The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has published this Media Release dated yesterday:

Media Release 13 February, 2013
President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Archbishop Denis Hart today received a letter from Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, regarding the future of the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes.
The Congregation has been considering various proposals relating to the Diocese including the possibility that some parishes might be attached to other neighbouring Dioceses.
The Congregation has recommended that the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes continue as a Diocese, and has advised that a Bishop will be appointed in due course.
In his letter, Cardinal Ouellet acknowledged desire of the faithful of the Diocese to maintain the institutional identity of the Diocese, “which has its own respectable history and traditions.”
While there are significant challenges facing the territory including that of a diminishing population and fewer priests, Cardinal Ouellet has advised the determination of the future of the diocese will now be redirected along the way of canonical practice with the bishop and people of the diocese able together to carry things forward into the future.""

And from the opposite end of the ecclesiosphere a dissident "Catholic"organisation which I will not benefit by naming claims to have heard unofficially that Bishop David Walker of the troubled Broken Bay Diocese has submitted his resignation ( due in 271 days) and that he has been told that it has been accepted but that he has been asked to remain in place until an appointment of his successor has been made. This is said to have happened some days ago. It may be accorded some credibility because the particular website would be in favour of the Bishop , unlike many of his Priests and parishioners of Wahroonga for example ( see earlier posts about attempts to force Lay "Leadership"on the Parish)
Taking both reports together, and considering the officially reported short term prospects for survival of Bishop Michael Putney of Townsville, who unhappily is suffering from extensive inoperable  cancer , the resolution of the Wilcannia -Forbes issue clears the way , one would think, for the commencement of the now large chain of appointments needing to be made, to be put in hand.Apart from the above Dioceses, Hobart Archdiocese is awaiting a successor to Archbishop Doyle who tuned 75 in November 2011, Rockhampton is awaiting a Successor to Bishop Brian Heenan who turned 75 in August , 2012 and had submitted his resignation months earlier and had also been told it had been accepted, but asked to stay in place until a Successor is appointed.
It seems unlikely that all these appointments could be filled without some movement in the Auxiliary positions in Sydney at least.Another straw in the wind perhaps is the appointment of a Senior Priest as Vice Rector of an Australian Seminary, clearing the way for an Episcopal appointment for its  highly - regarded Rector.
All things considered, as long as the desired appointees will accept the appointments, we could see the situation resolved in the shorter term.
Considering the fact that the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops Cardinal Marc Ouellet is spoken of as one of the leading Papabile, a precautionary "clearing of the desk"might also be an administrative temptation?


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