Well, there’s a surprise

I don’t think anyone was expecting this. Certainly I heard no such predictions. Fr Nick has all the details of our new auxiliary bishop in Melbourne (http://apriestdownunder.com/2011/05/20/new-auxilary-bishop-for-melbourne/).

I am looking forward to getting to know Bishop Vincent (as I expect we will call him, since a. He is a religious, and b. Nguyen is a bit difficult to pronounce despite being the second most common surname in Australia next to Smith), and wish him all the best for his ministry among us.

One might observe that in all our speculations about future Bishops, it can be too easy to over look the religious among us. Add to that the fact that Bishop Vincent is a foreign-born priest,… Well, he isn’t Irish, but perhaps the Vietnamese ARE the new “Irish”?

There are lots of interesting angles on this appointment. At the very least, it does seem that the “Australia file” is still open on someone’s desk in Rome, and we can expect more appointments soon.

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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4 Responses to Well, there’s a surprise

  1. Dan says:

    I always wanted to know the stats for our diocese!

    VATICAN CITY, 20 MAY 2011 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father appointed Fr. Vincent Long Van Nguyen, O.F.M.Conv., as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne (area 27,194, population 3,844,000, Catholics 1,085,000, priests 561, permanent deacons 1, religious 1,737), Australia. The bishop-elect was born in 1961 in Dong Nai, Saigon, Vietnam and was ordained to the priesthood in 1989. He was previously assistant general of the Federation of Asian/Australian Minor Conventuals.

  2. Jim Ryland says:


    You have hit on a side issue, another misconception of modern Catholics. “Bishop Vincent”, “Vinny”, or even “V” is the historic Christian form. The use of surnames in the early church was considered an affectation designed to point-up one’s family connections. Humility was a virtue.

    BTW, Nguyen is pronounced “Winn” (actually easier than “Smith”) ;-)

    May his new see prosper.

    • John Nolan says:

      Jim, you are quite right. Surnames did not evolve until fairly late in the Middle Ages. It does not make a lot of sense to refer to Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina as Palestrina – this was his birthplace.

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