Timothy Costello

Photo of Fr Tim

Rev Dr Tim Costello SM

A.T.C.L.  (London)
BA  (Victoria)
Psych.D  (Gregorian)
Registered Psychologist (NZ)

Lecturer in Pastoral Psychology

E-mail: costello@gsc.ac.nz

I am a priest of the Society of Mary. After some years of parish ministry, I studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome for the degrees of Licence (1985) and Doctorate (1998) in psychology. In 1990 I was a peritus at the Eighth Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the topic of the formation of priests. I was a full-time lecturer at the Gregorian University from 2002-2013 attached to the Institute of Psychology, the Centre for the Preparation of Seminary Educators (C.I.F.S.), and the doctoral program in Jurisprudence in the Faculty of Canon Law. Since 2014 I have been a full-time lecturer at Good Shepherd College in Auckland teaching in the area of pastoral theology and ministry. In recent years I have contributed to professional formation of the staff at the National Seminary of the Catholic Church in China (Beijing).

Research Interests:

  • The religious significance of food to medieval mystics.
  • The contribution of psychology to a correct understanding of Canon 1095.
  • Resilience and optimism as expressions of the virtue of hope.
  • Psychology in the magisterium of Pope Pius XII.
  • Problems in the use of psychology in canonical jurisprudence.
  • The thin line between genius, creativity, and insanity.
  • Generations X, Y, and Z as candidates for priestly formation.
  • Second generation Vietnamese seminarians in Australia and the USA.
  • The transformation of the Catholic Church in NZ by the arrival of recent migrants.


Forming a Priestly Identity, Gregorian University Press: Rome, 2002.

Book Editor
Toward Healing and Renewal. The 2012 Gregorian Symposium on Sexual Abuse of Minors, Paulist Press: NY, 2012.

Formation and Transformation , T.Costello and V Sasi (ed). Asian Trading Corporation: Bangalore, 2010.

Chapters in Books
“Goal and Purpose of Priestly Formation” in Formation and Transformation, T.Costello and V Sasi (ed). Asian Trading Corporation: Bangalore, 2010 , 2-19.

“The personality of Jean-Claude Colin, Superior General” in Catholic Beginnings in Oceania . Marist Missionary Perspectives, A. Greiler (ed). ATF Press: Hindmarsh , South Australia , 2009, 183-200.

“When does psychopathology constitute an obstacle to the priesthood?”Seminarium, 49 (2009) 303-320.

“Integrating Formative Roles” in Formation and the Person. Essays in Theory and Practice, A.Manenti, S Guaranelli, and H.Zollner (ed), Peeters: Leuven , 2007, 241-256.

“The Use of Psychology as an Aid to Priestly Formation”, Seminarium, 32 (1992) 29-636.

“Psychology and the Discernment of a Vocation”, Origins 20 (1990) 346-348.

“Psychological Evaluation of Vocations”, Human Development, 6 (1985) 37-42.