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Brisbane bishop to retire today

Bishop John Gerry retires today after 28 years as Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Brisbane.

A statement released by the Archdiocese says the bona fides of Bishop Gerry (pictured at right, with Archbishop Bathersby) in the area of welfare are "well documented", as are his efforts in "striving to uphold the Churches teachings and catechism".

"During his tenure he has often made detailed submissions to State Government outlining the Church's position on issues pertaining to welfare, gambling, prostitution and homosexuality.

"In the 1990's he was an integral figure in dealing with matters of sexual abuse by the clergy. As a contributor to the protocols of the "Towards Healing" program and the establishment of a code of Professionals Standards for the Provision of Pastoral Care that clergy adhere to, his legacy will endure."

Bishop Gerry will be replaced as Auxiliary Bishop by Fr Joseph Oudeman (pictured), a Capuchin friar, who most recently served the Archdiocese as Dean of Ethnic Chaplains.

Bishop-Elect Oudeman will be ordained at St Stephen's Cathedral today. About 30 Bishops and Archbishops from throughout Australia and the Pacific region will attend the ceremony, along with Fr Oudeman's family from the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia.

Last week Bishop-elect Oudeman was quoted speaking out against the Iraq War in the Courier-Mail newspaper.

"War is not a solution, it's an admission of defeat," he said. "It means that they've exhausted all natural means and alternatives -- which they haven't, so go to war to carry out horrific violence on people and their way of life, families like yours and mine."

Fr Oudeman has chosen the motto pax et bonum, or peace be with you, for his coat of arms.

Archdiocese of Brisbane/Courier Mail (payment required)

Archdiocese of Brisbane | Bishops
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11 Feb 2003