“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…. 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.”
He then went on to tell 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 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.”
Why no mention of Christ? After all, a Bishop is the earthly representative of Christ for his particular diocese. Surely first and foremost, any public apology should have been made to Christ, begging His forgiveness?
That is assuming of course that he feels that this is necessary. Kieran Conry has been critical of going to confession regularly, saying that, in his experience, people would always come back saying the same things week after week, suggesting that no interior conversion or repentance was actually taking place. In a May 2009 pastoral letter, he urged a more adult approach to the sacrament of reconciliation:
“Go to the priest and talk about these things, the way in which your relationship with God might have grown stale. Because sin is ultimately something that damages our relationship with God. It is not just breaking the rules.”
But what exactly was Kieran Conry’s relationship with Christ?
All Catholic priests are required to pray the Liturgy of the Hours every day. Canon 904 tells us that daily celebration of the Mass is earnestly recommended (but not required) for priests. Daily examination of conscience, frequent confession and silent meditation are also highly recommended.
But here’s the problem…
How could it have been possible for Kieran Conry to do the above on a daily basis while he was carrying on with his various girlfriends?
If he made a one off ‘mistake’ with a woman, but decided never to see her again, felt remorse and went to confession, then one could understand. Nobody is perfect. But this was not a one off event. It was years of constant deception and lies. Years of repeatedly disgracing himself in the sight of Christ. No wonder he didn’t believe in frequent confession!
Now he has admitted that he knew what he was doing was wrong. And he has apologised to those involved and to the church, but something tells me he was not really sorry. The Daily Mail revealed that they had confronted Conry about his affair with Olivia Hodgkinson 4 months before the story broke a few weeks ago. Yet still he decided to resign only hours before the story went to print, and there was no way out for him. In my opinion he wasn’t truly sorry.
He was sorry he got found out, and he was sorry that he lost his job, and i’m sure he was sorry that the affair had to end. But if he was a man of honour, he would have done the right thing and resigned years ago and married (one of) the women he was carrying on with.
To continue in his role as Priest and Bishop, he must have been either going to confession constantly to make sure his relationship with Christ was repaired and whole once more, or he wasn’t. If he wasn’t, then there are only three reasons why:
1. He was not aware that what he was doing was wrong.
2. He was not concerned that he was committing a mortal sin.
3. He doesn’t believe in God.
How could it be possible for this man to turn to face God in prayer 7 times a day without falling on his knees and begging for mercy? How could it be possible for him to hold up Christ in the Eucharist knowing where his hands had been the night before? Not just once, but over and over again for years and years. The arrogance is astounding.
The only conclusion I can come to is that Kieran Conry was an Atheist. He had no relationship with Christ. And if by any scrap of possibility he did, it was on his own terms. This man was a Bishop – terrifying isn’t it?