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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Retired NZ Cardinal John Dew cleared to return to ministry after Vatican and police abuse inquiries

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Cardinal John Dew - exonerated - The Catholic weekly
Cardinal John Dew.

New Zealand’s emeritus Cardinal Archbishop of Wellington has been cleared to return to ministry following a Vatican inquiry into an historical abuse complaint. 

Cardinal John Dew stood aside from ministry during the Vox Estis Lux Mundi review and an earlier police investigation into a complaint of sexual abuse against a minor during his time as an assistant priest during the 1970s. 

The cardinal strenuously denied the allegation and an extensive 10-month police investigation concluded earlier this year without laying any charges. 

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“Cardinal John stood aside from all public church activities during the police investigation,” Archbishop of Wellington Paul Martin said in a statement on 5 June. 

“With the church’s procedures complete, and no further action proposed, Cardinal John can resume public church activities. 

“This has been a distressing situation and painful for all involved.  

“The church has provided pastoral care and support to those involved and continues to do so. 

“I would ask that we continue to pray for all those affected and offer support where we can.” 

Archbishop Martin informed the archdiocese about the launch of the church investigation in a statement on 7 March, following media reports about the allegations. 

“Inquiries by the church are not run concurrently to those being undertaken by police. Now that the police investigation has concluded, Cardinal John continues to stand aside while church inquiries proceed,” he explained. 

At the time Cardinal Dew said he was informed of the allegation the day following the announcement of his retirement on 5 May, 2023, as he had reached the age of 75. 

He said did not know the person making the allegations and never met him. 

“The allegation against me is false, it may come from a well of anguish and grief arising from other reasons,” the cardinal said in a statement. 

“I am acutely aware of how distressing this is for many: survivors who have put their trust in me, our church community, and my family and friends. I state once again that all incidents of abuse are wrong. 

“I hope and pray that all abuse victims will find peace and healing.” 

Cardinal Dew was president of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference from 2009-2016, and 2020-2023. 

He served as Archbishop of Wellington for nearly 20 years and was appointed a cardinal by Pope Francis in 2015. 

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