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Bishop John Heaps is called to the next life

Bishop John Heaps, a former Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Sydney, died at Calvary Hospital, Kogarah, yesterday, 21 June 2004, a day after admission.

John Heaps was born on 25 February 1927 in the Newcastle suburb of Hamilton. He was ordained priest on 8 March 1958 in St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, by His Eminence Sir Norman Thomas Cardinal Gilroy. On 31 October 1981 he was consecrated Bishop becoming the Titular Bishop of Inis Cathaig.

Bishop Heaps ministered in the Parishes of St Oliver Plunkett Harris Park, Our Lady of the Rosary Waitara, St Patrick's Guildford, Holy Cross Woollahra, St Kieran's Golden Grove, St Andrew's Malabar and St Therese's Dover Heights. He also served as a Vicar General of the Archdiocese, Episcopal Vicar for Immigration and Vicar for Clergy.

Due to ill health Bishop Heaps resigned from active ministry on 12 March 1992.

In his retirement Bishop Heaps generated considerable fire in 1999 with his book A Love That Dares To Question: A Bishop Challenges His Church. This drew considerable fire from the conservative sectors of the Church and is reflected in the AD2000 article Bishop Heaps' book: a mistaken view of the Catholic Church. For a view from the side of the table more sympathetic to his points of view the Catalyst for Renewal website still contains a copy of his essay in their series on Vatican II: Unfinished Business. Bishop Heaps' own approach to life might be very well summed up in the last paragraph of that essay: "Genuine truth, truth conducive to life and love, co-operation and growth in unity comes more from a gentle response than it does from a violent reaction. The Second Vatican Council was this gentle, yet profoundly forceful response in love. I pray and hope that its spirit will re-emerge.".

Requiem Mass for the repose of the Soul of Bishop Heaps will take place at 1.00pm on Tuesday, 29 June 2004 at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney. A Vigil Mass will be celebrated on Monday, 28 June 2004 at the Church of St Thomas More, Brighton-le-Sands. Bishop Geoffrey Robinson will be Principal Celebrant.

May he rest in peace.

Archdiocese of Sydney - Bishop Heaps' web page

23 Jun 2004