Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic, Cardinal Keith O’Brien has announced that he is stepping down from his position as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, following allegations – which he contests – of inappropriate behaviour with fellow priests.
Last year, the outspoken O’Brien won Stonewalls infamous ‘Bigot Of The Year’ award for his frequent condemnation of the UK Government’s plans to legalise marriage for gay people. He had previously described same-sex partnerships as, “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of those involved.”
It has now been revealed that four men – three serving priests and one former priest – have made allegations against the cardinal. It is believed that they complained to the Pope’s representative to Britain, nuncio Antonio Mennini, in the week before Pope Benedict announced his resignation on 11 February, of what they claimed was the cardinal’s inappropriate behaviour towards them in the 1980s. The Pope, who himself is due to stand down from his position at the end of February, has accepted O’Brien’s resignation. It’s believed that O’Brien had previously tendered his resignation, to take effect when he turned 75 next month. However, following the current allegations, his resignation has now been accepted with effect from today (25 Feb). O’Brien was Britain’s only representative in the next month’s papal election to select a new Pop, but he will not now take part.