BRISBANE Auxiliary Bishop Michael Putney is to return to where he grew up, as the new Bishop of Townsville.
Bishop Putney, a highly regarded theologian and ecumenist in the Australian Church, said last week his new appointment came as “quite a surprise”.
The formal announcement was made by Pope John Paul on January 24.
Bishop Putney succeeds Bishop Raymond Benjamin, who was appointed to Townsville in 1983 and is retiring according to the requirements of canon law having reached the age of 75.
Bishop Putney was born at Gladstone in central Queensland, on June 20, 1946, but received most of his education in Townsville.
The Putneys lived in the Cathedral parish, where Michael trained as an altar boy, and then West Townsville parish.
Bishop Putney said he was looking forward to returning to the north, which would “in some ways be going home”.
“I’m excited about what lies ahead,” he said, “but also a little anxious and just hope that with God’s help all will go well.”