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UK’s Cardinal O’Brien admits to sexual misconduct following allegations

Sunday, March 3, 2013

LONDON — The cardinal who until recently served as Britain’s highest-ranking Catholic leader on Sunday acknowledged unspecified sexual misbehavior and promised to play “no further part” in the public life of the church, an admission which comes at an awkward time for the Vatican.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien

Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigned Monday from his position as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh after a newspaper published unnamed priests’ accounts of unspecified inappropriate behavior.

O’Brien initially rejected the claims, saying he was resigning because he did not want to distract from the upcoming conclave which is due to pick a new pope. But on Sunday, the Church of Scotland issued a statement quoting O’Brien as saying that there had 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 apologize and ask forgiveness,” the statement continued. “To the Catholic church and people of Scotland, I also apologize. 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.”

The admission was short on details – O’Brien gave no clue as to what exactly his sexual misbehavior consisted of – but it comes as the Roman Catholic Church prepares to elect a successor to Benedict XVI, who resigned the papacy Thursday.

O’Brien’s time as cardinal ended as it began – in controversy.

He got off to a rocky start when in 2003, as a condition of being made a cardinal, he was forced to issue a public pledge to defend church teaching on homosexuality, celibacy and contraception. He was pressured to make the pledge after he had called for a “full and open discussion” on such matters.

At the time, O’Brien said he had been misunderstood and wanted to clarify his position. But statements made last week, before the scandal over his behavior broke, suggested he never really changed his mind. In an interview with the BBC, O’Brien said celibacy should be reconsidered because it’s not based on doctrine but rather church tradition and “is not of divine origin.”

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42 more reader comments:

  1. He will use it to his sick twisted advantage. He will say… “I repented and was forgiven of kiddie fiddling… thus so can the common homosexual repent and be saved… from their “SEXUAL MISCONDUCT”! Dirty Bastard.

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 12:37pm
  2. gross

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 12:38pm
  3. So wrong…

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 12:39pm
  4. they are ALL corrupt

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 12:42pm
  5. it doesnt surprise me

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 12:42pm
  6. This all just seems so stupid to me. Human beings, by and large, are going to have sex. Period. End of story. WHY does the Catholic church insist on following a rule made up by some pope 1,000 years ago? I don’t get it. If I’m going to seek solace in a church, I am going to insist that it not hold a stance of discrimination against ANYONE based on their gender or sexual orientation.

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 12:42pm
  7. Those queens love those fabulous hats!!!

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 12:46pm
  8. Is anyone surprised? Really?

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 12:46pm
  9. So sad that this man cannot be who he is (gay) and still keep his right to be a Priest. I assume that there are many catholic gay priest.

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 12:48pm
  10. Omg I’m shocked. #sarcasm101

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 12:50pm
  11. oh big freaking surprise

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 12:51pm
  12. eeew.

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 12:53pm
  13. I think the reason the celibacy rules are maintained in the RCC is because the 12 Disciples were celibate and Apostle Paul insisted on celibacy. It’s not easy to be celibate and it’s clearly not for everyone. I don’t know why the Church doesn’t understand that only some people can observe celibacy. It has to come naturally.

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 1:13pm
  14. “Imposing,” celibacy will always fail.

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 1:15pm
  15. Sick bastard !

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 1:25pm
  16. Sexual misconduct by these guys but they still feel entitled women deny birth control and abortion. WHY do people still listen to the RCC?

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 1:26pm
  17. No, your sexual conduct was exactly what was expected of you, being a high ranking official.

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 1:35pm
  18. The worst most outspoken and violent Homophobes have always been gay or bisexual men who could not accept their sexuality. When sexuality is pushed down it often comes out in unwanted forms such as pedophilia or sexual abuse. Is it any wonder Catholic Priests are in such a bind? Priests must be allowed to at least develop a fully mature adult sexuality whether they express it physically or not.

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 1:37pm
  19. But he is still “on the job?” Only the catholic church can justify that kind of BULLSHIT!

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 1:44pm
  20. Why isn’t he in jail????

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 2:17pm
  21. some 1 should shoot his ball,s off.

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 2:32pm
  22. When human beings sit in judgement of others, they open themselves up to a world of disdain. I would sympathize, be he offered none to me. So as it is in the real world, what comes around goes around. God forgive him, because I won’t.

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 2:44pm
  23. Golly, in a “Church” rife with pedophiles and rapists… this is such a surprise!

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 3:05pm
  24. On count of three, everybody pretend we are surprised in any way whatsoever.

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 3:12pm
  25. How about you spend, the rest of your life…. IN PRISON!!

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 4:43pm
  26. @ Arthur Lum….. EXCUSE ME, but gay and bisexual men DO NOT EQUAL pedophilia and/or sexual abuse!!

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 4:49pm
  27. Gay and Bisexual Men = an attraction to other Gay and Bisexual Men.

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 4:50pm
  28. Pedophiles = Pedophilia. Which is when an Adult sexually desires/assaults a child.

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 4:52pm
  29. GET, YOUR FACTS CORRECT!!! Meaning, Gay Men DO NOT molest little boys……. PEDOPHILES, DO!!

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 4:54pm
  30. … and, if you’re wondering, if I’m offended by your comment?? HELL YES, I AM!!

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 4:56pm
  31. Just, to enlighten you… almost 100% of pedophiles are STRAIGHT MEN!!! – Asshole!

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 4:59pm
  32. Probably why the pope is resigning

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 6:38pm
  33. ok, and homosexuality is a sin…how?

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 6:39pm
  34. What?? This is so shocking! Nothing like this has ever happened before! Lmao

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 6:43pm
  35. Are we surprised??? The Biggest mouthed Bigot, is the Biggest Bone Smuggler of them all….. Typical, cover your guilt with your bullshit

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 6:43pm
  36. We are subjected not only to the abs but the horrible, immoral coverups. Shame!!!

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 7:18pm
  37. The Church of Hypocrisy strikes again !

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 8:29pm
  38. Shame!

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 9:04pm
  39. What’s never happened before is (a) admitting it and (b) consequences!!!!!

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 9:40pm
  40. Retirement is not for those who belong in jail

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 9:42pm
  41. What pope resigns during the holiest time of the year. Something even uglier is being hidden. Like there isn’t enough already!

    Posted on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 9:43pm
  42. Amen sista!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 7:38am