NZ Bishops will to use their own pastoral guidelines with respect to children of priests

children of priests

The New Zealand Catholic bishops will continue to follow their own pastoral practices with respect to the children of priests rather than adopting the Irish bishops’ guidelines.

The bishops’ spokesperson, Amanda Gregan, responding to questions from RNZ, said the bishops had “read with interest the Irish Bishops’ guidelines concerning children of priests”.

However, “They will continue to follow their own pastoral practices in regard to any encounter that may arise.”

These practices would be “informed” by the Irish principles and others, and New Zealand law.

The example of Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn, who worked for a long time with the woman he at last acknowledged last month, was an example of how the Church could respond, she said.

“Each case is different and, as such, should be treated sensitively and with respect.”

RNZ reported that The Vatican recently asked its Commission for Safeguarding Minors to work on its own set of guidelines.

Gregan said the New Zealand bishops were unaware that was happening and it was not discussed at their recent meeting.

Coping International’s founder Vincent Doyle said it was good that New Zealand bishops were trying to come to terms with the concept, but they lacked the experience to handle it.

“This issue brings with it particular nuances and psychologies uncommon to other scenarios that [the bishops] may have encountered, such as genealogical bewilderment syndrome … or other anxieties that priests’ children may experience,” he said.

New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference statement

“The bishops firmly believe that the rights and sensitivities of the child and the mother should be respected and that being the father of a child carries with it particular responsibilities.

“As already explained to RNZ, this is a pastoral situation where the bishops believe a listening ear and heart are vital.

“The bishops are also conscious New Zealand has carefully crafted civic guidelines and policies concerning a child’s right to know his or her natural parents. They are guided also by this praxis.

“The bishops read with interest the Irish bishops’ guidelines concerning children of priests. They will continue to follow their own pastoral practices in regard to any encounter that may arise.”

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News category: New Zealand.

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