Marriage-split bishop resigns

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The Independent Online

A bishop who sparked a dispute among colleagues in the clergy after separating from his wife has resigned, it was confirmed today.

The Right Reverend Carl Cooper, the Bishop of St Davids in West Wales, split from his wife Joy in February after announcing they were experiencing "difficulties".

The couple, who have been married for 25 years and have three grown-up children, both stressed at the time that no-one else was involved on either side.

Despite the amicable separation, within weeks senior clergymen launched a petition calling for the setting up of a tribunal to look into his conduct.

It took the form of a letter sent out by two priests to every other priest in the St David's diocese asking them to back calls for a tribunal.

The letter argued that a tribunal would be an opportunity to see whether there was just cause for a perception of conduct giving rise to scandal or offence.

The writers were at pains to stress that they were making no assumption that there was anything to discover.

In concluded with an appeal for a united prayer for the bishop and everyone involved.

At the time, Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan said he had received no such letter signed by clerics calling for an investigation.

But a short time later it was announced that the bishop at the centre of the controversy had agreed to take a temporary leave of absence.

Now the Church in Wales has announced that the temporary leave of absence has become permanent.

"The Bishop of St Davids, the Rt Reverend Carl Cooper, has resigned," a Church in Wales spokesman said. "He has apologised for any of his actions that have caused offence and made it impossible for him to continue his ministry as Bishop of St Davids.

"The Archbishop and the Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales have accepted the resignation as being in the best interests of the diocese and the Church in Wales at this time."

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