Cardinal calls on Vatican over bishop’s response to sex complaint

NZ Catholic

Stuff reports Cardinal John Dew is seeking the Vatican’s permission to investigate the way a Catholic bishop responded to complaints of a sexual nature against former priest Sateki Raass.

Dew, who is the Metropolitan Archbishop of New Zealand, addressed the letter to the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, which oversees ‘mission territories’, including New Zealand.

The investigation process Dew wants to instigate was set up by Pope Francis in 2019 and is reserved for complaints about bishops and must be followed in every case.

It is relevant in this instance because of a complainant’s concerns about the way Catholic Bishop of Auckland Patrick Dunn handled the complaints against Raass.

By Francis’ new law, Dew is obliged to report the case to Rome.

In a letter to to New Zealand’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference – of which Dew is the president – Liz Tonks and Murray Heasley, group leaders of the Network of Survivors in Faith-based Institutions laid out several complaints against Dunn’s handling of the Raass investigation.

These include Dunn’s lack of focus on the victim, his downplaying of Raass’s offending and saying the priest had been stood down when he hadn’t.

The Survivors’ letter also says Dunn had planned to let Raass say another Mass but was prevented from doing so by officials.

Dew says he is responsible for handling the complaints to the Vatican.

He has briefed the Vatican Congregation about the situation and is waiting for its response.

“I have asked Rome [ie the Congregation] if anything further should be investigated. My referring of it to Rome does not pre-judge Bishop Dunn’s actions,” Dew says.

Dew has also written to the Survivors, assuring them he included the letter they wrote to the Bishops’ Conference with other materials he sent to Rome. He also told them he has asked for permission to set up an investigation into how the case was handled.

Included with the information Dew sent to Rome is an alleged complaint of Raass’s past offending in Tonga.

This information, recently uncovered by media, was not relayed to Dunn and the Auckland church when it checked Raass’s background before he moved to New Zealand.




Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, Palmerston, Top Story.

Tags: , ,