Cardinal-designate John Dew

Cardinal-designate John Dew

January 12, 2015

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – Cardinal-designate John Dew of Wellington has appealed for a more pastoral approach for some of the family issues facing New Zealand Catholics.

At the 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, he called on Church leaders to discuss a "pastoral approach" to ending "the scandal of hunger for eucharistic food."

The Church, he said, would be enriched if dedicated Catholics excluded from the Eucharist because of Church rules could return to the Lord's table.

He also spoke of an increasing number of marriages between Catholics and members of other Christian faiths, in which the couple could not receive Communion together.

During last October's Synod of Bishops on the family, he told Salt and Light Television that the New Zealand bishops want "to see language in Church documents changed so that it's something that gives people hope and support and encouragement, rather than being something that appears to many people" as basically saying "they can't meet the mark, they can't live up to the standards the Church is asking of them."

When the bishops were preparing for the synod, they had a "huge" response, he said: "25 per cent of the people responding were non-practising Catholics and the message was that 'It's impossible when we're told that because we're using contraceptives we're intrinsically evil or that we're living in an irregular situation – the language is so negative that it doesn't help us.'

"So, my intervention was: Let's not be concentrating on rules, but looking for language that helps people and encourages people in their journey toward God."

The Wellington archbishop will be one of 20 new cardinals elevated at a consistory Feb. 14.


In a 2013 interview with the Auckland-based NZ Catholic newspaper, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga said that during the March 2013 conclave there was a common feeling among the cardinals that the Vatican needed "internationalization."

"We need more Oceania cardinals," Rodriguez said.

Oceania then had only one cardinal elector, Cardinal George Pell of Sydney.