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Scottish cardinal admits sexual misconduct

March 04, 2013

A week after Pope Benedict accepted his resignation, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who had served as Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh since 1985, admitted that “my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.”

“In recent days certain allegations which have been made against me have become public,” he said in a statement. “Initially, their anonymous and non-specific nature led me to contest them. However, I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.”

“To those I have offended, I apologize and ask forgiveness,” he added. “To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologize. I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland.”

The Scottish Catholic Media Office reiterated that “Cardinal O'Brien will not attend the Conclave to elect the new Pope” and stated that “Cardinal O'Brien is now out of the country.”

Speaking at a Mass on March 4 in Glasgow's cathedral, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia admitted that "our credibility and moral authority have been undermined" by the scandal surrounding Cardinal O'Brien. The archbishop said:

The most stinging charge which has been leveled against us in this matter is hypocrisy, and for obvious reasons. I think there is little doubt that the credibility and moral authority of the Catholic Church in Scotland has been dealt a serious blow, and we will need to come to terms with that.

Archbishop Tartaglia-- who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as apostolic administrator of the Edinburgh archdiocese, to serve until a new archbishop is appointed there-- said that the only proper response by Church leaders to the scandal is "to renew our faithfulness to Jesus Christ and go about our business humbly."


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  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Mar. 04, 2013 1:06 PM ET USA

    At least Cardinal O'Brien has the decency not to sit in conclave for the next Pope, which is more than I can say about another Cardinal with Irish surname.

  • Posted by: Bveritas2322 - Mar. 04, 2013 11:44 AM ET USA

    Hmmm, below standards. I wonder if he means anything related to sin. Well, given today's eclesial culture where the only sin is to believe in the concept of sin, we can't expect an actual admission of sin.