Cardinal John Dew, the Metropolitan Archbishop of New Zealand, has 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.