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Paper claims Sydney priests "in shock" over bishop appointments

A report in today's Sydney Morning Herald suggests Sydney priests are "in shock" and plan to confront Archbishop George Pell tomorrow, following last week's naming of two new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese.

Last Thursday, the Vatican announced the appointment of seminary rector Fr Julian Porteous and Dominican bioethicist Fr Anthony Fisher OP as auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese.

"The appointment of new bishops is always a happy occasion," Archbishop Pell said. "I look forward to working with Bishop Porteous and Bishop Fisher."

However today's Herald says some Sydney priests are unhappy with the manner of the appointments, which they say did not include the usual consultation, and bypassed the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Francesco Canalini.

A spokesperson for Canalini stressed that canon law does not require such consultation.

The Herald says Pell denied he had avoided the usual consultation process.

"These are two quality appointments, and both men already hold senior office in the church," he said in a statement. "I have no doubt they will be warmly welcomed in Sydney."

But one "senior church source" told the Herald that local priests fear the appointments are part of a campaign to convert Sydney to "neo-orthodoxy".

The paper links the appointments to an agenda of the archbishop that includes the establishment of a "Life Office". The Office, modelled on the one Pell established in 2001 while Archbishop of Melbourne, which will look at topics such as birth control, abortion, euthanasia and stem-cell research.

Sydney Morning Herald

Pope appoints two new bishops to Sydney Archdiocese (17/7/03)
Archdiocese of Sydney

Bishop-Elect Julian Porteous
Biography - Fr Julian Porteous (Archdiocese of Sydney Vocations Site)
Sydney seminary head claims vocations "worst is over" (16/4/03)
Link between contraception and abortion: Address by Seminary Rector of Sydney
Vatican plan to block gay priests (The Age 10/12/02)
Seminary of the Good Shepherd

Bishop-Elect Anthony Fisher OP
Rev Prof Anthony Fisher OP (JPII Institute)
Catholic Vocations: (V. Rev. Dr.) Anthony Fisher OP
Anthony Fisher OP: Launch of Tess Livingstone's George Pell
John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, Melbourne
The Dominican Province of the Assumption

23 Jul 2003