All posts by Cardinal John Dew

About Cardinal John Dew

Archbishop of Wellington: His Eminence Cardinal John Atcherley Dew DD

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 14 November 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here

Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,

Many years ago, I had developed the daily practice of as soon as I got out of bed standing up and singing (and I can’t sing) the following chant:
“Father/Jesus/ Spirit; I adore you; Lay my life before you; How I love you”.

I did that for a long time, and made appropriate gestures, such as accompanying the first line with hands raised in prayer and praise and bowing with reverence at the last line. Then somehow that practice fell by the wayside. However, I was reminded of it a couple of nights ago as I was driving home from an evening out.

I was listing to the Concert Programme as I normally do in the car. There was beautiful music playing and the commen-tator was saying that this whole programme was dedicated to reflecting on and working for peace in our world. Then he introduced a musician who was playing a Bach composition. I don’t know what the piece was, but it was beautiful. The musician said that he plays that piece of music everyday and then said, “It is my benediction on the day.” His words reminded me of the little practice I engaged in a long time ago. It also reminded me of a phrase I used a lot at about the same time in my life, a saying of Abraham Joshua Heschel “Just to be is a blessing, just to live is holy.”

I spent the rest of the drive home pondering on what I could do every day to make my own “benediction on the day,” and what I could do to ensure that life is a blessing. I know that if I see my life as a blessing, if I try to live every day and every moment of the day as a gift from God, then life will be holy. If life is lived as a blessing and a gift every day it then becomes not just a blessing for me, but for everyone I meet with throughout any particular day.
What is your “benediction on the day?”

Naku noa. Na + Hoane
+ John

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 31 October 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

From +John…

Kia tau te Rangimarie kia koutou

I am writing this as the New Zealand Bishops come to the end of our ad limina visit to Rome, however I will actually be home by the time you receive it.

Our visit has been very worthwhile as we have met with many Roman discasteries, celebrated Mass at the tombs of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and had a wonderful meeting with Pope Francis. A message I heard many times from the various Congregations we visited was “tell people the Good News of the Gospel, tell people about Jesus Christ, what he has done for us and continues to do for us.”

This message has clearly been picked up from Pope Francis and we have been reminded that our task, the task for everyone who is baptised, is to evangelise and share the joy and hope of the Gospel. At the Masses at the tomb of St Peter and at St Pauls Outside the Walls I was struck both times by the Preface of the Mass which speaks of “Peter, our leader in faith, and Paul its fearless preacher.” As we come to the end of this Extraordinary Month of Mission we remember that like Peter we are all called in different ways to be leaders. We are also all called to be fearless preachers, to preach with our lives. This takes courage.

The other message we received many times was to be people of courage; being courageous for the sake of the Gospel has been a constant theme. As we face the challenges of the world around us and try to take the Gospel to a world where many people struggle and find little to give them hope, I think of the words of Venerable Suzanne Aubert, “Let us never lose courage for the journey.”

Earlier this year Pope Francis reflected on the reality that all people are “made bearers of a promise” and are asked to have the “courage to take a risk” with Jesus and for Jesus.

The Pope reminded us in our visit with him that our task is to lead a Church which does things differently, a Church which is not closed in on itself, which is constantly reaching out to others with the good news of the Gospel. That is the message for all of us, for everyone who shares the gift of Baptism. Are we all ready to be “bearers of a promise” and to have the “courage to take a risk”, with Jesus and for Jesus?

Please continue us to pray for Pope Francis as he leads the Church today.

With every blessing

Naku noa

+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 17 October 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here

From +John…

Kia tau te Rangimarie kia koutou

Greetings, prayers and all good wishes from Rome.

This has been a very hard time to be away from New Zealand as I and many others have struggled to cope with the resignation of Bishop Charles Drennan as Bishop of Palmerston North.

In Rome I have received some beautiful message of support and understanding from many people, and the wonderful assurance of prayerful support as the Church faces this sad and distressing situation. Many of the messages I have received have been about HOPE. For example, a saying of Venerable Suzanne Aubert was sent to me which said “Never lose hope on the journey.” Another message said “Hope sends us dancing around dark corners trusting in a tomorrow we cannot see”. I found these sayings very helpful and I hope that you do too. We could think that we are encircled by gloom, but faith always gives us hope.

