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Pope accepts resignation of Cardinal Keith O’Brien

By on Monday, 25 February 2013

Cardinal O'Brien (Photo: PA)

Cardinal O'Brien (Photo: PA)

Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, a few weeks before he was due to step down because of age.

His resignation comes after allegations by four priests that he behaved “inappropriately” towards them in the 1980s.

The cardinal, who turns 75 next month, will no longer take part in the conclave to elect Benedict XVI’s successor.

In a statement he said: “Approaching the age of 75 and at times in indifferent health, I tendered my resignation as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh to Pope Benedict XVI some months ago. I was happy to know that he accepted my resignation ‘nunc pro tunc’ – (now – but to take effect later) on 13 November 2012. The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today, 25 February 2013, and that he will appoint an apostolic administrator to govern the archdiocese in my place until my successor as archbishop is appointed. In the meantime I will give every assistance to the apostolic administrator and to our new archbishop, once he is appointed, as I prepare to move into retirement.

“I have valued the opportunity of serving the people of Scotland and overseas in various ways since becoming a priest. Looking back over my years of ministry, for any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologise to all whom I have offended.

“I thank Pope Benedict XVI for his kindness and courtesy to me and on my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Scotland, I wish him a long and happy retirement. I also ask God’s blessing on my brother Cardinals who will soon gather in Rome to elect his successor. I will not join them for this conclave in person. I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me – but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his Successor. However, I will pray with them and for them that, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, they will make the correct choice for the future good of the Church.

“May God who has blessed me so often in my ministry continue to bless and help me in the years which remain for me on earth and may he shower his blessings on all the peoples of Scotland especially those I was privileged to serve in a special way in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.”

  • Peter

    There is something sick and perverse about a society where those who murder unborn children every day are highly paid and highly respected, while those who commit occasional indiscretions in the distant past are hounded to the grave.

  • Caren and Michael

    As  converts to the Church five years ago we are absolutely chocked and deeply saddened to realize that homosexuality seems rampant among priests, bishops and cardinals. And still, while the Church always claims that she loves the Truth, there is a truth one is never akllowed to voice, to quote Dr Bill Donahue, pres. of Catholic League in the US, namely that the scandals in thye Church are mainly a homosexual problem. To us, the mere thought of a priest, bishop or cardinal being actively homosexual was sth that did not even exist in our imagination. Naive? Of course, but still, the sheer number of homosexual priests, bishops and others is staggering. We are deeply shaken by this.
    Just have a look at the case of priests under bishop Mahoney in the US, now on the net. Around 90 % of the abuse cases are of homosexual nature and NOT PEDOPHILIA! The molesting priests had, in most cases, molested teenage boys, 14-18.
    We are shaken by all of this.
    Naturally, until we know whether this specific accusation is true or not, we do not in any way wish to express any thoughts on behalf of the accused.

    Caren and Michael

  • Jonathan West

    If the Catholic church claims to be the guardian of mankind’s morals, to be the very keyholders of the gates to salvation itself, then the hypocrisy of “do as I say, not as I do” on the part of senior members of the hierarchy cannot fail to deal a devastating blow to the church’s moral authority.

    It is worth also noting that the hierarchical system of the Catholic church makes is very easy for people to get away with this sort of behaviour because of the power they wield over others below them. Here is one of those who complained, as reported in The Observer.

    The seminarian says he was too frightened to report the incident, but says his personality changed afterwards, and his teachers regularly noted that he seemed depressed. He was ordained, but he told the nuncio in his statement that he resigned when O’Brien was promoted to bishop. “I knew then he would always have power over me. It was assumed I left the priesthood to get married. I did not. I left to preserve my integrity.”

    If this is true, then in this case at least O’Brien has destroyed a priestly vocation, something it was his job at the time to nurture.

    The scandal will go on without end for as long as you and others like you find excuses for those in the hierarchy who have behaved badly either by committing abuses of power or covering up abuses by others.

  • scary goat

     Well, although in a way you are right (about the evil of abortion) I am not sure we should be making any comparison at all between these two separate issues.

  • Peter

    A belated welcome to the bruised and battered (but not broken) mystical body of Christ.

  • Neill C

    What a vile and shortsighted position to take. Not only are the two utterly unrelated but you seek to justify illegal, inappropriate, sexual advances and behaviour by Mr O’Brien with reference to an act that is legal and enshrined in primary UK legislation. An “occasional indiscretion” as may be seen from the viewpoint of the perpetrator is often a lifelong sentence for the victim which ruins self esteem, social and familial relations along with causing severe psychological trauma. You display an inconceivable lack of compassion and understanding.

  • Lee

    Personally, I rather see the approach that Canon Law behoved in 1596 and 1917 alongside a thorough application of St Peter Damian’s Book of Gomorrah. Last but not least, those errant clerics moten a choice be given: Either they take up wonen in a Carthusian Monastery of strict observance or they sind defrocked back to tonsure. There is no place for these fiends of the church to be given time no more.

  • Clare

    What worries me is that they had 30 years to make these allegations and they left it to the last minute so they could bring him down in the most public and humiliating way – right before he was supposed to be representing the UK in the Conclave. Remember, these are PRIESTS that have done this.

  • scary goat

    All so shocking and sad.  The saddest thing is that something like this wasn’t sorted out years ago. I can take an educated guess as to why it wasn’t….and it’s not just the “lavender mafia” although that is possibly part of it. 

    Poor chap.  Not nice to have past indiscretions (? ) catch up with you so publicly, probably donkeys years after you have repented already.

    This is the danger of having an environment where people are afraid to speak out when something goes wrong. 

  • Peter

    You are mistaken.

    We should make the comparison, because the social background in which people are being judged is itself a sewer of putrescent corruption, full of the decomposing corpses of a million babies.

    No-one who supports the murder of infants has the moral right to judge anybody.

  • Jonathan West

    They made their complaints before the Pope announced his retirement. The two issues are not connected.

    Stop blaming the victims.

  • Mollybenson

     Yes – and as he presumably voted in the last conclave, you have to wonder why they picked this moment.

  • scary goat

     Hang on in there, guys.  Me too…..and I saw something shocking first hand.  But the Catholic Faith is still the true faith in spite of it all.  Hang on to the important stuff and don’t let these things get to you too much.  (Easier said than done, I know).