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Helpline for mistresses of priests.

A TELEPHONE helpline for women who have had affairs with Catholic priests is to be launched in Scotland.

The Sonflowers group is to set up the hotline after its headquarters south of the Border was flooded with calls from Scots women.

Adrianna Alsworth, who set up Sonflowers, says the Catholic Church is still refusing to admit to the scale of the problem, despite several high-profile cases.

She said: "I know of many older priests who have been in relationships which are an open secret in their parishes.

"If it becomes public, it's the women, the Church's silent mistresses, who get the blame."

In 1996, Bishop Roddy Wright, then Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, eloped with a married parishioner after fathering a child with a second woman. He later resigned his position.

In the past five years, at least five of 850 priests working in Scotland have left to pursue relationships.

But Peter Kearney, media director at the Catholic Church in Scotland, said there was no evidence the service was needed. He said: "It is unfair to claim this is a widespread problem."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUS
Date:Jan 20, 2003
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