ATLANTA, AUG. 5 -- Another priest in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta has confessed to having an affair with a woman who was romantically involved with former archbishop Eugene A. Marino, the church said today.
Bishop James P. Lyke, apostolic administrator of the archdiocese, said the Rev. Michael Woods had admitted an affair with Vicki R. Long, the 27-year-old former lay minister and singer who was involved in a two-year "intimate" relationship with Marino and who has alleged that a priest is the father of her daughter born out of wedlock -- although blood tests showed the accused priest could not have been the father.
Marino, the first black archbishop in the 200-year history of the U.S. Catholic hierarchy and a former auxiliary bishop of Washington, last month announced his resignation, citing severe stress. Last week, however, the Atlanta diocese admitted the love affair after it was exposed in local news media reports.
In a statement read to worshipers today at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic church in suburban Sandy Springs, Woods said: "I will not be evasive. I will be very direct with you. I will tell you I was intimately involved with the lady mentioned in the Archbishop Marino reports."
Woods denied being the father of Long's 3-year-old daughter and offered to take a blood test to prove it. He also offered his resignation as pastor and asked his congregation for forgiveness.
Lyke, who had been auxiliary bishop of Cleveland before being named spiritual leader in Atlanta on July 10, said Woods had initially claimed the relationship with Long was "pastoral" but he admitted Saturday it had been illicit.
Lyke also said he did not know if there would be new revelations in the Atlanta church scandal.
"I honestly don't know. Obviously I hope not. . . . Another one or two wouldn't surprise me," he said.
Long has refused comment. Officials at her parish have said she would not be permitted to function as a special minister during Masses.