Thursday, May 05, 2011

TOOWOOMBA DIOCESE - SUCCESSION PLANNING

THE NEXT BISHOP OF TOOWOOMBA

Due to the excessive length of the former Bishop's performances in front of the Media, we know that the Holy See had been discussing his imminent removal for some months.

Now, at first blush, that might make it seem odd that a successor was not readied on the slipway , available to be launched as soon as the problem had been removed. But no, instead we find Bishop Brian Finnigan until now Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane is appointed Apostolic Administrator.On reflection, this is not so surprising. For at present the Australian Episcopate is in for a significant round of change.

Already Archbishop Barry Hickey of Pert, W.A. has submitted his resignation upon reaching his 75th Birthday in April , as required by Canon Law. In late July- less than three months away - Archbishop John A. Bathersby of Brisbane will also submit his resignation upon reaching 75. And, on 16th November next archbishop Doyle of Hobart will submit his resignation for  the same reason. Now, we need to add into our consideration, the fact that in mid June the recently appointed new Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney -Peter Andrew Comensoli - will be Episcopally Ordained ( how much easier it used to be to say "Consecrated"!),thus ,possibly freeing one of the other Auxiliary Bishops of Sydney if necessary.Oh, and as if that were not enough, there is still the question of Wilcannia - Forbes Diocese, which has been vacant these many months since the resignation of its Bishop, of whom the less said the better.This last problem may yet be solved by the incorporation of the Diocese into Bathurst or another, or by division among others of the adjoining Dioceses.

All things considered it is not an easy task to determine who should go where and when, to facilitate the following moves. One thing is sure, this is a remarkable opportunity to set in place a major reform of a substantial portion of the Episcopate, to clear away some problems and to effect generational change. We should all pray that Cardinal Marc Ouellet Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops and the Holy Father with the grace of the Holy Spirit will be able to make the most of the opportunity.

And, administratively, some may see it as beneficial to have such a man as Bishop Finnigan to ride out the tubulence left behind in the wake of Bishop Morris's Media performances and the "pastoral"machinations of his right hand Nun Sister Patsy Grundy ( formerly performing in Townsville Diocese), and thus allow the new Bishop in due course to arrive upon a calmer "stage".

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