College, University of London
2008Stefano Zamagni"The Political Economy of undocumented Migration"
Prof. Stefano Zamagni
Professor of Economics
University of Bologna, Italy
2007Burrell"Falling Church Attendance: Has Anything Gone Wrong?"
Prof. Robin Gill
Professor of Modern Theology
University of Kent, CanterburyText Published
2006Barker"A Global Dilemma: The Diversity Problem and Modern Democracy"
Prof. John Stone
University of Boston, U.S.A
2005Kerr"A Christian looks at the EU Social Dimension"
Prof. Vera Negri Zamagni
University of Bologna, Italy
Text Published
2004Soskice"Karl Rahner: theologian of Hope and Dialogue"
Dr. Philip Endean SJ
University of Oxford, U.K.
Text Published
2003Gutierrez"Catholic Education in Liberal Democratic Societies:
Challenges & Predicaments"

Prof. Terence McLaughlin
University of London, U.K.
Discussant: Rev. Prof. Peter Serracino Inglott
Rector Emeritus: University of Malta
2002Poupard"Vatican II: Of Happy Memory - And Hope?"
Nicholas Lash
Norris-Hulse Professor Emeritus of Divinity,
University of Cambridge, U.K.
Text Published

The Gaudium et Spes Lecture

2012Vignon"The Revival of Democratic Values and the Governance of the Catholic Church"
Jérôme Vignon
President of the Semaines Sociales in France
2011Roger Trigg"Free To Believe?"
A Religious Conscience in a Secular Society

Roger Trigg
Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick
Academic Director, Centre for the Study of Religion in Public Life,
Kellogg College, Oxford
2010Stefano Zamagni"Caritas in Veritate Fraternity, Reciprocity and New Economic Problems"
Professor Stefano Zamagni
Professor of Economics, University of Bologna, Italy
Consultant: Pontifical Council "Justitia et Pax"
Member: New York Academy of Sciences
2009Robert Keen"Banking on Virtue?"
Robert Keen
Von Hugel Institute, St. Edmund College, University of Cambridge
2008Barker"Essere Politico Cristiano Oggi"
Rt.Hon. Savino Pezzotta
Member of the Italian Camera dei Deputati
Text Published
2007Kerr"Il Cristiano davanti alle sfide della convivenza"
Professor Andrea Riccardi
Professor: Roma Universita Tre
Founder: Community of Sant' Egido
organised in conjunction with the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice and the Justice and Peace Commission
Text Published
2006Soskice"Thinking Ethics while Teaching Economics"
Rev. Dr. Frank McHugh
Research Fellow at St. Mary's College, Twichenham
former Fellow of St. Edmund's College, Cambridge
Text Published
2004Gutierrez"Bible Reading and the Formation of Ecclesial Basic Communities."
Rev. Fr. Carlos Mesters
Text Published
2002Stefano Zamagni"Economics, Conscience and International Debt"
Professor Stefano Zamagni
University of Bologna, Italy
Consultant: Pontifical Council "Justitia et Pax"
Member: New York Academy of Sciences
Text Published

Discussion Panels

DISCERN organises a number of discussion panels in the form of Discerning Round Tables and Seminars.

2009Hingley"Zimbabwe: Finding hope in a time of Economic and Political Crisis"
talk by Christopher Hingley
organised in conjunction with St. Andrew's Scots Church, Malta
2008 "Nicodemus Nights"
various invited speakers
2007 Seminar: "Confidence Building Strategies"
Prof. Richard Rubenstein
with introductory talks by Rev. Dr. Rene Camilleri and Rev. Dr. Joe Inguanez
2004 "Ir-Riforma tal-Welfare f'Pajjizna"
"Welfare Reform in Malta"
Dr. Charles Pace; Dr. Joe Falzon, Ms. Sue Vella, Dr. Paul Pace
organised in conjunction with Centru Fidi u Gustizzja - Centre of Faith and Justice
Call Published
2003 "Liberation Theology: an autobiographical note"
Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez OP
2002 "The Holy See, Culture and Discernment"
His Eminence Cardinal Paul Poupard
President of the Pontifical Council for Culture
2002 "Il-Ligi tal-Familija"
"The Family Law"
Chairperson: Dr. Ruth Farrugia
2002 "Il-White Paper dwar ir-Relazzjonijiet Industrijali"
"The White Paper on Industrial Relations"
Chairperson: Prof. Godfrey Baldacchino

Other Activities

2012 "Pray, Pay and Obey: The Laity before and after Vatican II?"
Dr Oonagh O'Brien
Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology
University of Cambridge
2012 "The Holy See's Document: Reforming the International Financial and Monetary System"
Michael C. Bonello; John Cassar White; Lawrence Zammit and Joe Vella Bonnici
2011 "Religion, Conflict and Violence in Contemporary and Historical Perspective"
Kevin Avruch
Henry Hart Rice Professor of Conflict Resolution
Professor of Anthropology
The School for Conflict Analysis & Resolution
George Mason University, Virginia
2010 "Just Wars in Theory and Practice"
Prof. Richard Rubenstein
Institute for Conflict Resolution and Analysis
George Mason University, Virginia