VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who resigned as archbishop after admitting to sexual misconduct, will leave Scotland “for several months for the purpose of spiritual renewal, prayer and penance,” the Vatican said.
Any decision about when the period will end or where the cardinal will live permanently will be made in agreement with the Vatican, said a statement released May 15 by the Vatican press office.
The statement did not specifically mention Cardinal O’Brien’s sexual misconduct. Instead, it referred to “the same reasons he decided not to participate in the last conclave.”
Retired Pope Benedict XVI accepted Cardinal O’Brien’s resignation Feb. 25 after the Observer, a British weekly national newspaper, carried a story detailing complaints of three priests and one former priest who alleged Cardinal O’Brien had made homosexual advances toward them.
The cardinal initially denied the allegations but said he would not be in Rome for the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict because he did not want media attention to be on him rather than on the process to elect a new pope.
Less than a week later, however, he issued a public apology for his actions. He said he initially denied the allegations because they were made anonymously. But, in the March 3 statement, he said, “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.”
The cardinal, who is now 75, said he would “spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland.”
In early May, Cardinal O’Brien was photographed moving his belongings into a church-owned residence in Dunbar, on the North Sea coast about 30 miles from Edinburgh, where he had served as archbishop since 1985.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103