An English bishop has announced his resignation after disclosing that he has been unfaithful to his promises as a priest.
Bishop Kieran Conry made the announcement in a letter to be read out at Masses in his Diocese of Arundel and Brighton this weekend.
In the letter Bishop Conry, 63, said he had not been involved in any criminal behaviour and asked for his flock’s prayers.
His statement read: “I am sorry to confess that, going back some years, I have been unfaithful to my promises as a Catholic priest. I would like to reassure you that my actions were not illegal and did not involve minors.
“As a result, however, I have decided to offer my resignation as bishop with immediate effect and will now take some time to consider my future.
“I want to apologise first of all to the individuals hurt by my actions and then to all of those inside and outside the diocese who will be shocked, hurt and saddened to hear this.
“I am sorry for the shame that I have brought on the diocese and the Church and I ask for your prayers and forgiveness.”
Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said: “This is a sad and painful moment. It makes clear that we are always a Church of sinners called to repentance and conversion and in need of God’s mercy. All involved in this situation are much in my prayers today.”
Bishop Conry was ordained priest in the Archdiocese of Birmingham in 1975.
In 1980 he was appointed private secretary to the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Bruno Heim. He also served Archbishop Heim’s successor, Archbishop Luigi Barbarito.
From 1994 to 2001, he was director of the Catholic Media Office, considerably improving relations between journalists and the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
St John Paul II named him the fourth Bishop of Arundel and Brighton on May 8 2001.