The archbishop of Wellington, Cardinal John Atcherley Dew, receives the previous bishop of Christchurch, Paul Martin, as a supporter and future successor at his side. The Vatican announced Martin’s appointment as so-called coadjutor by Pope Francis on New Year’s Day.
Cardinal Archbishop Dew, now 72, served as coadjutor himself for several months before replacing his predecessor in 2005. As head of New Zealand’s only archdiocese, Dew is the island nation’s highest-ranking Catholic clergyman. His successor in Wellington, Bishop Paul Martin, is 53 years old.
The Vatican puts the percentage of Catholics in the country at about 12 percent, according to the latest statistical data. About half of the population is non-denominational.