Bishop Shane Mackinlay was born in Melbourne in 1965 and attended the local government school until his family moved to Ballarat in 1975. In Ballarat, he was a student at St Francis Xavier Primary School and St Patrick’s College, where he was dux in 1982. He has two siblings and is the uncle of five nieces and nephews.
He studied for the priesthood at Corpus Christi College, Clayton, completing theology studies at Catholic Theological College and a degree in physics at Monash University. As a deacon, he served in the parish of Warrnambool, before being ordained as priest for the Ballarat Diocese in 1991, and serving in the parishes of Hamilton, Colac and Ballarat Cathedral. He then undertook graduate studies in philosophy at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, where he completed a Master’s degree and a Doctorate. His doctoral thesis was published by Fordham University Press.
Bishop Mackinlay was administrator of the Casterton parish for six months and parish priest of the Sebastopol parish for four years. He was parish priest of the Bungaree parish from 2005 until his appointment as bishop; from 2009, he also provided weekend sacramental ministry for the neighbouring parish of Gordon.
For several years, he taught philosophy at Australian Catholic University, Ballarat. Most of his teaching has taken place at Catholic Theological College, Melbourne, where he was appointed Master in 2011. The following year, he was appointed Associate Professor by the University of Divinity.
From 2012 to 2014 he was the spokesperson for the Catholic Church during the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other NonGovernment Organisations. He was secretary to the Bishop of Ballarat from 1998 to 2001, and was the chairperson of the Bishop’s Advisory Council of the Ballarat diocese from when it was established in 2009. He was a member of the College of Consultors of the Ballarat diocese on two occasions and also served six years as Chairman of the two funds that provide support to the active and retired priests of the Ballarat diocese.
Pope Francis appointed Bishop Mackinlay as the eighth Bishop of Sandhurst on 23 July 2019. Since then, he has been elected as Vice-President of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia and one of the Australian delegates to the forthcoming Synod for a Synodal Church. In 2019, he was appointed as a member of the Methodist–Roman Catholic International Commission.