Cardinal rejects 'inappropriate' allegations
Britain's most senior Catholic cleric is accused of 'inappropriate behaviour' by several priests who would like to see him resign immediately.PT1M36S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2f12s 620 349 February 25, 2013
LONDON: Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the top Catholic official in Britain, is stepping down a day after publication of reports of ‘‘inappropriate’’ behaviour in his relations with priests working for him.
O’Brien, an outspoken critic of gay rights, is alleged to have made unwelcome advances against priests reporting to him, the BBC reported.
The Vatican announced on Monday that Pope Benedict XVI had accepted Cardinal O’Brien’s resignation.
Resigned ... Cardinal Keith O'Brien. Photo: Getty Images
‘‘The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has accepted on the 18 February 2013 the resignation of His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh,’’ a statement said.
The cardinal will not take part in the election for a successor to the Pope - leaving Britain unrepresented in the election.
Cardinal O’Brien said: ‘‘I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me - but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor.’’
The cardinal missed celebrating Sunday Mass in St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, which marked Pope Benedict’s eight years in office, ahead of the pontiff stepping down this week.
The resignation of Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the wake of allegations of improper behaviour creates a crisis for the Church in Scotland, and represents a heavy blow to the wider Church as it battles to shore up its reputation ahead of the papal election or ‘‘conclave’’.
The conclave is already expected to be difficult in the circumstances created by Pope’s unprecedented resignation.