Pope Francis has appointed Broome vicar general Msgr Paul Boyers the apostolic administrator of the northern Western Australian diocese, the Holy See announced on Saturday evening.
Msgr Boyers has been overseeing administrative matters in the Diocese of Broome since March, when Bishop Christopher Saunders voluntarily stood aside. Bishop Peter Ingham, the former Bishop of Wollongong, carried out an apostolic visitation of the diocese in the subsequent months.
In a November 28 communique published by the Archdiocese of Perth on behalf of the Holy See, it was announced that Bishop Saunders was commencing a six-month sabbatical starting on that date. The sabbatical will be undertaken outside the Diocese of Broome.
“This period will represent a significant moment for a fruitful discernment of the whole situation of the Diocese, including the organisation of its structures and with particular attention to the pastoral care of the faithful,” the communique said.
Bishop Saunders was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Broome in 1976 and was appointed bishop of the diocese in 1995.