- 25 updates
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.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien has resigned following allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the 1980s, BBC News reported.
- Cardinal Keith O'Brien is the only British Roman Catholic cleric able to vote in the upcoming conclave electing Pope Benedict XVI's successor.
- The 74-year-old, who is Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, was created and proclaimed a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in October 2003.
- He is due to retire when he turns 75 next month.