Bishop of Visby defrocked for adultery

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Thomas Petersson

The Bishop of Visby has been deposed from the ordained ministry, the Church of Sweden announced today, for having engaged in a long-term adulterous affair with an employee of his diocese. The Church of Sweden press office released a statement on 1 February 2022 saying the Rt. Rev. Thomas Petersson had been deprived of clerical office with immediate effect by the church’s disciplinary committee for bishops. Their decision cannot be appealed.

The press statement said seven priests of the diocese had filed a complaint against Bishop Petersson charging him with conduct unbecoming a clergyman and for bringing the office of bishop in disrepute through having an on-going adulterous relationship with an employee. When confronted by the disciplinary committee Petersson admitted the truth of the complaint. After consulting with Sweden’s 12 other bishops, the committee ordered he be deprived of office for having violated the vows he took at his June 2018 consecration and for having brought the church into disrepute.

“An event like this is obviously painful for everyone involved and for the whole church,” Archbishop Antje Jackelen told the press conference at the diocesan office in Visby. 

The chairman of the disciplinary committee Robert Schött, told the press conference the ruling was “unique and historic”, as it was the first time a bishop had been defrocked since the Church of Sweden was disestablished in 2000.