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Cardinal O’Brien admits sexual conduct has ‘fallen below’ expectations

04 March 2013


Standing in: Archbishop Phillip Tartaglia presides at mass at St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh, on Sunday.

Standing in: Archbishop Phillip Tartaglia presides at mass at St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh, on Sunday.

CARDINAL Keith O'Brien admitted on Sunday that his "sexual conduct" had "fallen below the standards expected of me".

Cardinal O'Brien, the former Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh, stood down last Monday after allegations of "inappropriate" acts were published in The Observer ( News, 1 March).

In a statement published by the Scottish Catholic Media Office on Sunday, Cardinal O'Brien said: "In recent days certain allegations which have been made against me have become public. 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 apologise and ask forgiveness. To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologise. 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 BBC reported on Monday the Vatican would carry out a sexual misconduct inquiry. It was "not likely to begin until after a new Pope is chosen", it said.

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed the Archbishop of Glasgow, the Most Revd Philip Tartaglia, Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, it was announced last Wednesday. 

On Sunday, The Observer published an interview with a former priest who, along with three serving priests, reported allegations about Cardinal O'Brien's behaviour to the Vatican. The former priest said: "For me, this is about integrity. I thought it was best to let the men and women who put their hard-earned cash in the plate every Sunday know what has been happening. If you pay into something you have a right, but also a duty, to know what you are paying for."

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