Archbishop grateful for 'birthday present'
"I'm happy my resignation was accepted - it was a good birthday present," Archbishop Francis Carroll told a local Canberra newspaper in an interview published yesterday. "However it did feel a bit strange to see it in black and white. It suddenly felt more real."
The retiring President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference - and Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn - celebrated his 75th birthday last month. His resignation was accepted soon after it was tendered to the Holy Father.
Archbishop Carroll has been a bishop for more than half his life. This September also marked 38 years as Bishop - first in Wagga Wagga, where in 1967 he was named one of Australia's youngest Bishops, and for the past 22 years in Canberra and Goulburn.
"I'm glad to have seen the development of a sense of lay people's responsibility for the life and mission of the church. The growing unity of Christians has been a positive development," he told the Canberra City News.
"The consultation process is currently underway, but it's impossible to say how long it will take," said Archbishop Carroll. "It could be anything from a few months to a year or more and until then, I'll remain in my position as Archbishop."
Once the new appointment is made, Archbishop Carroll's responsibilities will cease and he hopes to retire to the Wagga Wagga area where many of his family members still live.
"I'd like to carry out a more relaxed style of priestly ministry - perhaps as a weekend locum in country parishes. I'm originally from Ganmain so the country is close to my heart," he said.
"There will definitely be some sadness and regret about physically moving out and leaving it all behind, but after 38 years I'm happy to lay some responsibilities aside. I look forward to a quieter life in the future."
The paper printed a tribute to Archbishop Carroll from the local Anglican acting head, who commended the "gentle wisdom" he brought to heads of churches meetings, and "a significant openness to the shared ministry of all the churches".
Archbishop Carroll is set to retire (Canberra City News 12/10/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference | President of the Australian Bishops Conference, and his statements
Archbishop Francis Carroll - Biographical Information (Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn)
Archbishop Francis Patrick Carroll (catholic-hierarchy.org)
Waiting on the Holy Father (Catholic Voice September 2005)
Pope accepts the resignation of Canberra's Archbishop Carroll (CathNews 14/9/05)
Archbishop Carroll submits resignation to Pope (CathNews 23/8/05)
13 Oct 2005