Tag Archives: Archdiocese

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
Email: communications@nzcbc.org.nz
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: safeguarding.catholic.org.nz.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 19 September 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

From +John…

On Wednesday 11th September, the Council of Priests had one of its regular meetings. The meeting began as it always does with a time of prayer and reflection. One of the questions we were asked to reflect on during our prayer was “as we are called to lead major change within the local Church of Wellington perhaps, we need to be reminded of some basic truths as priests?” This led into a wonderful time of prayer and sharing and included the words spoken by Pope Benedict XVI in his first homily as Pope: “We were conceived in the heart of God and for this reason ‘each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.’” I think we all do well to reflect on those words spoken by Pope Benedict, because unless we know deeply that we are “willed, loved and chosen” it will be hard to lead in this time of huge change and challenge.

Only a few days before our Council meeting Pope Francis had spoken to the clergy and religious during his visit to Madagascar. I was thinking of his words as we prayed and reflected at our meeting. He said on 5 September: “I was pleased by something one of the catechists said: ‘We are a Church that is part of a heroic people’. A people that has experienced suffering yet keeps hope alive. With this holy pride that you take in your people, a pride that invites a renewal of faith and hope, all of us today want to renew our ‘yes’. How happy is Holy Mother Church to hear you manifest your love for the Lord and for the mission that he has given you!”

It is a lovely thought to think that we are part of a heroic people. What does that mean for you?

We are a people who have experienced suffering, but we keep hope alive! What do we do as individuals and in our communities to keep hope alive?

We are invited to renew our faith and hope, do we really want to renew our “Yes?”

The Pope reminds us how happy “Holy Mother Church to hear us show our love for the Lord and for the mission that he has given us”.

  • What is your mission?
  • How do you live out your mission?
  • How do we work together supporting each other in our mission?

Please remember and pray with the words “each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary”.

Naku noa

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 5 September 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Kia tau te Rangimarie kia koutou

Last Sunday’s Gospel could be summed up with these words “Everyone who exalts themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted”. Last Sunday morning I was reading a reflection from the Magnificat magazine. The meditation of the day was “How to be humble” written by Dom Eugene Boylan, an Irish Cistercian. He began the reflection by saying “if one asks how am I to be humble, the immediate answer is by the grace of God, and that is indeed the truth. Only the grace of God can give us the insight into our own condition and realization of his exaltation that make for humility. But even though it be a grace, it is a grace with which we must co-operate. The first thing to do is to ask in prayer for the grace of humility and to ask sincerely. The second thing is to accept humiliations when they come our way. But let us never forget that there is an enormous difference between being humble and being humiliated.”

In these days when we continue to be shattered, disappointed and angry about the abuse crisis throughout the world, many people do feel humiliated. That is probably especially so for we priests who are seen as the Church’s public representatives.

There has been a lot written about humility. Pope Francis himself has spoken about it, saying that if this is a time of shame and humiliation, it could also actually be a privileged moment to grow closer to Christ, not just for those who have offended but for all the Church, so that everyone realizes, acknowledges, and lives by the fact that everything we do is by the grace of God.

I think Pope Francis is saying that this is giving us an opportunity to change the way the Church does things, and if this is so, then then let’s embrace it. We are getting the message that humility is the only way God will have a say and the only way the Church will change.
Pope Francis is constantly referring to being poor, as Christ was poor, being crucified, as Christ was. Remember the Pope knows well the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola, which have shaped him. Ignatius himself was no stranger to humiliation and actually saw it as the most opportune moment for meeting the real Christ. One of the lessons we are learning is that up until now the Church’s culture in leadership was command and control, and that is what protected the Church and anyone who challenged it became a victim. Now is the time for humility.

That reflection last Sunday on “how to be humble” and the Gospel of the day was a great lesson for us. Pope Francis seems quite content to be humiliated because he sees it as the only way that the learning will sink in, and that we will discover that God is in control. How are we to be humble? The immediate answer is by the grace of God. Only the grace of God can give us the insight into our own human condition and help us to be grateful and humble for all that God does for us.

Naku noa

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Cardinal John’s Newsletter 8 August 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here

Kia tau te rangimarie kia koutou

Two days ago we celebrated the Feast of the Transfiguration. For me it is one of the most powerful and wonderful incidents in the life of Jesus recorded in the Gospel. While at prayer Jesus heard the words “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” Hearing those words his identity was confirmed as the Son of God and he was able to come down from the mountain and “resolutely take the road to Jerusalem” or “set his face to Jerusalem.” He chose to set out for Jerusalem even though on the mountain he had heard Moses and Elijah “speaking of his passing which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem.”

On the 1st July I read about the saint of the day, Saint Junipero Serra, a Franciscan friar who traveled from Spain to the Pacific Coast of America to take the Gospel to the Native Americans. Saint Junipero’s motto was “Siempre Adelante,” which means “always go forward.” For me that motto has the same meaning as Jesus “resolutely taking the road to Jerusalem.”

Just a few days ago Pope Francis sent a message in a short video clip to the Indonesian Missionary Congress with a very simple but deeply profound message. He said: “We are not people who go backwards. No! We are people who go forward, always. Baptised and sent: the Christian goes forward and this is what ‘sent’ means. It is the Holy Spirit that impels me to go forward.”

“Go, you are sent”, are familiar words to us as they were the words which conveyed the message of the Archdiocesan Synod two years ago.

As we look for new ways to engage, as we realise more and more that we all “are a mission” and that we have work to do which calls for all of us to be fully involved, I can think of no better words than that motto of Saint Junipero Serra “Siempre Adlante.” His words were inspired, I believe, by the example of Jesus who set his face towards Jerusalem.
As the Holy Father says, “So, take courage, go forward, always forward. You are baptised and sent.”

Naku noa
+ John

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Cardinal John’s Newsletter 9 July 2019

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

Kia tau te Rangimarie kia koutou

This is a difficult time in our history to be asking people to think about vocations to the priesthood and religious life. The sexual abuse scandals have rocked the Church throughout the world and continue to do so. It is hard to talk to young men about the possibility of priesthood when they hear so much about how so many have been abused and betrayed by those they should have been able to trust.

However, the call to priesthood must be talked about. It is still a rewarding and very satisfying life. It is a life of service and brings with it the incredible privilege of walking alongside others in all aspects of their lives. It gives those of us who are priests the chance to try to be the presence of Christ to others ….. and that is a privilege and a blessing that I cannot put into words. Even in the midst of a Church in disarray and disappointment the call to priesthood is obviously still there.

Vocations Awareness Week will be observed from 4th – 11th August throughout New Zealand. Will that week be any different for us from any other week of the year? Will our parishes, schools and colleges do something special to encourage teenagers and young adults to think about the possibility of priesthood and religious life? Will parents mention it as a possibility to their sons and daughters. Do the priests who read this newsletter regularly ask young men if they have thought about priesthood as a possibility?

A few months ago we formed an Archdiocesan Vocations Committee who are now working with Father David Dowling. This group of generous people, consisting of three women and two priests, is looking at ways to raise the profile of priestly vocations in the Archdiocese. In particular they will explore the promotion of vocations among young people, and assist in accompanying those who are considering priesthood.

Please pray in support of the work of the Archdiocesan Vocations Committee, and please reflect on how you could invite suitable young men to consider priesthood.

With thanks and every blessing.
Naku noa
+ John

The full newsletter can be viewed here.