Cardinal John Dew

Cardinal John Dew Photo: Newstalk ZB

New Zealand Cardinal acquitted by Vatican and Police in unproven abuse case

After reviewing the complaint dated back to the 1970s, the Vatican decided no further Church inquiry was required. The Vatican’s finding is similar to that of the New Zealand Police, which concluded earlier this year that Cardinal John Dew had no case to answer.

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(ZENIT News / Wellington, 06.12.2024).- A Vatican review has cleared Cardinal John Dew of an abuse accusation. He is now free to resume public Church activities.

After reviewing the complaint dated back to the 1970s, the Vatican decided no further Church inquiry was required. The Vatican’s finding is similar to that of the New Zealand Police, which concluded earlier this year that Cardinal John Dew had no case to answer.

When the story broke in the media in March, Dew responded personally – “No doubt many of you have been dismayed at the many instances in which I have had to decline to participate in baptisms, weddings, funerals and Diocesan events.”

He said he was acutely aware of how distressing the allegations have been – and are – for many people: survivors who have put their trust in him, the church community, his family and friends.

“Throughout my life as a priest, I have endeavoured to serve the Church and uphold the Gospels with all of my ability” Dew emphasised.

Vatican finding confirmed

The Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop, Paul Martin, confirmed the Vatican finding.

“Cardinal John Dew can now resume public activities that he stood aside from under Church protocols when the allegation was brought to the attention of the Church in May last year” Martin said.

Dew retired as Archbishop of Wellington in May last year when he turned 75 – the retirement age for Catholic Church bishops.

“The Church became aware of an allegation of abuse being made against Cardinal Dew at about the same time as his retirement” Martin said.

“Cardinal Dew immediately stood aside from all public church activities while the Police investigated the allegations.

“When the Police advised in March that no charges would be laid, Cardinal Dew continued to stand aside while a separate Vatican review proceeded, using the Church’s international procedures for complaints against bishops.

“With the Church’s review complete and no further action proposed, Cardinal Dew can resume public Church activities.

Pastoral support

“This has been a distressing experience and painful for everyone concerned” Martin said.

“The Church has an ongoing pastoral responsibility to offer support to all those involved and continues to do so.

“This includes the complainant to whom the Church has continued to offer support.”

With information from the New Zealand Bishops’ Conference

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