July 17, 2002

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope John Paul II has accepted the resignation of a South African bishop implicated in a gay Web site scandal.

The brief Vatican announcement Wednesday gave no details of the case involving Monsignor Reginald Cawcutt, 63, an auxiliary bishop in Cape Town and the highest-ranking cleric linked to the site.

The site was started by a priest in Maine as a discussion group for gay clergymen. It carried sexually explict material.

The diocese of Portland, Maine, disciplined the priest two years ago, removing him from his parish.

Cawcutt could not be reached for comment immediately.

In an article in South Africa's Cape Argus newspaper in June, he said he was a target of conservative Catholic groups in the United States.

He said he was involved with the site as a result of his ministry to gays and AIDS victims and that he consistently promoted celibacy in the group.

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