- 27 updates
Gay rights groups have expressed their hopes that whoever is selected to replace Cardinal Keith O'Brien will do more to champion their cause.
The director of Stonewall Scotland, a charity that recently voted Cardinal O'Brien "bigot of the year", said he hoped a successor would "show a little more Christian charity towards openly gay people than the Cardinal did himself".
Tom French from the Equality Network said he hopes "that the Catholic Church in Scotland will use the opportunity new leadership brings to reassess its opposition to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality."
Scotland's First Minister has spoken of his sadness at the resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien, whom he described as a "good man for his church and country".
Responding to the announcement that the leader of Scotland's Roman Catholic Community is stepping down with immediate effect, Alex Salmond said: "I hear the news of Cardinal O'Brien's resignation with the greatest sadness.
"In all of my dealings with the Cardinal, he has been a considerate and thoughtful leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland.
Stressing that claims made against the Cardinal are still being investigated, Mr Salmond said: "It would be a great pity if a lifetime of positive work was lost from comment in the circumstances of his resignation."
Father Stephen Wang, a Catholic priest in the diocese of Westminster, has told ITV News he was "shocked and saddened" over the resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien in "complicated circumstances".
But he added he believed people would have confidence in the church for dealing with the matter "quickly and well":
The Catholic Church in Britain was in turmoil after its most senior cleric, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who faces allegations of "inappropriate" behaviour, announced he is stepping down.
The 74-year-old has not made a public appearance since the allegations emerged.
Lewis Vaughan Jones reports:
Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric Cardinal Keith O'Brien.
In a statement issued by the Scottish Catholic Church, Cardinal Keith O'Brien said:
Cardinal O'Brien said he would not be joining the conclave to choose a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, saying: "I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me - but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor."
Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who is facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour, confirmed that he is to step down immediately, saying: "The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today."
ITV News understands that Cardinal Keith O'Brien will no longer be taking part in the papal conclave to elect the next Pope. He felt it would be too much of a distraction in light of the allegations he is facing.
Cardinal O'Brien was due to travel to the Vatican this week to help choose the next Pope.