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Parish priest is Perth's new Auxiliary Bishop

Pope John Paul II has appointed Fr Donald Sproxton, 48, as the new Auxiliary Bishop of Perth.

The announcement was formally made in Rome last night at 7:00 pm Perth time, and simultaneously by the Pope's personal representative in Australia, Archbishop Francesco Canalini, in Canberra, and Archbishop Barry Hickey in Perth on Wednesday evening.

Archbishop Hickey welcomed the news enthusiastically. Writing in his 'Perspective' column in this week's edition of The Record, the Archbishop said that his spontaneous response on hearing the news had been: "a man above reproach".

Bishop-elect Sproxton said his role as Auxiliary, among others, would be to support Archbishop Hickey "in everything".

The Bishop-elect said he has "a great optimism for the future of the Church" and said he sees signs of a missionary Church emerging from one that was renewing itself and coming to terms with its place in the world and a crisis of faith in the last half of the 20th Century.

The Church's response to an apparent crisis of faith mid-century had been Vatican Council II, a renewal of the liturgy, a renewal of theology and the creation of Christian communities that had sprung up according to the needs of the particular time and place.

The Record/Newman Graduate