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The Bishop of Arundel and Brighton has resigned because he says he has brought 'shame' on the church.
The Rt Rev Kieran Conry issued a statement which said he had "been unfaithful to his promises as a Catholic priest''.
The statement, which was being read in all churches in the diocese, which covers Sussex and Surrey, 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 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.''
Mr Conry was consecrated as fourth bishop of Arundel and Brighton at Arundel Cathedral in June 2001.
Following Mr Conry's announcement, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of the Bishops' Conference, 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."