Sunday, 28 September 2014




Kieran Conry

Bishop has affair with married parishioner ...then quits in shame over ANOTHER romance: Bishop of Arundel admits to relationship that broke clerical vows

  • Kieran Conry admitted he had been 'unfaithful to his promises' as a priest
  • Bishop of Arundel had a two year love affair with a married mother-of-two
  • She spent at least three nights at the bishop's house in West Sussex
  • Mail on Sunday has seen a love letter from the bishop to a second woman
  • Bishop insisted he had quit over a relationship he had six years ago
One of the country's leading Roman Catholic bishops resigned 'in shame' today after admitting to a relationship that broke his clerical vows.
In a scandal that will rock the Church, the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, Kieran Conry, said he had been 'unfaithful to his promises'.
Separately, a Mail on Sunday investigation has revealed the bishop also had a love affair with a married mother of two.
Scroll down for video 
Bishop Kieran Conroy insisted he was resigning over a previous relationship, rather than the one he had with the married mother-of-two (pictured)
Bishop Kieran Conroy insisted he was resigning over a previous relationship, rather than the one he had with the married mother-of-two (pictured)
This newspaper has seen love letters between Bishop Conry, 63, and the woman, written in recent months, in which he tells her that her husband doesn't love her.
One handwritten letter, which was dated earlier this month and addressed 'Dear, Dear XXXXX' and signed 'your K xxxxxx', said: '… It's all right to say that [your husband] did bad things, but you knew that he didn't love you. You know (I hope) that I did. And I did, and do.'
The passionate correspondence, using language reminiscent of the movie Brief Encounter, reveals the pair fell deeply in love and formed a strong emotional bond.
Although the letters do not disclose a sexual relationship, the affair lasted more than a year and involved the married woman spending at least three nights at the bishop's detached property in Pease Pottage, West Sussex.
The Mail on Sunday has also seen a love letter from the bishop to a second woman, whose name we are not publishing for legal reasons.
The bishop insisted that the affair with the mother of two was not the reason for his resignation. He said he had quit over a different relationship.
Confronted at his home last night, he said: 'This has nothing to do with your enquiries. It is totally unrelated. This relates to a relationship of six years ago. So be careful what you write. This had nothing to do with your earlier questions.'
Approached by this newspaper in June, the bishop denied any sexual relationship with the married woman but admitted she had stayed at his house twice, adding: 'She is not the only woman who has stayed here.' 
Bishop Kieran Conry admitted he had been 'unfaithful to his promises' as a priest
The denied any sexual relationship with the married woman but admitted she had stayed at his house twice
Bishop of Arundel admitted that the married 43-year-old had stayed over at his house for at least two nights
The 43-year-old woman was also spotted shopping with him on a Saturday afternoon in Brighton in June and the pair exchanged hundreds of text messages, according to the woman's husband.
Bishop Conry admitted he had been seen in public with the mother of two. He said they had been to the British Museum, a Matisse exhibition and the ballet together. 
The woman's estranged husband, who employed a private detective to track her movements, accused the bishop of 'appalling behaviour', and he is preparing to launch a legal action against the Church.
Bishop Conry, seen as a progressive who has been critical of the Vatican's hard-line pronouncements, is close to the head of the Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols.
Last night, the bishop, who is sworn to celibacy, said in a statement to be read in churches: '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 to the individuals hurt by my actions and then to all of those inside and outside the diocese. 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 Nichols said: 'This is a sad and painful moment. All involved in this situation are much in my prayers today.'
Bishop Conry and the married woman, whom we are not naming for legal reasons, are understood to have become close after she and her husband joined the bishop in church activities last summer. It is believed their relationship began to flourish only after her marriage hit a crisis last year.
Parishioners say she moved out of the marital home at the turn of the year and has subsequently moved into a rented house in West Sussex. Since then she has been a regular visitor to the bishop's residence. Her husband told The Mail on Sunday: 'His behaviour has been appalling. He is someone capable of creating that emotion and distress without taking any interest in the effect on those going through this.
'It smacks of arrogance, and arrogance to the extent that he is prepared to have a married woman sleeping in his house, a woman with two children, and yet he is blind to the emotional effect of this. For me it has been debilitating to the extent that I have felt ill.
'There has been the gradual realisation that I am going to have to deal with this in a mature and sensible way and this has helped me. You have to fight for your children and make sure their future is not in the hands of someone like this.'
The man filed for divorce earlier this month. He added: 'The bishop is supposed to set the best example for a lot of people. To think that this is a person who people turn to for marriage advice is unbelievable. It makes him a hypocrite.'
Clare Kirby, the lawyer for the estranged husband, said last night: 'My client is considering pursuing a possible High Court action against the Catholic Church because they've known for years that the Bishop has been having affairs and if they'd taken action he almost certainly would not have lost his marriage and his children would not be having to be brought up in a broken family.'

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


  1. Cardinal Nichols and Cardinal Murphy O Connor in big trouble if it is true that they knew about his womanising and still promoted him. Damian Thompson from The Spectator is on to this, and much more besides. How many of the bishops have lady friends who are passed off as "nun housekeepers?

  2. In my experience, when a bishop or priest has one "affair" - he has had several and will continue to have them.

    London Priest

  3. How many priests in Down and Connor are sexually active?

    Those of us in the "club" know that many are sexually active.


  4. Dear brother priest,
    You are absolutely right in what you say; I know of many fellow priests in our diocese who are in relationships, both gay & straight. I also know that these situations are in the majority of cases, known to our Bishop, Noel Treanor.
    I hope for his sake he's taking note of the Bishop Conry case. Why ? Because if there is a 'dramatic' end to one of these clandestine relationships and it becomes public , then +Noel T is going to find himself between 'a rock and a hard place'.
    I have already written on this blog about Bishop Noel moving a well known womanising cleric to another parish, where he has already begun yet another relationship.
    Folks, the Clerical 'time-bomb' is ticking loudly in D&C, and will inevitably 'explode' with devastating consequences for many !
    It does not have to be like this, but in order to change, we as clergy need to be honest with ourselves and our people. The time for 'smoke and mirrors' is long gone.

    Priest of Down & Connor.

    1. Bishop Treanor stands guilty of totally ignoring the "antics" of this so-called "Priest". Still all cover-up, cover-up and more cover-up with clergy having to take no accountability for their deceitful actions. Just lift them out of the mess they have created and set them into pastures new. Better for a parish to have no priest than this excuse for one.

  5. Many priests? That is very worrying. It seems to me that those having affairs would be having them anyway - celibacy or not. They would be unfaithful to their wives/partners/boyfriends, etc... It is better to remain faithful to the Lord and pour all your energies into serving Him and His people. Jesus should be our only love. Living a 'double life' is never good and will always end in disaster - spiritual and moral. Celibacy? Maybe it should be optional.... but I still think many of these men would still find it hard to restrain themselves from promiscuous living. Personally, I wish the 'time-bomb' would explode and get it over with; so that we can clear the wreckage and salvage what we can. We would be better with just a few priests than the 'many' who are committing mortal sins with men and women. They are putting their immortal souls in the gravest of danger and risk great injury and scandal to the people - the flock that the Our Lord will require at our hands! I feel sorry for Bishop Noel dealing with these men. Priest - also of D&C.

    1. Sorry mate. Pouring ones heart into work does not work because Mr Bishop will send you up the road fekking your head up further. It does not follow that clerics would be unfaithful to a long term partner because they never had the chance to find out due to "clerical constraints" If anything they may be a bit naïve and have their fingers burnt a little-as I did. However this is part of the growing up process. I can say that I am now a better and more content person than I was before. Sean

    2. Sorry "mate" but pouring their heart into their work would maybe focus the minds of a lot of these men away from their willies!

    3. But......God made willies and gave them to us!

    4. I believe this focusing of work is called sublimation. It may have some success as long as the ceric has some ownership of the work environment. However in church circles only the bishop claims some degree of ownership. Sean

  6. My advice to Bishop Kieran Conry -join the Anglicans, get married -then you can rejoin the Catholic Church and no one will bat an eyelid. John South Belfast

    1. How very true John. Monsignor Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Ordinariate here in England and Wales is a married man with children (he baptised his grandchild recently) and yet is a Roman Catholic Bishop by special dispensation of Benedict XVI, wearing full fig and carrying a crosier. Absurb but true

    2. You're wrong.

      "Those who have been previously ordained in the Catholic Church and subsequently have become Anglicans, may not exercise sacred ministry in the Ordinariate."

