May 26, 2005

The Rt Rev Roderick Wright


The Right Reverend Roderick Wright, the former Roman Catholic Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, who died on Tuesday aged 64, scandalised the Church in 1996 when he ran off with his housekeeper, Kathleen MacPhee, a divorced mother of three children whom he had met at Lourdes; it later emerged that he was also the father of a son by another parishioner.

In September 1996 Wright was reported to have disappeared. He was, in fact, moving secretly from Bishop's House, Oban, to a hired cottage at Kendal, in the Lake District, there to set up home with Mrs MacPhee while he prepared to release a statement announcing his resignation.

When the couple heard, on the radio, of his "disappearance", Wright telephoned the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Keith O'Brien. Wright fixed a meeting with the Archbishop of Glasgow, Cardinal Thomas Winning, to tender his resignation. He maintained later that not only had he come clean about his relationship with Mrs MacPhee, but confessed to Winning a previous relationship with another woman, Joanna Whibley, which had resulted in a son. Winning helped Wright to compose a letter of resignation to Pope John Paul II, and made public a statement by Wright tendering his resignation because of his liaison with Kathleen MacPhee. If Wright had confessed to his relationship with Joanna Whibley, Winning kept silent.

Posted by kshaw at May 26, 2005 11:08 AM