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Cardinal O’Brien admits sexual misconduct

By on Monday, 4 March 2013

Cardinal Keith O'Brien issued his statement over the weekend Scott Campbell/AP/Press Association Images

Cardinal Keith O'Brien issued his statement over the weekend Scott Campbell/AP/Press Association Images

Cardinal Keith O’Brien has admitted to sexual misconduct as he stated that he would play no further role in the Church.

In a statement made yesterday afternoon the former Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh confessed that his “sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected” and asked for forgiveness from those he had “offended”, the people of Scotland and the entire Catholic Church.

Some of the details of the alleged “inappropriate” behaviour, against three priests and one former priest, have emerged, with the accusations including attempting to touch and kiss the men.

One of the accusers also claimed that he had been warned not to go public and that the Church wanted to “crush” him.

Cardinal O’Brien said he would now withdraw completely from public life. Cardinal O’Brien was the most outspoken opponent of plans to redefine marriage in Scotland and England. He will not take part in the forthcoming papal conclave.



  • Paul Demunnik

    Cardinal O’Brien’s belated and vague fessing up
    Reads like a spin doctor’s dressing up
    Until the mea culpa has a maxima added 
    Any apology is going to sound vapid
    So come clean, beat your breast and quit messing up.

  • Arklowsattic

    This is deeply painful for the whole Church.  More must be done to eradicate the homosexual subculture in seminaries  (this is much less a problem than it usedto be) and the presbyterate. For a start, bishops and others involved in seminary selection need to abide by the instruction from the Vatican eight years ago that forbids the ordination of homosexual men. This instruction has either been misinterpreted or ignored by too many.

  • liquafruta

    A few quotes from His Eminence should, sadly, say it all:
    2005 “they are captives of sexual aberrations”
    2011 “harmful to the medical, emotional and spiritual well-being of those involved.”
    2012 “a grotesque subversion….”

  • liquafruta

    With respect this is not the problem at all. It is the double standards of preaching one thing while doing another which is the problem. There will always be gay people in all sections of the church. Vilifying them only leads to debacles such as this one.

  • Andrew Young

    The whole scenario is just so sad for all concerned and not at least the Church in general.  What is most damaging however is the charge by people like Thatchell (sic) who now have all the ammunition with which to charge leading Church dignitaries with the ultimate hypocrisy of speaking against that which they cannot face in themselves and act out innapropriately. As for the charge being made by one of the accusers that the Church wanted to ‘crush’ him – a little melodramatic don’t you think. Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

  • Arklowsattic

     Perhaps you are right. But even if this reasoning fails, it isn’t the reasoning given in the instruction, which was explained in more detail by the Congregation for Education in 2008 and by Pope BXVI in the book “light of the World”. The sexual orientation estranges a man from proper priestly paternity. Celibacy is not a shapeless void, it is total giving of a person’s sexuality for service in the Church. It is important to follow the explicit instructions from the Vatican regarding the sacred priesthood. We can’t pick and choose the bits we like

  • Benedict Carter

    Tatchell is his name, not “Thatchell”. No doubt an unintended Freudian slip.

    And the “crush” comment was made by a man.

  • Benedict Carter

    You know, liquafruta, it is entirely probable that the Cardinal could hold fast to Catholic teaching whilst on occasion falling into sin himself. 

    The dog may return to his vomit while knowing that it is vomit (and maybe hating it).

  • liquafruta

    Yes, I hear what you are saying.

  • Benedict Carter

    The Catholic Herald’s PC censors are busy today. So I’ll limit myself to posting this link. If you want to know about the homosexual invasion of the clergy since the late 1950′s, read it.

  • Rev Tony Webster

    I am a non conformist minister and this morning we have spent time praying for the Roman Catholic Church in our morning prayers. I retire from ministry in 2 months after 46 years. During that time I have worked with many RC Priests some are still my friends.The RC Church has a great social conscience.
    We are all guilty of sin whatever that sin is and our Lord said ‘let those that have no sin cast the first stone’.. Let us remember that there are many Roman Catholics this day who are hurting. Let us all start to love as Jesus wanted us to, ‘Love one another as I have loved you’.

  • Veuster

    Damian Thompson has in his Daily Telegraph blog called Cardinal O’Brien a ‘hypocrite’.

