A Catholic bishop who is part of the church's response to the Royal Commission of inquiry into state abuse has offered his resignation to the Pope.
The pope will consider the resignation under a new law regarding the compulsory reporting of clerical sexual abuse.
Bishop Charles Drennan is based in Palmerston North and is a member of Te Rōpū Tautoko - the group set up by the Catholic Church to liaise with the Royal Commission.
RNZ understands the church is considering Bishop Drennan's resignation under a law created by Pope Francis in May, called 'You are the light of the world'.
The law makes clear that clerics must report any allegations of abuse or attempted cover ups of abuse they encounter in the church.
Three forms of sexual abuse are listed in the law, assault through use of power, assault of children, or making or distributing child sex images.
The pope is expected to accept the Bishop's resignation tonight.
The Catholic Church said it's unable to comment on the situation until that resignation is accepted.