Cardinal Keith O'Brien has admitted his "sexual conduct fell below standards expected" during his time as a religious leader. The Cardinal, Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, resigned last Monday after claims of "inappropriate" behaviour.
There have been two sensations for me this week. One is feeling the hot breath of the media on the back of my neck and the other is sensing the cold disapproval of the church hierarchy for daring to break ranks. I feel like if they could crush me, they would.
The vacuum the church has created has allowed whimsy and speculation to distort the truth, and the only support I have been offered is a cursory email with a couple of telephone numbers of counsellors hundreds of miles away from me.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien has admitted at times "my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal" in an issued statement.
The Cardinal resigned last Monday from his position as Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric.
His departure came a day after the Observer newspaper reported that three priests and a former priest had complained about him to the Vatican over alleged "inappropriate" behaviour stretching back 30 years.
Tonight's statement was issued by the Catholic Church in Scotland.
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia said he felt "pained and distressed" after taking temporary charge of the UK Catholic Church following the resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien amid allegations of inappropriate behaviour:
These are painful and distressing times for the Archdiocese, I also feel pained and distressed.
With the grace of God, I will do my very best to oversee and govern the Archdiocese until the appointment of a new Archbishop. I ask for your prayers.
Peter Kearney, director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office, said the Cardinal's resignation had not been accelerated because of the allegations surrounding him.
He told STV News:
The timing is very unfortunate and it does appear as if one has followed the other, which in terms of chronology one has followed the other, but that's not the same as saying one caused the other.
When it comes to responding to the allegations I think what he will do is act on his legal advice, and the legal advice at the moment would be to not publicly engage with the detail as it stands of the allegations.
At this particular point we have to accept that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and the advice would be he will engage in the proper way as and when it's appropriate to do so in the future.