The Roman Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba is a Latin Rite suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, established in 1929, covering the Darling Downs and south west regions of Queensland, Australia.

St Patrick's Cathedral is the seat of the Catholic Bishop of Toowoomba. The diocese covers an area of 487,000 km2. with 48 priests and 57 members of religious orders. There are 77,400 Catholics among the 276,700 total population within the diocese's borders.[citation needed]


In 1929, the Diocese of Toowoomba was excised from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.[1]

Recent history

Bishop Bill Morris was appointed in 1992 to head the Toowoomba diocese. In 2006 he released a pastoral letter[2] calling for discussion of the ordination of married men and the ordination of women to compensate for the lack of priests in his large diocese.[3]

An apostolic visitation of the diocese was conducted by Charles J. Chaput OFM Cap., then Archbishop of Denver,[4] during April 2007. Discussions continued between Morris and the Vatican for several years.

On 1 May 2011, Bishop Morris announced his early retirement at age 67, stressing the fact that he had not resigned. On 2 May 2011, the Holy See removed Morris from pastoral care of the diocese, attracting international press coverage. The Holy See appointed Brian Vincent Finnigan, Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, to serve as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese.[5]

On 14 May 2012, it was announced that Pope Benedict XVI had named the Reverend Monsignor Robert McGuckin as bishop-elect of the Toowoomba diocese. He was installed on 11 July.



The following have served as Bishops of Toowoomba:[6]

Order Name Date enthroned Reign ended Term of office Reason for term end
1 James Byrne 28 May 1929 11 February 1938 8 years, 259 days Died in office
2 Joseph Basil Roper 13 July 1938 14 October 1952 14 years, 93 days Resigned and appointed Bishop Emeritus of Toowoomba
3 William Joseph Brennan 7 August 1953 11 September 1975 22 years, 35 days Died in office
4 , MSC 19 December 1975 20 November 1992 16 years, 337 days Retired and appointed Bishop Emeritus
5 William Morris 20 November 1992 2 May 2011 18 years, 163 days Retired[3][7][8] and appointed Bishop Emeritus
6 Robert McGuckin 11 July 2012 present 8 years, 30 days

Other priest of this diocese who became bishop


There are currently 35 parishes in the diocese and 42 diocesan priests.


The diocese has the following schools:

Heritage listings

The diocese has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

Sexual abuse

In February 2014 the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, a royal commission of inquiry initiated in 2013 by the Australian Government and supported by all of its state governments,[11] began an investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse and the response by the Diocesan Catholic Education Office.[12] The former Bishop of Toowoomba, Bill Morris, admitted that "there had been a number of significant systemic failings which led to the failure to properly deal with" the abuse of thirteen young girls at a Toowoomba Catholic primary School in 2007-08.[13]

See also


  1. ^ "Our Story". Archdiocesan Profile. Archdiocese of Brisbane. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  2. ^ Morris, William Martin (17 November 2006). "Advent Pastoral letter" (PDF). Diocese of Toowoomba. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  3. ^ a b Livingstone, Tess; Gearing, Amanda (2 May 2011). "Bishop of Toowoomba, William Morris, claims unfair dismissal by Pope". The Australian. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  4. ^ "Call to ordain women". The Courier-Mail. Australia. 4 January 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  5. ^ "Diocese of Toowoomba" (PDF). Apostolic Nunciature to Australia (Press release). Canberra, Australia. 2 May 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Diocese of Toowoomba". The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church. 21 May 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  7. ^ "New document reveals years of Vatican efforts before ousting Toowoomba bishop". Catholic News Agency. United States. 10 May 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Backing bishop's sacking, Australian bishops cite doctrine and discipline issues". Catholic News Agency. United States. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  9. ^ "St Patricks Cathedral (entry 600844)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Bishop's House (entry 600845)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  11. ^ "Letters Patent". Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  12. ^ "Case Study 6, February 2014, Brisbane". Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  13. ^

Further reading

External links