Pope Benedict XVI has today announced the retirement of the Most Rev John Bathersby, Archbishop of Brisbane, effective today.
In accordance with Canon Law bishops are required to offer their resignation to the Holy Father once they have attained 75 years which the Archbishop did in July this year.
Most Rev Bathersby has been Archbishop of Brisbane since December 1991 and was previously Bishop of Cairns, from March 1986.
Archbishop Bathersby was well known for his emphasis on prayer, the eucharist and the centrality of Jesus, Communion and Mission, as well as a commitment to ecumenism, the importance of the laity, and the absolute need of the promotion of vocations to the priesthood. In 2008 the Archbishop received one of Australia’s highest honours when he was made an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) for his service to the Catholic Church in Australia, particularly as Archbishop of Brisbane, and to the community through the promotion of ecumenical dialogue.
The calling of an Archdiocesan Synod in 2003 marked a high point in his episcopacy although as initiator of other events such as the Hearts on Fire Conference in 1999, the hugely successful Pray 2010 gathering last year and his work in chairing IARCCUM (International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission) he earned plaudits both interstate and overseas.
Archbishop Bathersby will retire to his former hometown of Stanthorpe, and is now accorded the title of Archbishop Emeritus.
In addition, Pope Benedict XVI also appointed Most Rev Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett, the Bishop of Lismore, as Apostolic Administrator of the diocese, effective immediately.
The Archdiocese remains vacant until the Pope appoints a new Archbishop. In the meantime Bishop Jarrett will administer the Archdiocese in accordance with Church procedures and law.
Bishop Jarrett was born in Kyneton, Victoria in 1937.
After working in London for several years with the Film Unit of BBC Television, he commenced theological studies for the Anglican Church in Nottinghamshire in 1959.
On returning to Australia he served as an Anglican priest in Queensland until he was received into the Catholic Church in 1965.
He was ordained a Catholic Priest in 1970 and ministered for 30 years in Tasmania before being ordained as Co-Adjutor Bishop of Lismore in February 2001 and becoming the Bishop of Lismore in December of that year.
Released by the Catholic Communications Office
November 14, 2011