A Roman Catholic bishop has called on the Sussex faithful to observe Friday fasting as a way to restore their religious identity.

The Right Rev Kieran Conry, of Arundel and Brighton, said the traditional Friday Fast Day was a "source of pride" and something that marked Catholics out as different.

In his most recent pastoral letter, extracts of which are published in the weekly Catholic periodical The Tablet, he wrote that the practice "was one of the most obvious signs of Catholic identity, apart from going to mass."

He said: "It determined the diet in places like prison and hospital, and was something Catholics were instinctively conscious of: we knew that we couldn't have meat like everybody else that day and it was a source of a sort of pride – it marked us out as different."

He added: “Today we are perhaps less willing to be marked out, in case we are marked out as not just different, but ‘odd’."