The former leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland has admitted that his sexual conduct has at times “fallen below the standards expected of me,” after accusations by several priests came to light.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who was the senior most Roman Catholic official in the U.K., resigned last week under pressure from three priests and an ex-priest who alleged he had behaved inappropriately towards them in the 1980s. O’Brien had previously denied the allegations and was seeking legal advice.
In a statement released to the BBC, O’Brien apologized and asked for forgiveness to those he had “offended”:
“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 apologize. 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.”
An outspoken opponent to gay marriage, O’Brien was named “Bigot of the Year” by U.K. LGBT advocacy group, Stonewall, in 2012 — at lest he’s going out on a high note.
O’Brien’s resignation means he won’t be taking part in the conclave, the election of the next Pope. Retired Archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, was reportedly invited by the Vatican to participate, despite his attempts to cover up sexual abuse and molestation by priests.
So it’s nice to know the papal election is being handled with the appropriate level of inappropriateness.
Photos: Wikipedia, Irish Central