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Catholic spokesman dispels concerns over Anglican Archbishop's appointment as G-G

Sydney Archdiocesan spokesman Fr Brian Lucas has expressed the opinion that Archbishop Peter Hollingworth's status as a churchman is unlikely to conflict with his role as Australia's next Governer-General.

Other church spokesmen have expressed a different view. Canberra-Goulburn Anglican Bishop George Browning said it is not appropriate within an Australian culture for one church to be seen to be more established or more dominant than another.

But Fr Lucas told AAP that it is more of a coincidence. "It's purely accidental, in my view, that the person appointed to a secular office happens to be a clergyman," he said.

"If he did not resign as Archbishop of Brisbane some question might arise as to how he can fulfil two separate offices," he continued. "And that might create some question of whether or not one office, the church office, interferes with the state office.

"But the fact he happens to be an Anglican is no different from the fact that Bill Deane happened to be a Catholic. When Bill Deane spoke on social issues no-one ever suggested what he was saying was limited by his Catholic faith."

Fr Lucas said the governor-general represented the British monarch in her role as Queen of Australia, not in her role as head of the Church of England.