Alex Salmond praises Cardinal Keith O'Brien

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".

Cardinal Keith O'Brien with Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond during the Papal visit to Scotland in 2010 Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

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."

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Cardinal admits sex misconduct

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.