Palmerston North, New Zealand, Oct 4, 2019 / 14:10 pm America/Denver (CNA).
The Vatican announced Friday that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a bishop in New Zealand, following an investigation into a complaint of “unacceptable behaviour of a sexual nature” made by a young woman.
Bishop Charles Drennan, 59, was the subject of an investigation by Cardinal John Dew of Wellington. Drennan had led the Diocese of Palmerston North since 2012.
Under Vos estis lux mundi, recent guidelines for investigations into misconduct claims against bishops which Pope Francis announced in May, metropolitan archbishops are placed in charge of investigations into suffragan bishops. Cardinal Dew is Archbishop of Wellington, to whom the rest of New Zealand's diocesan bishops are suffragan.
Dew said Oct. 4 that upon receiving the young woman’s complaint, the New Zealand Church’s independent investigation body, the National Office of Professional Standards (NOPS), contracted an “independent, licenced investigator” to investigate under Dew’s oversight. The woman requested that details of the complaint remain private, Dew said.
In its Oct. 4 bulletin announcing episcopal resignations and appointments, the Vatican did not specify the reason for Drennan's resignation.