Inside the Catholic Church
background information and the decision is made in Rome.
There was a bit of fuss in 2005 when you went to the Bishops’ Synod on the Eucharist in Rome and suggested people who had divorced and remarried might be able to receive the eucharist. How was that received?
I just put it out there as a subject that might be discussed. Some agreed, others did not. I still stand by what I said. Many people’s marriages break up when it’s not their fault so why should they be deprived of having the ability to receive communion?
Do you think the Catholic church makes things difficult for itself with its rigid attitude to such issues as birth control and premarital sex?
The Church is catching up in some areas, such as use of the internet. The Church is always looking for ways to relate to the modern world. In some areas there are opportunities to be a little less black and white. However, there are principles and moral issues that make perfect sense and the church upholds them. They may cost a bit [in terms of popularity] but the reasons behind them make people stop and think.
Do you ever reflect that it would have been nice to have had a family?
I’ve often seen that I would not have been able to do the things I have done if I had the commitment to a wife and family. Of course, sometimes I wonder what it would have been like but I’ve been very happy how it has turned out.
Have you met Pope Benedict XVI?
Yes, several times. I first met him several years before he became the Pope.
Did he strike you as a potential pope?
He was a really good man. He welcomed us very generously and had the ability to sit and listen. I didn’t think of him as a potential pope because of his age but he has been outstanding. His guidance in the form of writings has been excellent. He is naturally quite introverted but the way he has made a point of meeting people has been impressive.
Coming from Hawke’s Bay, what do you think of Wellington?
I feel I qualify as a Wellingtonian now. I was in an Upper Hutt parish for three years and had five in the youth ministry in Hill St, and now I’m here. I’m even a Hurricanes supporter,
I enjoy the city. There are lots of opportunities to walk around the hills and the waterfront and for sport and cultural activities.
I go along with those who say you can’t beat Wellington on a good day.
Archbishop John Dew: ‘‘The church is catching up in some areas, such as use of the internet.’’