    If Cardinal O’Brien genuinely believes, as I’m sure he does, that homosexual acts are always sinful, he is no more a hypocrite for condemning them in public despite having committed them himself (and, I’m sure, confessed them, been absolved and done penance) than would be a man who was tempted to get drunk, had on occasions done so and confessed, been absolved and done penance, and then had spoken in public about the dangers of over-indulgence in alcohol.

    He would be a hypocrite only if he *didn’t* believe that homosexual acts were always sinful but had said in public that he did while continuing to commit them in private, or if he *did* believe that homosexual acts were always sinful and condemned them in public while continuing to commit them in private without true contrition, confession, absolution and penance.

  • Ana Bellos

    We are not doing enough for
    the poor and we are discussing about the sex of the angels.

    Why we are using theology to
    discriminate rather that to censure abuse of power? Not all members of our denomination necessarily support the curia condemnatory views. Those
    that study theology or medicine, those celibates or with full sexual live, integrated
    in the society or outside, we are all the Church (ekklesia). The redemption of
    our Catholic Church cannot be leaved in the hands of few. 

  • $27740841

    Yes, the homosexual invasion of the clergy – the ‘Lavender Mafia’ – has been widely reported elsewhere, if not by the Catholic Herald.  And here’s one of the consequences of this infiltration – priests reported to be dying of AIDS at four times the rate of the general population.

    Funnily enough, it was rumoured that the priest who received me into the Church and who died soon after, actually died of AIDS.  I didn’t believe it at the time. 

  • Jon Brownridge

     Absolutely correct. As someone intimates in another posting, no one preaches the evils of drinking more vigorously than the reformed drunk.

  • Arklowsattic

    excellent read, thank you. I have been dismayed that the 2005 Instruction
    barring homosexuals from ordination has been so wilfully misinterpreted and
    this misinterpretaion defended by Catholic spokesmen in the press. I am even
    more perturbed to read that there was already similar prohibition in the 1961
    document “Careful Selection and Training of Candidates for the States of
    Perfection and Sacred Orders”

  • tolle lege

    ah, that’s ok then.  & the fact that a drunk is preaching about the evils of drink is thus deemed irrelevent. how to rationalise hypocrisy away…

  • $27740841

    For more info on homosexuality and the Catholic priesthood, try the 2012 report by Polish priest Fr Dariusz Oko, titled ‘With the Pope Against the Homoheresy’.

    One claim made by the report is that over 80 per cent of claims of sexual abuse against Catholic priests have involved homosexul priests abusing pubescent and adolescent boys.

    Apparantly, Fr Oko’s report has been widely read on the Continent but not in the English speaking world.

  • Benedict Carter

    Ah! “Ekklesia”!!!

    Reader, just do a google search for the group Ekklesia and see what you find. 

    The liberal-progressive hippy “Catholic” in his full glory (I don’t think). 

  • Englishcatholic
  • chris

    I fully agree with Arklowsattic. I just don’t understand why people continue to malign celibacy and say that it’s the cause of all evil in the Church.

    If more than anything else, celibacy must be strictly enforced and upheld. The giving of one’s sexuality at the service of the Church is the best gift we as mortal human beings can offer the Lord.

    In as much as I respect the sexual orientation of a person, homosexuals just cannot be accepted as priests because of their inherent disorders.

  • tolle lege

    WHO ICD-10 1992,  “F65.4 – paedophilia: a sexual preference for children, usually of prepubertal or early pubertal age. some paedophiles are attracted only to girls, others only to boys, & some others again are interested in both sexes…Included among paedophiles, however, are men who retain a preference for adult sex partners but, because they are chronically frustrated in achieving appropriate contacts, habitually turn to children as substitutes.”

    priests who abused children of prepubertal or early pubertal age are paedophiles.  you cannot blame it all on homosexuals, no matter how convenient it might be to you. i am a male. if my orientation is to women, i am a heterosexual.  if it is to other men, i am a homosexual. if it is to children, i am a paedophile.  if i turn to a child as a substitute for either a man or a woman then i am a paedophile as well as either heterosexual or homosexual.   children are raped by paedophiles, not by homosexuals or heterosexuals.

  • $20596475

    I actually feel some sympathy for him, and respect that he admits his mistakes. It puts into sharp contrast some of the whitewash which some Catholics seek to apply whenever their errors are discovered. I still think his views on gay marriage, and the way he expressed them, were very wrong, but don’t see that this has any direct connection. 

    What it confirms is that there is a deep, and unbridgeable, chasm at the very heart of your faith. If you need me to explain what that is I will, but it would be better if you worked it out yourselves.