Fr Joseph Parkinson completed undergraduate studies in philosophy and theology at St Charles Regional Seminary, Guildford W.A. and St Francis Xavier Seminary, Rostrevor S.A. between 1974 and 1980. After ordination to priesthood in March 1981 he was appointed to a number of parishes before commencing postgraduate studies in moral theology at the Alphonsianum in Rome in 1986. Working under Prof. Terry Kennedy CSsR, he attained a Licence in Theology summa cum laude in 1988.
Fr Parkinson then served six years as Director of Youth Ministry in Perth, and two years as Dean of Studies at S Charles Seminary. In 1996 he resumed postgraduate research through the Alphonsianum and the University of Notre Dame Australia in Fremantle WA, and in 2002 was awarded a PhD with distinction for a thesis entitled Material Cooperation and Catholic Institutions: An inquiry into a traditional moral principle and its meaning for Catholic institutions today, with reference to Catholic hospitals in Australia.
Following a period as parish priest of Bayswater, WA, Fr Parkinson was appointed Director of the L J Goody Bioethics Centre in Glendalough, W.A, at the beginning of 2003. Since 1993 Fr Parkinson has presented sessional units in moral philosophy, moral theology and bioethics at St Charles Seminary and the University of Notre Dame Australia, and occasional lectures at other State universities. He regularly presents professional development and adult education programs for educators, health professionals and parishes in Western Australia.
For over 20 years Fr Parkinson has also worked on numerous ethics committees, including: Reproductive Technology, Health Department of W.A.; Mercy Ethics Committee, WA; Clinical Ethics Consultancy Services, Women’s and Children’s Health Services, W.A.