George Pell pays tribute to 'game changer' William Brennan

02/09/2013

With The Australian

Cardinal George Pell has led tributes to Bishop William Brennan, the "game changer" who rolled back the postmodern tide in the church in Australia in the 1980s and 1990s.

Bishop William Brennan, 75, who retired from the small NSW diocese of Wagga Wagga in 2002 due to ill health, died on Saturday 31 August.

Cardinal Pell said Bishop Brennan was a polymath and "an interesting and outstanding bishop who was tough on himself and on others. He launched John Paul II's retrieval program in Australia."

Respected by Catholics as "a genuine shepherd, not a sheep", his legacy remains the best priests-people ratio in Australia and by far the youngest clergy. At a time of priest shortages when the average age of priests in most areas exceeds 60, almost half of Wagga Wagga's plentiful supply of clergy are in their 30s and 40s.

Read full story at The Australian

Highly intelligent, determined and pious

Before the Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, was ordained a priest in 1991, he prepared the Bishops’ annual social justice statement which was on Migrants and Refugees. Bishop Brennan was chair of the Bishops Committee for Justice and Peace which oversaw the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council. He had a particular passion for Catholic social teaching.

At Bishop Brennan's direction the release of the statement “I am a stranger: will you welcome me?” was delayed until the day after Bishop Anthony was ordained so he could front the media as a priest.

"Just before the press conference the highly intelligent, determined and pious bishop told me he wanted my blessing as a new priest. There was nowhere private from the journalists so he took me into what was literally a broom closet and knelt down to be blessed. It was very humbling."

Related:

Bishop William Brennan dies after long illness

 


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