Saturday, February 04, 2012


Bishop Les Tomlinson

For more than a year, since the death of the inimitable and much - loved Bishop Joe Grech, the See of Sandhurst in Victoria centred on the one time gold mining centre of Bendigo, has been vacant. During that year , as the months went by, the task of appointing new Bishops in Australia became a puzzle of increasing and even painful complexity. Each new vacancy,set all that preceded it further back. And the Metropolitan Sees made it all just that much more difficult.

Bishop Les Tomlinson, until now Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne and Vicar General of that Archdiocese, has now been appointed as the successor of Bishop Grech and will no doubt find him a "hard act to follow". But doe this mean that at long last, there is established a sequence of appointments which will see the long list of vacant Sees filled?

Bishop Tomlinson was born on 27th August, 1943 at Mildura in Northern Victoria in the Diocese of Ballarat. This is the Diocese which has given the Church the great Cardinal George Pell. Bishop Tomlinson was a late vocation , having worked for 7 years before entering the former Seminary at Werribee and going on to the former national late vocations Seminary of Saint Paul's in Kensington N.S,W. He was ordained Priest on the 18th August, 1972 for the Archdiocese of Melbourne, where Archbishop Pell was to become an Auxiliary and in 1996 Archbishop.He held a number of appointments as Parish Priest and then spent one year on loan to Hobart Tasmania Diocese as vice Pastor of the Cathedral and Chaplain to the St. Vincent De Paul Society, he spent a further year there as Master of Ceremonies in the Cathedral and Parish Priest of Bellerive.He then returned to Melbourne where he held a succession of appointments and became Moderator of the Archdiocesan Curia in 2003.He was consecrated Bishop in 2009 as Auxiliary of the Archdiocese.He has served as a member of the ACBC Health and Community Services Committee.


As Bishop Of Sandhurst he will enter into possession of Sacred Heart Cathedral which must be the largest and most noble Suffragan Cathedral in the country. The new Bishop of Sandhurst has not we understand, been a member of the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, though for that matter, neither have some other higher profile Bishops well disposed to the Confraternity's members and objectives.

Now we must wait for further "clicks"to bring us closer to order in the business of Episcopal Appointments. At least one will be consequent to this appointment, and further appointments, especially Metropolitan ones, will likely bring their own consequent appointments.Given the inclination of some who are approached, to decline the appointments offered , as Cardinal Ouellet recently noted in general comments, perhaps we should not hold our breath waiting for the next "click of the cube"! Or, at least, we should not expect the resolution of the "cube"as if some teenage boy wonder was completing the puzzle!

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