The next Bishop of Sandhurst says he is open to discussions on how to make the Catholic Church more inclusive for people of all genders, backgrounds, and sexual orientations.
Pope Francis announced on Tuesday Reverend Father Shane Mackinlay from the Diocese of Ballarat would replace the retiring Most Reverend Leslie Rogers Tomlinson in October.
"A church which is not welcoming to everybody is betraying its mission," Father Mackinlay said. "We need to be welcoming to everybody.
"But at the same time there are values that we hold dear that we see in the Gospels, so we need to be affirming those values.
"But that should never be in competition to, or at the price of, people experiencing that they are not welcome or do not have a place in the church community because of who they are."
It comes ahead of the Plenary Council in October next year, where dioceses from around the country will meet to discuss the future of the Church in Australia.
Bendigo parish St Kilian's has sent in a submission to the council, asking for the Church to be more welcoming towards members of the LGBTIQ+ community.
They have also asked for the council to consider, among other issues, priests being allowed to marry and greater female representation in the leadership of the priesthood.
Father Mackinlay agreed they were areas that needed to be discussed.
"I don't think any of them have obvious answers or simple answers that are going to tick every box of every concern that we have," he said.
"But I think we definitely should be discussing all of them and hearing everything that everyone has to bring to the table. I think those sorts of conversations are very healthy.
"One of things in this new position is that I will be at the Plenary Council and I look forward to being part of those conversations then and in the time leading up to that."
Father Mackinlay was the spokesperson for the Catholic Church from 2012 to 2014 during the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Non-Government Organisations.
He said historical sexual abuse remained one of the challenges the Church needed to deal with in the coming years.
"There are specific challenges that are raised by abuse itself and making sure that we do our part to care for and provide just treatment and assistance to survivors," Father Mackinlay said.
"We also have to ensure our communities are structured and set up in a way where people can be confident that this is not a place in which abuse is possible.
"I think one of our key problems is that there has been very limited transparency and very limited accountability. We've got some really good models for that which we are developing.
"I think that one thing we need to look at developing is how do we look at doing that in parishes and dioceses. We can't just turn ourselves into corporations. That would be crazy.
"But some of those principles we need to include in the way we operate, both so we can be accountable but also because it's just a much better way to run things."
Father Mackinlay will be officially ordained as Bishop of Sandhurst on October 16 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bendigo.
He said he was excited to make the move to a new city.
"I like what I see and I like what I hear," Father Mackinlay said. "It's a beautiful city, a stately and gracious city.
"I'm also looking forward to learning more about the foodie side of the town and the cultural side of the city that people tell me about."
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