May 14, 2002

BOSTON (AP) - An editor at the Boston Archdiocese newspaper who stirred controversy in March with an editorial that called for frank discussion of issues such as priest celibacy has left the paper.

Monsignor Peter Conley, who had scaled back his duties at The Pilot since a new editor was appointed last year, said Tuesday that his departure had been planned since September and had nothing to do with his editorial.

``There is no plot behind this,'' he said.

Cardinal Bernard Law, the paper's publisher, later issued a statement saying the editorial had ``created confusion'' and was not questioning church doctrine.

Conley was editor of The Pilot for 10 years before Antonio Enrique was named in September to succeed him. Conley said he agreed at that time to stay on and help with the transition by writing editorials and giving Enrique guidance. In the meantime, Conley began serving in St. Jude's church in Norfolk. He was also appointed a vicar, he said.

Conley said Enrique told him last week he was ready to handle the paper on his own.

``I said, `Gladly,''' Conley said. ``It was an agreement we had since September.''

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