Bishop Christopher Prowse. Photo: Supplied
A Victorian cleric with interests in indigenous and interfaith issues will be the seventh Catholic Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, the Vatican announced on Thursday night.
Christopher Prowse, the serving bishop of the Victorian diocese of Sale, has been appointed to the Canberra-based post by Pope Francis and will be installed in a ceremony at St Christopher's Cathedral on November 19.
The archdiocese has been without a bishop since Mark Coleridge was appointed Archbishop of Brisbane in May 2012 and auxiliary Bishop Patrick Power retired a few weeks later.
Bishop Prowse was an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne from 2003 to 2009, when he was appointed to his post in Sale.
Monsignor John Woods, who has been acting as ''administrator'' of the Canberra and Goulburn archdiocese since May 2012, welcomed Bishop Prowse's appointment with ''joy and gratitude to God''.
''We pray for Archbishop-Elect Christopher Prowse as we look forward to his installation,'' Monsignor Woods said in a statement issued on Thursday night.
''May his pastoral ministry in Christ's name engage all the faithful of the Archdiocese, other Christians, adherents to other religions and all people of good will.''
The archbishop-elect will hold a news conference at lunchtime on Friday in Canberra.
Bishop Prowse will turn 60 a few days before his installation as archbishop.
He was born in Melbourne where his father Frank played in
the VFL for Hawthorn from 1948 to 1951. After being ordained in 1980, Bishop Prowse served in several parishes around Melbourne.
He has a doctorate in moral theology from the Lateran University in Rome. He wrote a thesis looking at racist attitudes towards Aboriginal Australians and the concept of ''social sin''.
The new archbishop chairs the Bishops Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations.
In a 2010 homily for Refugee and Migrant Sunday, he spoke out against migrants and refugees being used for political purposes.
''Excluding them from Australia and not understanding their backgrounds can often mean that they become a vote-catcher for desperate politicians,'' Bishop Prowse said.
''Migrants and refugees are never to become political fodder but always to be seen as gifts to us in our land of plenty.''
Archbishop Coleridge welcomed the appointment of his successor in Canberra.
''Bishop Prowse has all that is required to engage the various cultures in the national capital, and his experience as Bishop of Sale has equipped him well to understand the rural parishes of the archdiocese at a time of great change in rural Australia,'' Archbishop Coleridge said.