I was not in St Peter’s Square for the canonisation of the now Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman and of four other saints. I had taken the chance to journey to the Western Front to visit the grave of my paternal grandfather, who was killed just before the end of the First World War. This journey to France was something I had always wanted to do as my own father never knew his father and had never had the privilege, as I have just had, of visiting some of the Commonwealth War Graves.

I have now read the words of Pope Francis spoken at the Canonization where he applied the words of Newman to the five new saints, not just to Cardinal Newman who wrote the words in a poem entitled “The Pillar and the Cloud.”

Pope Francis said, quoting Newman: “The Christian has a deep, silent, hidden peace, which the world does not. The Christian is cheerful, easy, kind, gentle, courteous, candid, unassuming; has no pretence …with so little that is unusual or striking in his/her bearing, that he/she may easily be taken at first sight for an ordinary person”. Referring to Cardinal Newman’s famous hymn “Lead, Kindly Light,” the Pope prayed that all Christians “would be kindly lights amid the encircling gloom”.

Let us ask God to help us be those “kindly lights”.

With every blessing

Naku noa
+ John

Bishop Charles Drennan resigns as the Bishop of Palmerston North

4 October 2019

Bishop Charles Drennan resigns as the Bishop of Palmerston North

Cardinal John Dew, the Metropolitan Archbishop of New Zealand, today announced that Bishop Charles Drennan has resigned as the Bishop of Palmerston North. Bishop Drennan tendered his resignation to Pope Francis following an investigation into a complaint of unacceptable behaviour of a sexual nature. The complaint was made by a young woman. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation.

Upon receiving the complaint, the New Zealand Church’s independent investigation body, the National Office of Professional Standards (NOPS), contracted an independent, licenced investigator to undertake an investigation under the oversight of Cardinal Dew. Bishop Drennan stood aside from his duties. Both Bishop Drennan and the young woman participated in the independent investigation.

The young woman has been informed of his resignation and the Church is in ongoing contact with her. The Church is committed to giving continuing support to the young woman, her family and those around her.

“The young woman has requested that details of the complaint remain private,” said Cardinal Dew. “It can be confirmed that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation. In the eyes of the Catholic Church, Bishop Drennan’s behaviour was completely unacceptable, and it fully supports the young woman for coming forward to NOPS,” said Cardinal Dew.

The clergy, staff and church leadership of the Diocese of Palmerston North have been told of the acceptance of Bishop Drennan’s resignation and provided with guidance and resources to help them to support parishioners and other members of the Catholic community. The wider Church of New Zealand will also be advised and supported.

“The Catholic Church has no tolerance for any inappropriate behaviour by any of its members. I encourage anyone who experiences such behaviour to bring it to the attention of the Church, police or any organisation with which they feel comfortable,” said Cardinal Dew.


Media Contact:
Cardinal John Dew
c/o David McLoughlin, Communications Advisor
New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference
Phone: 021 611 052

His Eminence Cardinal John Atcherley Dew DD is a Roman Catholic bishop. He was appointed Archbishop of Wellington in 2005 and elevated to Cardinal in 2015. He is also the Vice-President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.

The Metropolitan Archbishop of New Zealand is the senior bishop of a group of dioceses in a country or a province. He has limited functions and powers in relation to the other dioceses and does not have authority to intervene on his own initiative in the governance of a diocese in his province. In May 2019 Pope Francis gave Metropolitan Archbishops
the power to oversee investigations into abuse complaints against bishops of the dioceses in the Archbishop’s province.

The Catholic Diocese of Palmerston North is the region of New Zealand assigned to the Bishop of Palmerston North. The region extends through the northern reaches of Taranaki in the east to Hawke’s Bay in the west, following the coastlines and internal areas through Whanganui-Waimarino and Tararua into Manawatū and some of the Wairarapa.

The National Office for Professional Standards (NOPS) sets the strategic direction and ensures compliance of the Catholic Church’s safeguarding policy and procedures for children and vulnerable adults. They are also responsible for overseeing the investigation of complaints of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct against clergy and members of
religious orders.

If you or someone you know has a complaint:
The Church has a specialist team to receive complaints about inappropriate behaviour in any Church context, to support complainants find the right path towards healing, and to investigate complaints using an established process when any civil process is completed or not undertaken. The National Office for Professional Standards can be contacted on 0800
114 622 or online at: