1.3 The Bishop
The role of a bishop
The highest order of ordained ministry in the Catholic Church is that of bishop. Most bishops are diocesan bishops, the chief priests in their respective dioceses. Diocesan bishops are responsible for the pastoral care of their dioceses. In addition to their diocesan responsibilities, all bishops have a responsibility to act in council with other bishops and the Pope to guide the church.
Every bishop has the authority and duty to teach, govern and to sanctify.
This refers to meeting the needs of the local community (material, social, personal and spiritual) as well as ensuring that Church laws are observed.
He is ultimately responsible for training and supplying priests for parishes, for the finances of the diocese and for all church property.
A bishop has the power to make Church laws, be a judge in Church matters and to enforce observance of these laws. These laws generally relate to worship, preaching, administration of the sacraments, safeguarding the faith and morals of the faithful and religious instruction.
It is usually the case, then, for a bishop to ordain the priests who are to serve in his diocese and to travel around the diocese and administer the Sacrament of Confirmation.
He must also ensure that Mass is celebrated in the diocese every Sunday and on major feast days.
Symbols associated with the Bishop
In order to motivate the faithful and to set himself a specific direction, a new bishop will select a set of meaningful words, often written in the official language of the Catholic Church, Latin, on the bottom of the Coat of Arms.
The motto on Bishop David's episcopal crest reads Semper Fideles - 'Always Faithful'. To learn more click here.
Our first bishop, Bishop Patrick Murphy
On 8 April 1986 Pope John Paul II signed the Decree which established the Diocese of Broken Bay and announced that Patrick Murphy would be first bishop of the new diocese.
Born in 1920 at Eastwood and educated in Sydney, Patrick Murphy was ordained as a priest in 1944. He then studied in Rome and Ireland for five years, gaining a Doctorate in Theology. Returning to Sydney in 1949 he spent the next twenty-six years as a teacher at St Patrick's College Manly, interspersed with about four years as a parish priest. He was consecrated as an auxiliary bishop in Sydney in 1977. The next year, when the Archdiocese of Sydney was divided into regions, he was given responsibility for the Inner Western Region, which stretched from Stanmore to Parramatta. Besides these regional responsibilities he had also been President of St Patrick's College Manly in 1977-78, Chairman of the Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Board, a member of the Archdiocesan Adult Education Board, and Chairman of the Catholic Education Commission of NSW. (Source)
Bishop Murphy retired on 9 Jul 1996. He died on 18 Mar 2007. Read the Catholic Weekly tribute headlined 'Bishop's legacy of faithful service' (Catholic Weekly)
Our second and most recent bishop,
Bishop David Walker
Bishop David's deep love and interest in spirituality formed the backbone to his commitment to promote a truly Australian spirituality, and the fostering of theological and spiritual education.
Bishop David’s ongoing support for furthering serious theological study and adult faith formation to the wider Catholic community led to the development and founding of the Catholic Correspondence Centre, The Centre for Christian Spirituality and The Broken Bay Institute.
A prominent speaker, Bishop David has published extensively on faith renewal, spirituality, mysticism, formation of clergy and Church leadership. Amongst many positions held, Bishop David served as Chair of the Australian Catholic Bishops Commission for Church Ministry and was a Member of the Bishops Commission for Health and Community Services.
His promotion of lectio divina through new media has taken the Word of God into the hearts and homes of people throughout Australia and the world.
To read his Farewell Message click here
Our new Bishop Peter Comensoli
Bishop Peter Comensoli, the third bishop of Broken Bay (December 2014-)