Landmark new role for Victor

Former manager of the Catholic Development Fund Victor Dunn has been appointed as Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn.

Archbishop Christopher Prowse, in announcing the appointment, said Mr Dunn’s “great love of the Catholic Church and his many talents will be of immense benefit to the Archdiocese in his new role”.

Archbishop Prowse thanked the outgoing Chancellor Fr Julian Wellspring for his eight years’ service. Fr Wellspring will remain director of the Archdiocese’s Tribunal Office.

The appointment of a lay Chancellor is not common in the Australian Church where three lay people hold similar positions. It is becoming more common in both the Canadian and American Church.

As Chancellor, Mr Dunn will ensure that the acts of the Curia are drawn up and dispatched, working closely with the Archbishop, Vicar General and Archdiocesan Financial Administrator.  

Other responsibilities include caring for the archives and acting as a notary, that is, notarising official acts of the Archbishop, although not those pertaining to priests.   

He will retain responsibilities for employment and assist the Archdiocesan Financial Administrator in the management of the Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation staff.  

Mr Dunn sees the role as supporting the Episcopal team in fulfilling the vision of the Archbishop; “in essence bringing the vision to life through the provision of competent and responsive service functionality”.

He also intends to be responsive to the needs of parish priests and parishes, enhancing their capacity to realise their mission.

“It is an exciting time to be a Catholic and to be a member of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn,” he said.

“Certainly the Church has been called to account in recent times for past behaviour and inadequate responses to that behaviour.  

“My prayer is that in naming that behaviour, admitting fault and accepting responsibility we can now turn to redress the wrongs and demonstrate to the whole community, through our parishes, social services, health services and education services, that the abhorrent behaviour of a few is not representative of the family of Christ.”

Mr Dunn and wife Kaye were born in New Zealand, but met in Australia in the 1960s as tourists on a trip to Canberra. They married in 1968 before heading to Perth which became their home for several years until they moved to Ballarat in 1983. In Ballarat, Mr Dunn took up the role of educational consultant with the Catholic Education Commission, Victoria, supporting schools in the Ballarat area.

In 1990, the Dunns moved to Forbes when Mr Dunn was appointed Director of Schools for the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes. He held this position until late 2007 when he became manager of the Catholic Development Fund in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn.  

Mr Dunn, who trained as a teacher, holds Masters degrees in theology, administration and curriculum, and studied theology for ministry at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium