In September 2013, concerns were raised in the United Kingdom about meetings attended by Bishop Kieran Conry, ordinary of the English see of Arundel and Brighton, with putatively Catholic homosexual advocacy groups Quest and Queering the Church. Bishop Conry’s defensive response to those concerns included the following assertion:
I am also troubled that some people seem to regard sexual morality as a priority and ignore the more basic demands of the gospel. The gospel has little to say about sexual behaviour and a lot more to say about justice and charity. Yet these words appear very rarely in the letters of complaint that I receive.
Notwithstanding the fact that Scripture and Tradition have a good deal to say about the proper use of human sexuality, Bishop Conry’s response seemed to sidestep his responsibility to the Magisterium of the Church and the safeguarding of his flock. His tone will be all too familiar to Catholics in the United States who have suffered with their “socially relevant” Church as She and Her children have been damaged by faithless shepherds on these shores over the past several generations.
Today it was reported in Britain’s leading Catholic newspaper that Bishop Conry has stepped down from his office. As reported by the Catholic Herald, the Bishop has issued a letter in which he states the following:
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.
As so often in the past generation in the English-speaking world, one is left uninformed about what “shame” His Excellency believes he has “brought on the diocese and the Church” that would be sufficiently grave to warrant abandoning his see.
In the meantime, let us pray for Bishop Conry, and for his flock and for all the faithful in Britain and around the globe. It would be seemly as well to pray for our own conversion of heart — and, today being Saturday, to go to Confession.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!