Together in Prayer
Bishop of Palmerston North Resigns

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Charles Drennan from his role as Bishop of Palmerston North on Friday 4th October 2019.

We pray that the mercy of God embrace and enfold the young woman who had the courage to speak, the people of Palmerston North diocese, the church in New Zealand, and Charles Drennan, just as this Wisteria embraces and transforms a tree.

Truth with mercy sets us free. In all our reactions, may we respond with compassion and kindness to each other. Mary refuge of sinners, help of Christians and mother of sorrows, pray for us.

For the release from New Zealand Catholic click HERE

For an article on power imbalance and consent click HERE

For an article on why women are blamed for abuse click HERE

When the Church Family Hurts
An edited form of a reflection by Fr Kevin Bates SM (Aus)

Fr Kevin Bates SM gave a reflection recently on when we feel shame and disgrace within our own church family. I have added edited excerpts from it below:

The range of emotions can be very great indeed as we face the news that the Bishop of Palmerston North has resigned. For some, our first thoughts may be with the young woman who had the courage to speak up. Others may feel anger, shame, confusion, hurt, betrayal or incredulity at the news. There is shock right through our community along with pain and probably some disillusion. Good people may choose to walk away from the Church altogether, feeling betrayed by an institution in which they had placed their trust. (edited by ML).

"Whatever our feelings … we as a Church are hurting. In a state of confusion, anger and pain, we may not be in the best position to reflect on what is happening and to shape a future direction for ourselves. Perhaps when the time is right, we can … come to a response that offers hope and healing.

-We may realise anew that the Church at every level, is made up of people who are both holy and frail.
-We may remember that scandal and sin have coexisted with holiness and grace all through the Church’s history.
-We may realise again that the Church is not an end in itself but is a vehicle for the coming of God’s Kingdom among us.
-This thought may help us re-align where we place our ultimate trust.

In other words, is my trust ultimately in the institution of the Church or … in the Gospel and my relationship with Jesus? Perhaps any trust I now place in the institution of the Church will be tempered by a certain realism.

For many of us, our experience of Church centres on our local parish or other community. Here we are among people of faith, people we love and respect, people with whom we can have a good argument, people with whom we pray.

It’s here at this level that we can, each of us, play our part in the healing of our family of faith. It’s here we can support and challenge each other. It’s here we can reflect on the events of the day and form a response together that will enable us to move on.

It’s here that our understanding of ourselves as Church, as this community of faith may be able to ripen. Once we are clear in our understanding of ourselves and our mission as a community, then we stand ready to gain the insights and nourishment from the Gospel that in the end will be our true anchorage.

As we seek a way forward together, we pray for all the wisdom, compassion and understanding … we will need. Let’s offer one another some attentive listening so that people can express openly what is in their hearts and seek some clarity from there. We certainly join in the solidarity of prayer for one another and all concerned.

When a living relationship with Jesus becomes our common starting point, we have a place from which we can re-build the trust that has been so shaken, clear the vision that has been distracted or distorted and heal the pain that weighs on us.

May God’s compassion guide our steps.
Father Kevin Bates SM (Aus)

Mary, mother of sorrows, mother of the church, help of Christians and refuge of sinners, pray for us.