      Complementary Norms (6.2) for Anglicanorum coetibus (2009)

    3. He would have to be a non commissioned officer then Sean

  7. A most unchristian blog. How many people sin, seek forgiveness and move on. I am from a different Christian tradition, I do not want to know how many ministers in my Church are unfaithful to their marriage vows. I know of many who have been unfaithful, they seek forgiveness and move on. The Christian response is to support and pray. I do not and would not suggest that marriage is incompatible with a busy minister!

  8. Dear brother priest,

    I also wish the clerical 'time bomb' would go off, because until it does, there can be no renewal. Bishop Treanor, I will concede is in a very unenviable position vis a vis the clergy who are in relationships, because he is very short of personnel, and may be tempted to turn 'a blind eye' to what is going on in his own diocese.
    Ignoring the situation is clearly however not without it's own dangers.
    The issue of clerical celibacy is one that needs urgently to be looked at openly and honestly by the church, otherwise we risk huge damage to the church for the sake not of a dogma, but rather a 'disciplinary' law of the church.
    Would Jesus approve of the mentality of 'status quo preservation' at any cost ? I personally think not .

    Priest of Down & Connor.

  9. Oh Bishop Buckley, you are too funny. You don't think that adultery is a sin? Yes, well I suppose you wouldn't.

    1. Jesus said that adultery was a sin and I believe that we must hold to that in the context of objective morality.

      I do not think I am able to say: "Kieran Conry has sinned".

      I believe that only Kieran Conry and God can say that.


  10. The Catholic Church is corrupt to the core and should be banned.

    1. The only thing that should be banned is Buckley and his band of merry men.

      Time for zero tolerance on these people in Catholic circles.

    2. There are those with your sentiments who make a living from the Catholic Church. Time to work on ETHOS.

  11. As for Down and Connor and the comments from the two D&C priests above:

    Yes - there are quite a number of D&C priests breaking their celibacy problems with women and men - at this stage I think more with men.

    You know who they are, I know who they are, Bishop Treanor knows who they are.

    If he were to sack them all D&C might be down 30 + priests.

    The whole thing is a mess - internationally, in the UK, in Ireland.

    It needs universal change.


    1. Name and Shame them Pat. For God's sake if no one elses.

    2. I have considerable sympathy for RC priests trapped in the clerical requirement of celibacy. They face an uncertain financial, and possibly homeless future should they opt out or be forced out of their priestly role.Whatever the origin of mandatory celibacy for priests in the RC church, it creates great emotional and physical difficulties for many individuals obliged by it.

      Many young men have entered seminaries with very limited sexual experience or knowledge, and before gaining sexual maturity. Leaving can take great courage, and I suspect developing sexual awareness or experiences are probably a major catalyst.

      Among those eventually ordained a significant number may have personal doubts concerning celibacy, but earnestly take their vows and aspire to observe them. Subsequently some of these may have lapses but regard them as personal failures, or sins, and continue to strive for observance of their vows.
      Some RC priests will default on celibacy, both openly and covertly, and continue in ministry. I suspect there to be a significant causal factor linking a perfectly normal , but especially a high sex drive (instinctive and natural, and/or developed experientially) to the default rate on celibacy and subsequent dropout rate of priests from ministry.

      This brings me to the physical reality of sex. I believe it to be a fundamental and central determining drive for the vast majority of males. Males produce varying amounts of spermatoza and semen, and build up demands release. Sexual release varies with orientation, individual preferences and circumstantial opportunity. Release of sexual tension is a completely natural human characteristic some describe as an appetite which can be influenced both by personal volition and external stimuli. [It is regrettable that some in the 'majority release sector' of orthodox hetrosexual relationships view other forms of relationships as unnatural or 'wrong'.]

      Clerical celibacy may be observed more easily by those with low sex drive and also those a greater capacity to remain resolute and determined. Sexuality has a great variation of experiences influenced both by personal characteristics and happenchance of relationships.

      I believe enforced celibacy on priests by the RC church is an unnatural imposition not demanded by Christ of his apostles or disciples in the gospels. It appears to have somehow been developed in the Latin RC church, and in Ireland has been elevated to a quasi saintly characteristic of the priesthood, ostensibly in order that priests could minister without the distractions of a family.

