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O’Brien confesses to sex misconduct with men

08 March 2013


CARDINAL Keith O'Brien (right) admitted on Sunday that his "sexual conduct" had "fallen below the standards expected". The Cardinal, the former Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh, stood down on Monday of last week, after allegations of "inappropriate" acts were published in The Observer (News, Comment, Press, 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 that the Vatican would carry out a sexual-misconduct inquiry. It was "not likely to begin until after a new Pope is chosen".

Pope Benedict appointed the Archbishop of Glasgow, the Most Revd Philip Tartaglia, as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh, it was announced last week. He will run the diocese until a new Archbishop is appointed.

In a sermon on Monday, Archbishop Tartaglia said that there was "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". He said that the "sad time" for the Church would pass, and that it would "draw what conclusions and lessons" it could.

On Sunday, The Observer published an interview with a former priest who, with three serving priests, reported allegations about Cardinal O'Brien's behaviour to the Vatican. The former priest said: "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."

Paul Vallely

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