Medical Update on Bishop Michael Putney

Bishop Michael Putney, Bishop of Townsville

Media Release, 9 January, 2012

Bishop Michael Putney has been in contact and has provided an update on his medical condition after consultation with a number of specialists in Brisbane.

“It is with sadness that I inform the Townsville community the biopsy results have shown that Bishop Michael’s stomach cancer has now spread to his liver,” Acting Vicar General Fr Michael Taylor said today.  “It is untreatable and incurable, Bishop Michael will undergo a course of chemotherapy to alleviate some of the symptoms.”

Bishop Michael conveyed this news with great calm and courage.  He expressed his gratitude for the support he has received, especially the prayers.  He stated that he was completely at peace about what will happen and leaves his future entirely in the hands of God.

Since becoming Bishop of Townsville in 2001, Bishop Michael’s compassion and warmth has touched the hearts of many in our community, well beyond the bounds of the church.  His love and compassion for people from all backgrounds will be just one of the many legacies of his time.  He has always taken an active interest in many dimensions of civic life right across the Diocese. He loves North Queensland and has proudly announced his support of the North Queensland Cowboys across the world.

Bishop Michael will return to Townsville next week and do his utmost in his remaining time to fulfill his ministry as Bishop of Townsville.

Fr Taylor would like to remind everyone that a special Mass will be held at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Thursday evening, 10 January to pray for the Bishop and all those who are dealing with cancer at this time.

Bishop Michael Putney is 66 years old and was ordained as a priest in 1969 and ordained a Bishop on

27 July, 1995 –  Auxiliary Bishop, Brisbane.  He was announced as the 5th Bishop of Townsville in January 2001 and was installed in March that year.  He is currently a member of the Permanent Committee of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Chair of Bishops’ Commission for Mission and Faith Formation, Catholic Co-Chairman of International Methodist / Roman Catholic Dialogue and Member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

For further information please contact Mr Neil Helmore, Townsville Diocesan Media Communications Officer, on 0414 671 250 or email

Media are welcome to attend the Mass on Thursday night.