Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Bishop for Ballarat**

Ballarat has a bishop-elect, with the appointment of  Fr Paul Bird, currently regional Provincial of the Redemptorists.

He was born in 1949, and ordained as a preist in 1975.  Originally from Newcastle, Fr Bird studied at the Redemptorist Seminary in Ballarat, as well as Yarra Theological Union in Melbourne. He also has a Masters degree specializing in liturgy from the Catholic University of America.

Oh dear, a liturgist and one who has been involved in advising our bishops on the subject for the last few years.  Not a promising sign in my book given the state of liturgy in this country!

His press statement says:

"I’m feeling excited but also rather nervous about taking up the role of bishop of the diocese of Ballarat. The nervousness comes from the fact that this role will involve new responsibilities and I’m not sure how I will go in meeting the challenges involved. At the same time, I’m excited at the prospect of meeting the people of the diocese and doing whatever I can to encourage them in their faith and in their Christian lives.

I did spend four years in Ballarat as a student, from 1968 till 1971, at the Redemptorist seminary in Wendouree. That gave me an introduction to the city of Ballarat and some of the country areas and I look forward to coming to know more in the years ahead as I travel throughout the diocese.

Bishop Peter Connors phoned me straight after hearing of my appointment and gave me a warm welcome. I hope to follow the great lead that Bishop Connors has given in his kindness and compassion.

Over the years I have drawn much inspiration from Christians of many denominations and from people of other faiths, as well as from those who profess no particular faith but give generous service to those in need. [Again, oh dear.  Doesn't the Church actually teach that good deeds without faith are worthless?  I'm not denigrating the good work such people do, but shouldn't our inspiration be drawn from the example of Our Lord and the saints?]  I’m sure I will be able to draw continuing inspiration from such people all through the Ballarat diocese.

In the next few weeks I will need to finalise a number of matters in my role as provincial of the Redemptorists and hand over tasks to Fr Pat Corbett as the new provincial. I also hope to spend some time in Ballarat to meet some of the priests and people of the diocese as well as preparing for my ordination as bishop on October 16."  

So I'm guessing this is one for the liberals?

In any case, do keep him in your prayers.


Anonymous said...

Do you know Fr Bird and are therefore in a position to make a judgement such as 'one for the liberals'? I suspect rather that this may be 'one for the Church'and one would hope that you are wise enough to wait and see!


Kate Edwards said...


I certainly hope to be proved wrong.

But anyone who is a 'liturgist' is automatically suspect in my book.

And anyone who uses his press release on being appointed a bishop to talk about the inspiration he has gained from non-Christians rather than the inspiration of the saints (or perhaps his own Order's patron saint in particular) is not winning points with me.

Jack Dwyer said...

My Lady,

I met Bishop-Elect Bird many years ago when I was a teenager. I grew up with the Redemeptorists of old, but the last lot I had anyhting to do with were pale reflections of their predecessors.

I think the Bishop-Elect, like many episcopal appointments over the past few years, will be a nice man who probably won't make waves in the roughly twelve or so years he serves for. But he will probably not advance the Faith, and I'm not sure he will b able to stop its retreat. I hope I am wrong on both counts...

God Bless...

A Canberra Observer said...

Australia is a long way from Rome.