THE resignation of the RC Archbishop of St Andrews &
Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, was "up to his own conscience",
the Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac
Murphy-O'Connor, said today. He was not forced, or even asked, to
At a packed press conference at the offices of the Catholic
Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, called before the
allegations against Cardinal O'Brien came to light, the
Archbishop faced multiple questions about the situation in
Scotland. He had been due to speak about the forthcoming Conclave
and his reflections on Pope Benedict XVI's legacy.
Asked about his reaction to Cardinal O'Brien's resignation, he
said: "I think it has been very sad and I think that what has
happened both for him and the church in Scotland has been very
damaging, but Cardinal O'Brien is a very honest man . . . he
himself has contested them [the allegations]."
A senior bishop will be appointed an as apostolic administrator
for the diocese and "part of his job will be to examine the
Asked whether it was the wise of the Cardinal to resign if he
had done nothing wrong, the Archbishop said: "It is up to his own
conscience that he stepped down. He was not asked to. He thought
that it would be a distraction."
The Archbishop was also asked whether other Cardinals with "a
shadow over their names" should consider following Cardinal
O'Brien's example in abstaining from attending the forthcoming
Conclave. He replied: "That is up to their own conscience".
The Archbishop acknowledged that the Church had been dogged by
"troubles and scandals that have to be addressed". He said: "There
is no doubt that there has to be reform, that these issues have to
be addressed at the highest level. It is not just the job of the
Pope but the job of the bishops. The new Pope will go with a very
clear mandate." Without this reform, he said, "there is no doubt
that not just the image of the Church but the effectiveness of the
Church in witnessing to the Good News will be affected."