WelCom December 2022
Following recent media enquiries about the expected timeframe for the appointment of bishops to the two dioceses of Palmerston North and Hamilton, Bishop Steve Lowe, Bishop of Auckland, Secretary of the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference issued the following statement to clarify the process.
‘When a diocese requires a new bishop, the Apostolic Nuncio [the papal representative in New Zealand] starts a process of consultations with a range of lay people and clergy to look at the pastoral needs of the diocese and suggest names of potential candidates. The Nuncio passes this information on to the Vatican, which confirms a short list of candidates called a terna. The Nuncio then starts a second consultation process with a wide variety of people on the specific candidates who are being considered. These people are also asked to suggest others who might be consulted. When this process is complete the Nuncio sends his report to the Vatican and ultimately to the Pope who is the one who appoints bishops. When the Pope nominates a new bishop, the Nuncio informs the nominated priest and asks whether he is willing to accept. The process of appointing a bishop is not fast, and this can lead to frustration and speculation on what is happening. Behind the scenes, however, the process is happening.’