Francis Patrick Carroll (born 9 September 1930 in Ganmain, New South Wales), a retired Australian metropolitan archbishop, was the fifth Roman Catholic Archbishop of Canberra – Goulburn, serving between 1983 until his retirement in 2006. Upon retiring, Carroll was appointed Archbishop Emeritus of Canberra – Goulburn. Prior to his election as archbishop, Carroll served as Bishop of Wagga Wagga between 1968 and 1983.[1]

The Most Reverend

Francis Carroll

5th Roman Catholic Archbishop
DioceseCanberra – Goulburn
In office25 June 1983 – 19 June 2006
PredecessorEdward Bede Clancy
SuccessorMark Coleridge
Other postsBishop of Wagga Wagga (1968 – 1983)
Ordination27 July 1954 (Priest) in St Brendan's Church, Ganmain
Consecration5 September 1967 (Bishop)[1]
Personal details
Birth nameFrancis Patrick Carroll
Born (1930-09-09) 9 September 1930 (age 89)
Ganmain, New South Wales
DenominationRoman Catholic Church
ParentsPatrick and Rose Carroll
OccupationRoman Catholic bishop
MottoNova et Vetera (Old and New)
Styles of
Francis Carroll
Mitre plain 2.png
Reference styleHis Grace
Spoken styleYour Grace

Carroll served as president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference between 2000 and 2006.[2]

Early careerEdit

Carroll was the second of seven children of Patrick and Rose Carroll.[3] He was ordained a priest in 1954 in St Brendan's Church, Ganmain. After service in Griffith and Albury, Carroll was appointed to the role of Assistant Diocesan Inspector of Schools and became Director of Catholic Education for the Diocese of Wagga Wagga in 1965.[4]


In 1968 he was appointed Bishop of Wagga Wagga by Paul VI.[1] He has been a spiritual director to the Cursillo movement and was a member of the first National Catholic Education Commission (from 1969 to 1971). In 1974, he was appointed to the International Catechetical Commission, an appointment he held for 18 years. He was the Australian representative at the Synod of Bishops on Catechesis in 1977 and was the first chairperson of the National Catholic Education Commission from 1974 to 1978, remaining a member until 1988.[4]

In 1983 he was appointed Archbishop of Canberra – Goulburn[1] with his seat at St Christopher's Cathedral, Manuka, Australian Capital Territory. In 1986, he welcomed John Paul II on his arrival in Australia.[5]

Popularly known as "Father Francis", he served the church in Canberra for 23 years. The development of Catholic schools in the archdiocese is a significant part of his legacy,[3] in addition to his role in helping to bring about government aid to private schools in Australia.[6]

He was also the first Australian bishop to call a diocesan synod since the Second Vatican Council. It was held in Canberra during 1989 with a subsequent synod in 2004. The synod's recommendations accepted by the archbishop were the formation of a commission for women, a commitment to resource and support the Catholic youth ministry team for a period of five years, the embracing of the concept of encouraging parishes to implement family-based sacramental programs and calling on parishes to consider the employment of pastoral associates possibly in conjunction with neighbouring parishes.[5] However, the synod's proposals were not without their detractors.[7]

In 2001, Carroll signed a decree that reduced the holy days of obligation to Christmas, the Assumption and every Sunday as the days on which Catholics in Australia are obliged to attend Mass.[8]

As president of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference he sought to find ways to meet the church's challenge of a decline in priestly vocations, including considering married priests:[9]

"Personally I, and I believe every Bishop, would value very, very highly the gift of celibacy, but I think some would be prepared to look at some relaxation of that discipline if that were to help."

He also advocated for the extension of Australian visas for asylum seekers, particularly from Timor Leste.[6] For over ten years, Carroll sought the creation of a special visa category for the East Timorese asylum seekers, most of whom are active members of the Catholic community and have lived in Australia. While this request was not approved by the Howard government, it triggered the personal intervention of the Minister for Immigration to grant permanent residency status to the asylum seekers where appropriate.[10][11]

In August 2005, prior to attaining 75 years of age, Carroll submitted his resignation to Benedict XVI,[12] which was accepted the following month,[13] but he continued in the role until his replacement, Mark Coleridge, was appointed in June 2006.[1] He now lives in retirement in Wagga Wagga.


He was awarded the Centenary Medal on 1 January 2001 for "Service to Australian Society through the Roman Catholic Church".

In February 2006, as a result if a public appeal, a scholarship was established to help students attend the Canberra campus of the Australian Catholic University. The Francis Carroll Scholarship provides financial support to students who relocate from rural or regional areas of the Archdiocese of Canberra – Goulburn or the Diocese of Wagga Wagga to undertake an Education course at the Canberra campus.[14]

In May 2006, Carroll was awarded the Doctor of the University (Univ.D), honoris causa, the highest honour from the Australian Catholic University. The award recognised Carroll's contribution to Catholic education.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Archbishop Francis Patrick Carroll". The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church. 13 June 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  2. ^ "Archbishop Francis Partick Carroll". Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn Australia. GCatholic. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Carroll House: History". Mater Dei Catholic College. Archived from the original on 18 October 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  4. ^ a b c "Archbishop Francis Carroll DD". Australian Catholic University. 16 December 2009. Archived from the original on 18 April 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Our history: Church and Society on the Move". About the Archdiocese. Archdiocese of Canberra – Goulburn. Archived from the original on 30 November 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  6. ^ a b "A nation's figure of distinction". Catholic Voice. Archdiocese of Canberra – Goulburn. July 2006. Archived from the original on 1 September 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  7. ^ Baker, Michael. "Canberra-Goulburn's Archbishop Carroll". Super Flumina. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  8. ^ Carroll, Francis (15 May 2001). "A review of the Holy Days of Obligation". Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  9. ^ Murphy, Sean (31 July 2002). "Catholics flirt with idea of married priests" (transcript). 7.30 Report. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  10. ^ "Archbishop Carroll welcomes East Timor visa decision". Catholic News. 5 June 2003. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  11. ^ "Archbishop welcomes move on East Timorese asylum seekers" (Press release). Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference. 4 June 2003. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  12. ^ "Archbishop Carroll sends resignation to Pope". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 22 August 2005. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  13. ^ "Pope accepts the resignation of Canberra's Archbishop Carroll". The Canberra Times. 13 September 2005. Retrieved 3 January 2011.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Francis Carroll Scholarship". Scholarships and Bursaries. Australian Catholic University. 19 November 2011. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Francis Augustin Henschke
3rd Bishop of Wagga Wagga
Succeeded by
William John Brennan
Preceded by
Edward Bede Clancy
5th Archbishop of Canberra – Goulburn
Succeeded by
Mark Coleridge