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Jail for former bishop who exploited young men for 'selfish sexual motive'

A retired bishop has been jailed at the Old Bailey for 32 months for abusing his power to exploit young aspiring priests for his own "selfish sexual motive" over a 15 year period.

Peter Ball, who lives in Langport in Somerset, is a former bishop of Lewes and of Gloucester.

Ex-bishop who admitted sexual assaults to be sentenced

Peter Ball admitted sexually assaulting young men. Credit: PA

A retired Church of England Bishop is due to be sentenced today after admitting sexually assaulting two young men during the 1980s and 1990s.

Peter Ball, who lives in Langport in Somerset, is a former bishop of Lewes and of Gloucester. The 83-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault at the Old Bailey via video link from Taunton. He also admitted misconduct in a public office between 1977 and 1992.

The Church of England has launched a review into how it handled complaints against him.

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Could this woman be the first female bishop?

Religious leaders in the West have welcomed the decision by the Church of England's governing body, the General Synod, to enable women to become bishops.

Our presenter Ian Axton interviews the Very Reverend June Osborne, the Dean of Salisbury Cathedral, who some people are suggesting could become the first female bishop.

South West religious leaders welcome women bishops

Rt Revd Peter Hancock when he was made Bishop of Bath and Wells in June Credit: ITV West Country

The Bishop of Bath & Wells, who was installed at Wells Cathedral in June, has welcomed the vote by the Church of England's governing body, the General Synod, to allow women to become bishops.

Bishops Peter Hancock and Peter Maurice, the Bishop of Taunton, say they are delighted at the news, especially as the last vote caused so much damage to what people thought of the church. The legislation will now go before Parliament and could become law in November.

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Bishop of Tewkesbury to retire next year

The Rt Revd John Went will be retiring as Bishop of Tewkesbury in 2013 Credit: Diocese of Gloucester

The Bishop Suffragen of Tewkesbury, the Rt Revd John Went has announced that he will retire at the beginning of March.

He and his wife Rosemary have served under two Bishops of Gloucester. Bishop John says:

“As Rosemary and I approach 17 years in the Diocese of Gloucester we look back with great joy on our time in this wonderful part of the world. We shall both miss the busy and richly varied life of a bishop, but after 17 years look forward to a fresh challenge and fresh opportunities.”

Bishop John will return to parish ministry in Buckinghamshire.

A process now begins to explore whether there should be a new Bishop Suffragan of Tewkesbury.

  1. Bob Constantine

West Country clergy dismayed at rejection of women bishops

West Country clergy have reacted with dismay to the decision by the governing body of the Church of England not to allow women bishops. One bishop told us he was depressed by the outcome, which he said made the church look foolish.

Although a majority of delegates voted for the change, it didn't receive a big enough majoirty among congregation members. Today a West Country MP raised the issue in Parliament.

  1. Bob Constantine

West Country clergy dismayed at rejection of women bishops

West Country clergy have reacted with dismay to the decision by the governing body of the Church of England not to allow women bishops. One bishop told us he was depressed by the outcome, which he said made the church look foolish.

Although a majority of delegates voted for the change, it didn't receive a big enough majoirty among congregation members. Today a West Country MP raised the issue in Parliament.

Plymouth vicar: No vote 'very good news' for CofE

Rev Prebendary Rod Thomas, the chairman of the conservative evangelical grouping Reform - which recommended a no vote - concluded the General Synod's decision on women bishops is "very good news for the Church of England".

The Plymouth vicar said, "We have avoided what could have been a disastrous mistake for our unity and witness".

The defeat came in spite of a series of appeals from senior Bishops in the Church for the Synod to back final approval for the legislation.

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