Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the Archbishop Emeritus of St Andrews and Edinburgh, has died at the age of 80.
The County Antrim native was ordained archbishop in 1985 and made a cardinal in 2003, until his resignation after allegations of inappropriate behaviour shortly before the 2013 conclave which elected Pope Francis.
In a statement at the time, Cardinal O’Brien stated: “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.”
Following his retreat from public life, he retired to the north of England. In 2015 it was announced by the Holy See that Pope Francis had “accepted the resignation of Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien from the rights and duties of a cardinal”, excluding him from participating in future papal elections and acting as a papal adviser, among the other roles of a cardinal.
In a press release from the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, the cardinal’s successor Archbishop Leo Cushley stated: “In life, Cardinal O’Brien may have divided opinion – in death, however, I think all can be united in praying for the repose of his soul, for comfort for his grieving family and that support and solace be given to those whom he offended, hurt and let down. May he rest in peace.”
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