The Episcopal Church's bishop of Montana, defrocked after admitting to an extramarital affair from nearly 20 years ago, resigned from his post in March and accepted a $170,000 settlement package from the diocese he had led since 1986.

The Rt. Rev. Charles I. Jones III had asked Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold if he could undergo a process of "voluntary submission to discipline," after which he could apply to be reinstated. Griswold refused.

The anger surrounding the Jones case is likely to continue among the diocese's 48 parishes. In a blistering pastoral letter to his flock, Jones blamed his ouster in part on liberal parishes in Helena and Missoula that did not agree with his decision not to ordain open homosexuals or bless same-sex unions.

"Although this does not seem to me to be what God is calling me to do, after nine years, [my wife] Ashby and I cannot emotionally continue to stand against the powerful forces seeking my ouster," Jones wrote.

Jones engaged in the affair with a female parishioner while he was serving as rector of a Kentucky church in the early 1980s. Jones admitted to the affair a decade later and agreed to undergo voluntary counseling at the advice of then-Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning.

But after the woman filed charges last August, a court found Jones guilty of "immorality and conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy."

Related Elsewhere

See our earlier coverage of Jones's case:
Episcopal Bishop Resigns After Court Decision, Blames Liberal Critics | But Montana bishop Ci Jones vows to keep fighting after discipline for affair 20 years ago. (Mar. 8, 2001)

Episcopal Bishops Recommend Jones Be Defrocked | Episcopal Bishop of Montana to receive church's most severe punishment for sexual misconduct. (Feb. 22, 2001)

Bishop to Be Punished 19 Years After Affair | Episcopal Church court may decide fate of Montana's Charles Jones next week. (Jan. 25, 2001)

Jones's resignation letter has been republished at The Prayer Book Society of Canada's site and other sites.

The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky, also has several articles, including

Ousted bishop hopes to return as priest | Attorney to seek lesser penalty for sexual misconduct (Mar. 2, 2001)

Bishop is ousted in sex case | Ex-Kentuckian was Episcopal pastor at time (Feb. 16, 2001)

Episcopal bishop to be punished for misconduct | Actions involved parishioner in Kentucky in '80s (Dec. 13, 2000)

Sexual misconduct in Kentucky years ago haunts Episcopal bishop | Church will try ex-Russellville vicar this month (Sept. 3, 2000)

Information about Jones's replacement was available at the Diocese of Montana homepage, but the site seems to be down. Jones' letter is also available at the diocese's site.

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