The President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart, has paid to tribute to the Bishop of Townsville, Michael Putney, who has died after a battle with stomach cancer.
Archbishop Denis Hart expressed sorrow on the passing of Bishop Putney, aged 67. 'It is with great sadness that we record the death of Bishop Michael Putney, the dedicated leader of Townsville Diocese.
'He has been a great and priestly shepherd, a gifted theologian and ecumenist, and a significant contributor to the work of the Australian Bishops,' Archbishop Hart said.
The ABC reports Bishop Putney announced his diagnosis in January 2013, and was determined to remain active in the community despite his condition. He continued to work until he went into hospital at the weekend.
Chancellor of the Townsville Dioscese, Len Horner, says Bishop Putney was an inspirational leader and a real friend. 'He gave you that feeling that we were on some fairly good adventure, you know, we were doing great things,' Mr Horner said.
Mr Horner says Bishop Putney reinvigorated the local church with new life over the last 13 years. 'His vision was so big he brought us into the world Church, the national Church and yet was very involved at a local level.'
Mr Horner says outside of work, Bishop Putney enjoyed a good meal, going to the movies, and watching the Cowboys NRL team.