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.

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Man behind O'Brien claims attacks church response

The former priest who reported Cardinal Keith O'Brien to the Vatican over the allegations of "inappropriate" behaviour has attacked the Catholic church's response to the complaints.

Speaking prior to tonight's statement by O'Brien, the man, who remains anonymous, told The Observer he had been "disappointed" by the "lack of credibility" shown by the church.

In the newspaper's report, published today, he said:

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 O'Brien initially contested claims against him

Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigned last Monday following allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the 1980s. He initially contested the claims with a spokesman confirming he was "taking legal advice".

Cardinal Keith O'Brien was head of the Catholic Church in Scotland. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

He had been due to travel to the Vatican to help choose the next Pope, as the only British Roman Catholic cleric able to vote.

But he removed himself from the papal conclave because he felt the allegations against him would be "too much of a distraction".

He then issued a statement saying: "Looking back over my years of ministry: For any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologise to all whom I have offended."

O'Brien, who was Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, was created and proclaimed a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in October 2003. He had been due to retire when he turned 75 later this month.


Cardinal admits sexual conduct 'fell below standards'

The full statement from Cardinal Keith O'Brien:

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 apologise.

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.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien in 'sexual conduct' admission

Cardinal Keith O'Brien stepped down last Monday. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

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.

O'Brien replacement seeks prayers in 'distressing times'

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.

– Archbishop Philip Tartaglia

New Archbishop appointed after O'Brien resignation

Philip Tartaglia replaces Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who quit this week following allegations of inappropriate behaviour Credit: Christine lavelle/PA Wire

The Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, has been put in temporary charge of the UK Catholic Church following the resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

The Church said the Pope had appointed Archbishop Tartaglia as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh with immediate effect.


Cardinal 'did not resign over allegations'

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.

Gay rights groups outline hopes for next Cardinal

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."

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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