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Bishop quits after police caution for indecency

THE BISHOP of Gloucester, the Rt Rev Peter Ball, has resigned after admitting gross indecency with a 19-year-old man apparently interested in joining a monastic order that the bishop had founded.

Bishop Ball was formally cautioned yesterday morning after admitting his guilt and announced his resignation immediately afterwards. No further charges will be brought.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, said the Bishop's resignation was a cause of great sorrow. 'Bishop Peter is a highly gifted and original man who has inspired many people to deepen their faith in Jesus Christ.

'However, given that he has accepted the caution, his resignation is a responsible decision made in the best interests of the diocese of Gloucester and the wider Church.'

Bishop Ball, who has been in seclusion on the Archbishop's orders since the news of police inquiries broke in December, issued a statement saying: 'The last 12 weeks of isolation and anxiety have produced particular strains, causing serious damage to my health. I regret, with great penitence and sorrow, the circumstances which have led to this police caution.'

Bishop Ball has an identical twin brother, Michael, who is Bishop of Truro. The two men founded together a monastic order near Telford, Shropshire, in 1960. Both usually wear a monastic habit in public.