Charles Hodson
Charles Hodson began affair around six months after being ordained (YouTube)

A top TV business journalist who joined the Church of England after a "higher calling" has announced his resignation after details of his affair with a parishioner were made public.

Charles Hodson, regarded as one of the most authoritative voices in international broadcasting, still presents CNN's World Business Today, attracting a worldwide audience of 200 million.

Hodson, 58, began having affair with choir member Jody Morgan, 38, just seven months after being ordained into the church as a nonstipendiary deacon.

Two months after their adulterous tryst began, the pair told Hodson's wife and the vicar of St Andrew's Taunton. He has now left his wife and is living with Morgan.

In a statement today Mr Hodson said: "The events in question took place more than half a year ago. In February 2013 I started an adulterous relationship with a woman, and two months later declared the relationship to my wife, my vicar and my diocese, requesting that I should not be ordained priest.

"I have not acted as a minister or worn my clerical collar since 21 April. I was ordained deacon in July 2012 but was still in training for the priesthood; I was not a priest, let alone a vicar.

"This difficult matter was comprehensively addressed some time ago with my diocese and also with those personally affected."

A spokesman for the Diocese of Bath & Wells said: "Mr Hodson resigned his post as Assistant Curate at St Andrews, Taunton after declaring he had engaged in an adulterous relationship with a woman.

"He agreed to a penalty by consent under the provisions of the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 prohibiting him, for a period of five years from 12 August 2013, from exercising any of the functions of his Orders as a Deacon."

Love thy neighbour

Hodson's wife, Heike Bernhardt, 51, told The Times the affair was a "big surprise", adding: "It was a woman he met at his parish after he was ordained. He is not living with me anymore."

Before the affair, the couple had run a bed and breakfast from a 16th Century farmhouse just outside of Taunton.

Eton-educated Hodson began his broadcasting career at the BBC after graduating from Oxford University. He worked at Channel 4 News before taking up a role at CNN in 1995.

However, he decided to become a priest in July last year and announced his new found faith on CNN's belief blog: "My eyes probably bulged like footballs. A priest? Me, of all people? How could anyone suggest such a thing?

"That lasted for about two seconds. And then came a realisation, deep, clear and inescapable, that everything that had happened in my life so far had been preparation for this moment. As Jesus says to his disciples shortly before his crucifixion, 'You did not choose me but I chose you.' (John 15:16)."

Commenting on the affair, one parishioner told the Telegraph: "I know that the Christian faith is to love your neighbour, but really there is a limit. They don't have to take it so literally."