      While there are many celibate pastors dutifully observing their vows, I believe that enforced celibacy is disastrous to the wellbeing of many clerics and the RC church. The evidence of much personal emotional turmoil among priests; many clandestine clerical relationships, and abusive sexual relationships with minors and emotionally dependent parishioners features as a constant theme.

      These emerging facts scandalise persons oblivious to the reality and who continue to subscribe to the idealistic notion of the RC priesthood. But it's greater than that.

      The clerical subterfuges being revealed destroy the essence of trust between priests and people, while good caring pastors are inevitably tarred with the same brush as the worst clerical misfits who abuse both power and people.. Moreover it creates a major distraction within the RC church, and a focus for ridicule beyond it.

      As for the RC hierarchy's response to the continuing revelations; other than to say that I believe it has served to further undermine the credibility of the church, I think their response is a subject for further comment from those better informed than I.
      Finally I recognise I've made no comment concerning female religious and concerns they may have. The current evolution of female ministry within the Anglican and other western christian traditions is an interesting development. Perhaps our female readers might like to comment?


  12. Yes Pat, it is a mess and Bishop Conry is a casualty of the system, which precludes healthy relationships. His 'infidelity' is only the tip of the iceberg, and it will be ever thus, until the Church faces certain realities. Obligatory celibacy is the "millstone around the neck" of our church at this time.

    Priest of Down & Connor.


  13. A leading bishop who has resigned in shame over an affair said last night that he was ‘relieved’ the secret was out.
    Kieran Conry, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, confessed on Saturday to being an ‘unfaithful’ priest.
    He also stands accused of a second affair with a married parishioner 20 years his junior, who spent at least three nights at his home.
    Last night, Catholic Church leaders were accused of a cover-up, with a lawyer saying they have ‘known for years that the bishop has been having affairs’.
    The lawyer is representing the husband of a 43-year-old parishioner to whom the bishop had become close, and claimed he was considering a possible High Court action against church chiefs.
    Scroll down for video

    No secret: Bishop Kieran Conry with his female friend, whose face has been obscured for legal reasons
    Bishop Conry, 63, said he felt ‘liberated’ knowing he no longer has to bear the burden of his guilt alone.
    ‘It has been difficult keeping the secret,’ he told the Mail. ‘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 sermons]. 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 – a leading religious figure close to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the head of the Church in England and Wales – became a bishop in 2001.
    He is sworn to celibacy and has for years preached about the Church’s ‘moral authority’ and the importance of the sanctity of family life.
    On Saturday, however, he resigned, admitting he had been ‘unfaithful to his promises’ in ‘a relationship of six years ago’.
    He has also been seen in public more recently with a married mother of two, who was one of his parishioners. In a handwritten love letter dated earlier this month, he wrote to the 43-year-old woman: ‘It’s all right to say that [your husband] did bad things, but you knew that he didn’t love you.
    ‘You know (I hope) that I did. And I did, and do.’ The letter was signed: ‘your K xxxxxx.’
    They are said to have been close for more than a year and reportedly exchanged hundreds of text messages. The married parishioner was seen spending at least three nights at the bishop’s home and they visited the British Museum, a Matisse exhibition and the ballet together.
    They were also photographed walking together one Saturday carrying groceries. Bishop Conry and the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, allegedly became close after the woman and her husband started to take part in church activities last summer.

    Transubstantiation: Bishop Conry gives mass. He confessed his misbehaviour in a statement yesterday
    Bishop of Arundel says he found his faith in his family

    The bishop denied that they had a sexual relationship, although he admitted she had stayed at his house in Pease Pottage, West Sussex. In a statement read out at Masses yesterday, he said: ‘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.’
    Yesterday, he denied to the Mail that Church leaders had known about his affair.
    However, the mother of two’s furious husband has claimed they did know but took no action. The husband’s lawyer Clare Kirby said: ‘My client is considering pursuing a possible High Court action against the Catholic Church because they have known for years the bishop has been having affairs. If they had taken action, he almost certainly would not have lost his marriage.’
    Last night, a spokesman for the Catholic Church refused to comment