A Catholic bishop has announcing his resignation, saying he brought “shame” on his diocese and the church. He admitted to two affairs, one with a married woman.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that the Rt Rev Kieran Conry, who is Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, covering Surrey and Sussex, has issued a statement saying he had "been unfaithful to his promises as a Catholic priest.”

"I am sorry to confess that, going back some years, I have been unfaithful to my promises as a Catholic priest,” said the statement, which was read in all the churches of the diocese over the weekend.

"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 apologize 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."

Conry, who is originally from Coventry, studied for the priesthood at the Venerable English College in Rome and attended the Gregorian University. He was ordained in July 1975 in All Souls Church in Coventry by Archbishop George Patrick Dwyer of Birmingham.

During his lengthy career, Conry served as an educator, an Administrator of St Chad’s Cathedral in 1990, a member as well as vice chairman of the National Conference of Priests in the early 90s, and a director of the Catholic Media Office in London.

In June 2001 he was consecrated as fourth bishop of Arundel and Brighton at Arundel Cathedral.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of the Bishops' Conference, said of Conry’s announcement: "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."