The Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, Bishop Kieran Conry, has announced his resignation, in a letter to to be read out at all Masses in the diocese this weekend. The 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, 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 educated at All Souls Roman Catholic Primary School, Coventry, and Cotton College (Junior Seminary) in North Staffordshire, before moving to the Venerable English College in Rome to study for the priesthood.
He attended the Pontifical Gregorian University, gaining the qualifications PhB and STB. He was ordained in 1975 at All Souls Church in Coventry by Archbishop George Patrick Dwyer of Birmingham.
In 1976, he returned to Cotton College to teach English Literature and Religious Education. In 1980 he became the private secretary to the Apostolic Delegate (Pro-Nuncio from 1982), Archbishop Bruno Heim, and then his successor, Archbishop Luigi Barbarito. He was appointed Monsignor in 1984.
In 1988, Conry returned to the Archdiocese of Birmingham as parish priest in Leek, Staffordshire. He was appointed Administrator of St Chad's Cathedral in 1990, just before its 150th anniversary the following year.
From 1988 to 1993, Conry was a member of the National Conference of Priests, and its Vice-Chairman from 1992 to 1993. He was also Chairman of the Birmingham City Centre Churches from 1992 to 1993. From 1993 to 2000, he was involved with training counsellors for Catholic Marriage Care.
From the beginning of 1994 to 2001, Conry was Director of the Catholic Media Office in London, the press office of the Bishop's Conference of England & Wales, and also Editor of Briefing, the Bishop's official journal. In January 2001, he returned to the Birmingham Archdiocese as parish priest of St Austin's, Stafford.
On 8 May 2001, Conry was named the fourth Bishop of Arundel and Brighton by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 9 June at Arundel Cathedral.