Palmerston North Catholics meet to pray and ask questions


Some parishioners of the Holy Spirit Cathedral Parish in Palmerston North, Monday, gathered for prayer and an opportunity to question the diocese’s leadership about the resignation of Bishop Charles Drennan.

They are grieving the loss of their leader and wondering what will happen to him.

Drennan resigned after an investigation into a complaint made by a young woman about behaviour of a sexual nature.

Monsignor Brian Walsh, the vicar general of the diocese, lead the prayers.

Diocese general manager Tony Murphy said the complaint a young woman made a complaint “some months ago”,

As a result, Drennan stepped aside from his duties while an investigation took place.

The complaint did not warrant police attention, Murphy said.

Walsh said a close friend was supporting Drennan, who remained a member of the clergy until further notice.

That meant the church had an obligation to support him, as it would any other bishop or priest.

Dion Martin said the news of Drennan’s resignation was like “a great huge sadness on our hearts.”

“My heart goes out to him because it’s obviously a difficult time he is going through.”

The situation showed the pledge of celibacy priests take was ridiculous, Martin said.

“I find it very cruel.”

Many others who spoke share the same sentiment.

However, a spontaneous show of hands by people in the room had less than half of the congregation agreeing priests should be able to marry.

Teresa Edwards, who manages the Catholic schools in the diocese, said teachers and principals were being prepared on how to deal with the issue if students brought it up once school returned after the holidays.

A counsellor was involved in the process, she said.

Although most who asked questions on Monday evening went to microphone and spoke in a measured way, a man in the crowd shouted out, asking why Drennan was not present to answer to the congregation.


Manatawu Standard

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