Associated Press

September 19, 1996

LONDON (AP) -- A Roman Catholic bishop in Scotland who abruptly resigned after disappearing with a woman parishioner has a 15-year-old son by another woman, church officials said Thursday.

They confirmed Joanna Whibley's claim that the Most Rev. Roderick Wright, who was the bishop of Argyll and the Isles, was the father of her son, Kevin.

Miss Whibley said she had expected Wright, 56, to live with her and her son after his resignation, and she was unaware that Wright was apparently involved with another woman.

Scottish Catholic officials said in a statement.

Pope John Paul II, who is traveling in France, has accepted the resignation, the Vatican said Thursday.

Wright returned home Monday after dropping from sight for a week, offered his resignation and apologized to his family, fellow clerics and the family of Kathleen Macphee, whom he had been counseling following her divorce.

The Rev. Tom Connolly, spokesman for the Catholic church in Scotland, said the revelation would cause

Miss Whibley told the BBC that Wright had instructed her in the Catholic faith, and that a romantic relationship developed after she had moved from Scotland to England.

Miss Whibley said in a BBC television and radio interview.

Kevin Whibley said he has seen his father for about a total of two months during his life.

Miss Whibley said the bishop

She said she went public partly to help other women involved with priests.

Cardinal Basil Hume, leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales, suggested Tuesday that the celibacy rule for priests could be changed.

he said in an BBC radio interview Tuesday.

In France on Thursday, the pope praised the "free choice of celibacy" that priests make.

September 22, 1996

LONDON (AP) -- The Roman Catholic bishop who resigned this week over his affair with a woman parishioner is sharing a home with her and hopes the couple can marry, a Sunday tabloid reported.

In a paid interview with The News of the World, former Bishop of the Scottish diocese of Argyll and the Isles Roderick Wright, 56, also acknowledged his 15-year-old son from a former relationship and apologized for hurting the boy.

Wright's decision to sell his story to one of Britain's more sensationalist newspapers has further shaken Britain's Roman Catholic Church and stoked a growing debate about the church's rule that priests must be celibate.

The News of the World said it tracked Wright and Kathleen Macphee, 41, to as rented cottage in northwest England, where they agreed to talk in return for an undisclosed five-figure sum.

Under the banner Page 1 headline, Runaway Bishop Confesses All, it quoted Wright as saying:

He gave no indication he will contact Kevin, his son by Joanna Whibley, 48, reported The News of the World, which said the bishop has requested that money for the interview go to Mrs. Macphee's three children.

Church leaders criticized Wright for telling his story for money. He cited physical and spiritual pressures when he resigned Monday after going missing for 10 days.

In a joint statement Saturday, Cardinal Thomas Winning, head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, and the Archbishop of St. Andrew's and Edinburgh, Keith O'Brien, said,

Kevin Whibley, who has not seen his father for some years, told BBC TV he was angry about the newspaper deal.

In its five-page expose, accompanied by a picture of Wright embracing Mrs. Macphee, The News of the World said the couple are sharing a cottage in the town of Kendal in the Lake District, but are not sleeping together.

Wright, who first met Mrs. Macphee in 1976, says they became close in 1992, as she fought cervical cancer. She had divorced her builder husband a year before.

As the couple realized they were falling in love, Wright reportedly said,

the newspaper quoted Mrs. Macphee as saying.

Stuart Kuttner, the tabloid's managing editor, said it

which will go to Mrs. Macphee's children, at the couple's request.