Pope Francis names new Archbishop of Melbourne

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Peter Comensoli, the Bishop of the Diocese of Broken Bay, as the ninth leader of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. He will replace retiring Archbishop Hart who has held the position since 2001.

Pope Francis’ representative in Australia, the Apostolic Nuncio, made the announcement on 29 June.

Archbishop-elect Comensoli will officially take up the role on 1 August at a Mass and reception at St Patrick’s Cathedral, one of Melbourne’s best-known places of worship.

The appointment will make Archbishop-elect Comensoli the religious leader of the largest Archdiocese in Australia, with a Catholic population of 1.1 million people.  

The new Archbishop said in a statement that he accepted the call “to be a new missionary among God’s people of the Archdiocese of Melbourne” while acknowledging “the great responsibility entrusted to me, along with the frailties I carry.

“I am deeply aware of the painful witness you bear because of the crimes committed in the Church against the most innocent, our children and the vulnerable. I share the bewilderment and anger you feel at the failure of Church leaders to believe victims and to respond to them with justice and compassion,” he said.

Bishop Comensoli also vowed to "right the grievous wrongs of the past" and rebuild trust following the Royal Commission into child abuse scandals.

"I pledge myself without reserve to that task, and I ask you to join me in building on the work already underway in the Archdiocese to create safe communities of faith, where trust is earned and care is offered."

Archbishop-elect Comensoli, now 54,  was raised in the Illawarra region of NSW where he studied commerce at the University of Wollongong. He spent four years working in the banking sector before entering the seminary in 1986. He was ordained in 1992.

In a statement, the Archbishop-elect said he would miss the people of Broken Bay and would now get to know a new community, as well as pick a new football team to follow.

“I look forward to getting to know the people of Melbourne. And, as a northerner, I will need some guidance around that mysterious code of football called AFL,” he said.

A message from Archbishop-elect Comensoli

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