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Scottish cardinal resigns after misconduct charges

February 25, 2013

Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Edinburgh, Scotland, has resigned, shortly after being accused of homosexual misconduct.

In a statement released on February 25, Cardinal O’Brien said that he was resigning because of age, although he has not yet reached the normative retirement age of 75. He said that he had already submitted his resignation because his 75th birthday will occur in March, and Pope Benedict has agreed to accept that resignation immediately.

The Scottish cardinal has disputed the charges of inappropriate behavior that were raised by three priests and one former priest, but has not directly denied them. In announcing his resignation he did not allude to the charges of misconduct. He did make a general statement: “For any failures, I apologise to all whom I have offended.”

Cardinal O’Brien said that he would not participate in the coming papal conclave, although he would remain an eligible cardinal-elector. He said: “I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me--but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor.”

The withdrawal of Cardinal O’Brien means that there will be no British cardinal at the papal conclave. The number of cardinal-electors participating in the conclave has now been reduced to 115.


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  • Posted by: jackist7902 - Feb. 25, 2013 11:27 AM ET USA

    Didn't Cardinal O'Brien call for married priests last Friday? Over the weekend, he is accused of sexual misconduct, and he resign on Monday. The timing strikes me as interesting.

  • Posted by: michaelwilmes - Feb. 25, 2013 11:26 AM ET USA

    Here is where I really miss Diogenes. I can guarantee that after this latest news, Di would have an observation (in less than 250 words), entitled something like "A Tale of Two Cardinals", illustrating contrasting lessons in humility and service (or lack there-of) by two "Princes of the Church". Oh to have our American Cardinal take a cue from O'Brien!