New bishop for Townsville
Pope John Paul II has appointed Brisbane Auxiliary Bishop Michael Putney as Bishop of the Queensland diocese of Townsville.
He replaces Bishop Raymond Benjamin, who reached the retirement age of 75 last February.
The news was made public in Rome on Wednesday evening Australian time. It was released by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Francesco Canalini in the Apostolic Nunciature.
54 year old Michael E. Putney, 54, was born in Gladstone, Queensland. His connection with Townsville began at the age of five. He and his family were members of the Cathedral Parish, where he was trained as an altar server; and the parish of St Mary's West End.
Speaking on the occasion of his Episcopal Ordination in 1995, Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby described Bishop Putney as a person with a passion for overcoming the destructiveness of division within religion.
He said: "As one of the top theologians in Australia he is recognized both nationally and internationally, while his work in the field of Ecumenism has been outstanding".