The Catholic bishop of Palmerston North is expected to resign after less than eight years in the job.

Stuff understands Pope Francis has been asked, or will be asked on Friday, to accept 59-year-old Bishop Charles Drennan’s​ resignation. The reasons for the resignation are not known.

Drennan has been the only bishop on the support group known as Te Rōpū Tautoko, which was set up to manage co-operation between the Catholic Church and the Abuse in Care Royal Commission.

Published in Stuff

Drennan has also been general secretary of New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.

Religious historian Professor Peter Lineham​ said Drennan was more of a traditionalist than the first bishop of Palmerston North, Peter Cullinane.

Cullinane understood Drennan had won support from conservative Catholics in the diocese.

Drennan opposed ACT leader David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill.

He called the euthanasia bill “deeply cynical” and said the title tricked people into thinking euthanasia or assisted suicide was something laudable.

In 2013, Drennan said he was surprised at the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, whom he described as “a great teacher”.

The Vatican Press Office publishes a daily bulletin with announcements including resignations and appointments.

It’s understood the next Vatican bulletin is due on Friday 11pm New Zealand time.

Stuff has approached Te Rōpū Tautoko and the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference for comment.

Drennan had not updated his Facebook page since June 13.

The page was visible on Friday morning but on Friday afternoon content on it was unavailable.

Palmerston North, established in 1980, is one of six New Zealand dioceses.

The diocesan website said Bishop Charles’ motto was caritas congaudet veritati, meaning “love delights in the truth”.

The same site said Drennan was ordained in 1996 and after further study served as a priest in the Christchurch diocese. He succeeded Cullinane in 2012.

By John Weeks
Published in Stuff
4 October 2019