Pope accepts resignation of British bishop after report of affair

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 04, 2014 8:34 AM

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a leading British Roman Catholic Bishop who acknowledged that he had broken his vows and who was believed to have had an affair with a married woman, the Vatican said on Saturday.

Bishop Kieran Conry of the diocese of Arundel and Brighton, one of Britain's largest, disclosed in an announcement posted on the diocese's website last week that for years he had been "unfaithful to my promises as a Roman Catholic priest" and had decided to offer his resignation.

He apologized for the "shame that I have brought on the diocese and the Church" but he said his actions were not illegal and did not involve minors.

Neither Conry's statement nor the Vatican statement gave any details of how the 63-year-old bishop had broken his vows, but British media reported that he had had a long-running affair with a married woman some 20 years his junior.

Roman Catholic priests take a life-long vow of celibacy. Bishops normally retire at age 75 but Church law says they should offer to step down earlier if their actions have brought shame on the Church.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Hugh Lawson)