NZ bishops reflect on children of priests issue

NZ Catholic

April 30, 2018

New Zealand’s Catholic bishops have discussed and reflected upon the issue of children of Catholic priests who have promised celibacy.

In a message to Coping International’s Vincent Doyle sent last month, New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference communications advisor Amanda Gregan noted that the bishops “firmly believe that the rights and sensitivities of the child and the mother should be respected and that being the father of a child carries with it particular responsibilities”.

The bishops also referred to civic guidelines and policies in New Zealand concerning a child’s right to know his or her natural parents, adding they (the bishops) would be guided by this practice.

Mr Doyle, an Irish psychotherapist whose own father was a Catholic priest, had previously worked with Ireland’s Catholic bishops in developing a set of “principles of responsibility” regarding priests who father children while in ministry. Five principles were developed and the second states that “the needs of the child should be given first consideration”.

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