Catholics in Horsham have reacted with disappointment at the news their diocesan bishop had resigned.
On Sunday Bishop Kieran Conry’s statement was read out in all Catholic churches in the Arundel and Brighton Catholic Diocese.
Sue Frank, who goes to St John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Horsham, said: “It is very easy for people to criticise a man in Bishop Kieran Conry’s position. Although we are all shocked and saddened about the news of his resignation, I feel we need to think of him with love and understanding - he is a human being and as such deserves to be loved and respected for his compassion as a priest, and his honesty and humility as a man.”
She added he was a ‘wonderful, generous and kind church leader’.
Bishop Kieran is known in the church for his popularity with young people.
Maria Stack, confirmation catechist at St John’s, said: “The Bishop Kieran I knew and loved was a humble, holy man whose greatest skill was his communication with young people.
“He seemed to understand the difficulties that the youth of today face. He was accessible, understanding, realistic and reassuring in his manner and the diocese are all the poorer for having lost him. I applaud his bravery in making such a public confession and I only wish that there was a way back for him.”
Rory Slatter, 16, a pupil at the College of Richard Collyer, said: “Bish K is really popular with the youth of the diocese. He’s friendly, easy to talk to and good fun.”