Charles Drennan resigns as Bishop of Palmerston North

The Holy Father announced 11 pm NZ time, he has accepted the resignation of Charles Drennan as Bishop of Palmerston North.

Hailing from Christchurch, and an old boy of Christ’s College, Drennan has a first-class honours degree from the University of Canterbury.

He studied for the priesthood at Holy Cross Seminary, Mosgiel and at Propaganda Fide College, Rome.

Ordained priest in 1996, Drennan served in several Christchurch parishes, was the administrator of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and Chancellor of the Diocese of Christchurch. For a time, as a priest, he worked at the Vatican in the Secretariat of State.

Ordained bishop in June 2011 at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Palmerston North, Drennan was installed as bishop of Palmerston North in March 2012.

A member of the Executive Committee of the Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania and Board of the New Zealand Catholic Education Office Ltd; Bishop member of The Catholic Institute (TCI) Council; member of the NZCBC Commission for the Church, member of the Mixed Commission of bishops and religious priests, sisters and brothers, in 2016 he was elected secretary of the NZ Catholic Bishop’s Conference.

More recently he was appointed as the bishops’ representative on the support group known as Te Rōpū Tautoko. “Tautoko” was set up to manage co-operation between the Catholic Church and the Abuse in Care Royal Commission.

Cardinal Dew’s statement

A statement from the Cardinal Metropolitan Archbishop of New Zealand was distributed late at 11:17pm. It reads:

“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.”


  • Palmerston North Diocese
  • Supplied
  • Image: TVOne News

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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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