[QODLink]
Europe

Scottish cardinal admits sexual misbehaviour

Keith O'Brien, once UK's senior Catholic leader, apologises and vows to play "no further part" in public life of church.
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2013 19:25
Cardinal's resignation comes as the Catholic Church prepares to elect successor to Benedict XV [Reuters]

The cardinal who until recently served as Britain's highest-ranking Catholic leader acknowledged unspecified sexual misbehaviour and promised to play "no further part" in the public life of the church.

The statement of Cardinal Keith O'Brien on Sunday came few days after his resignation from his position as archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh following a newspaper article that included unnamed priests' accounts of unspecified inappropriate behaviour.

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 apologise and ask forgiveness," the statement continued.

"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."

Rocky start

The admission was short on details. O'Brien gave no clue as to what exactly his sexual misbehaviour consisted of, but the confession comes as the Roman Catholic Church prepares to elect a successor to Benedict XVI, who resigned the papacy on 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 behaviour 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".

350

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The conservative UMP party suffers from crippling internal divisions and extreme debt from mismanagement.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
join our mailing list