The Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, who this week said he was “relieved” that a relationship he had with a woman six years ago had come to light, said that the church authorities did not know about the affair.
Bishop Kieran Conry said that if they had known, his fellow bishops would have done something. He told the Catholic Herald: “someone would have said something to me, someone would have taken me aside, and nobody did”.
Bishop Kieran Conry announced at the weekend that he was submitting his resignation to Pope Francis after The Mail on Sunday newspaper revealed details of the affair. The paper also made allegations about a friendship with a married mother-of-two, although Bishop Conry denied that this is sexual.
The bishop told the Daily Mail: “It has been difficult keeping the secret. In some respects I feel very calm. It is liberating. It is a relief. I have been very careful not to make sexual morality a priority [in his homilies]. I don’t think it got in the way of my job, I don’t think people would say I have been a bad bishop. But I can’t defend myself. I did wrong. Full stop.”
Bishop Conry, 63, was a leading figure in the English and Wales hierarchy, leading the Church's evangelisation office. Before his appointment as a bishop he ran the bishops' media office, where he was credited with improving the relationship between the Church and journalists.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said: “This is a sad and painful moment. All involved are much in my prayers."
Conry’s statement of resignation was read across parishes at Mass on Sunday:
Statement by Bishop Kieran Conry
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.