UK cardinal apologises for sex

2013-03-03 21:45

London - Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who resigned last week as Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, on Sunday admitted that his sexual conduct had "fallen below the standards expected of me".

A statement released by the former head of the Catholic Church in Scotland apologised "to those I have offended... to the Catholic Church and people of Scotland."

The 74-year-old had been due to be the only British cardinal to vote on a replacement for Pope Benedict XVI following the pontiff's shock resignation on 11 February.

O'Brien resigned as head of the Scottish church on Monday in the wake of claims that he made sexual advances towards priests.

"In recent days certain allegations which have been made against me have become public," said the cleric. "Initially, their anonymous and non-specific nature led me to contest them.

"However, 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," he added.

O'Brien - who steps down as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh - initially denied the allegations, which date back to the 1980s.

"To those I have offended, I apologise and ask forgiveness," he said in Sunday's statement. "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."

He confirmed in his resignation statement that he will not take part in the papal election conclave, which has been overshadowed by controversies surrounding O'Brien and other cardinals caught up in sex scandals.

He had been due to resign on his 75th birthday later this month but said on Monday that the pope had decided it should take effect immediately.

The allegations include claims that one priest received unwanted attention from O'Brien after a late-night drinking session, Britain's Observer newspaper reported last month.

Another priest reportedly claims that O'Brien used night prayers as cover for inappropriate contact.

A string of new scandals and allegations have emerged since Benedict became only the second pope in the Church's 2 000-year history to step down of his own free will.

Four members of the conclave are associated with the paedophile priest scandals that have dominated Benedict's eight-year rule as pope.

And while 85-year-old Benedict cited his age as the main factor in his resignation, media have speculated that an explosive report into last year's "Vatileaks" scandal may have played a role.

O'Brien has previously angered the gay community with his hardline public stance on homosexuality. He was named "bigot of the year" last year by the gay rights charity Stonewall.

He recently said that same-sex marriages would be "harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of those involved" and has long voiced opposition to gay adoption.

But he has also called for priests to be able to marry and have children.

"Many priests have found it very difficult to cope with celibacy as they lived out their priesthood, and felt the need of a companion, of a woman, to whom they could get married and raise a family of their own," he told BBC television.

  • Rude Awakning - 2013-03-03 22:05

    To err is human! So let's hear those bigots who will claim they have never wronged and of those who will blame religion. Etc...etc! Don't thow stones if you live in a glass house

      Phoenixx - 2013-03-03 23:37

      Most of us do not sexually assault others - repeatedly!

  • lacrimosewolf - 2013-03-03 22:07

    Oh goodie we must all feel so much better now that you are going to spend the rest of your life in retirement. Go to jail, go directly to jail, do not get a papal or any other pardon. What is UP with this protectionism? WTF do these clerics know that always sees them getting away with what others serve 90-yr life sentences or death by lethal injection?

      Vicki Scheepers - 2013-03-04 00:30

      dammit i spent ages typing a response to you and then lost it ... so here is a shortened version. O' Brien is inappropriate and bigotted and a list of other things I'm too tired to type out now, but, and im sorry to disappoint you here, he wont be going to jail for 90 years neither will he be put to death by lethal injection for sexual harassment. The 4 priests that reported him, called for his resignation and the Pope ever took it further and told him to bugger off now, instead of end of March. So, I'm guessing unless the 4 priests now go to the police and lay criminal charges against him (even then i really doubt he would get those sentences if found guilty), the story has been sorted. Unless you think he was involved in the peadofile scandal, unfortuantely, you were mistaken. That was just News24's attempt at fleshing out the story. Ok, I will let you get back to your monopoly game now. Enjoy. Hope you win.

      Phoenixx - 2013-03-04 07:46

      Vicki you totally do NOT get the seriousness of this at all, do you??? Non-consensual sex with anyone is called RAPE. If it were women being raped, would you have the same response? I guess not.

  • Mihla Sithole - 2013-03-03 22:20

    after denying it,he finally just glad,paradoxically,that he didnt fiddle with kids(i hope).Funny how he thinks repenting and hailing mary 3 times makes it all okay.

  • Jack - 2013-03-03 22:48

    Selecting the right people for priesthood is not easy. And people change as they age. Only special people can stay the course. And those are the ones that will rescue the church, as they have throughout history. It is the one and only church, and the gates of hell can never prevail against her.

      stephen.michael.399826 - 2013-03-04 09:21

      Do "you" people ever stop and read what you have written before posting it Jack?

  • Musawashe Moyo - 2013-03-03 23:42

    These apologists...get a wife!

  • Vicki Scheepers - 2013-03-04 00:34

    He kinda looks like that uncle who always ends up drinking too much at family functions and starts being inappropriate with all the women, being all huggie kissy and such lol. Every family has one.

      Phoenixx - 2013-03-04 07:48

      Except this one raped other men. Get it?

  • Mabs - 2013-03-04 00:44

    And I hope he goes on a Sexual Offenders list because he should not be around young boys.

      Phoenixx - 2013-03-04 07:50

      I detest this man, make no mistake - but there is no evidence that children were involved. He used his position and power to coerce heterosexual adult men into sex.

  • Johann Enslin - 2013-03-04 00:45

    The hypocrisy of the church....Seems those screaming the loudest against gays are usually the gayest bunch, especially after a ale or two. ...and spare me, celibacy at the cost of altar boys is no celibacy at all.

  • Richard Matthews - 2013-03-04 02:16

    What sex is he apologising for? Apology was for sexual harrasment.

  • German Mazokera - 2013-03-04 03:34

    A late night drinking session. Bells, Captain morgan, two keys and Amarula

  • Mzansi Afrika - 2013-03-04 04:19

    Dirty Men Of God. Who can we (sinners) turn too for guidance in the mist of all the hypocracy?

  • arthur.salvado - 2013-03-04 07:17

    Catholics and other churches with their priests , clergymen, ministers and whatever else you want to call them ( and there are many names for these guys) are a bunch of jokers that have influenced so many lives with CR@P and destroying many in the process. It's a joke played on mankind ......churches are.

  • Vusi Linguistik - 2013-03-04 07:36

    How dissapointing.

  • richard.buhr - 2013-03-04 09:21

    Apparently abstinence makes the church grow fondlers.

      Coenraad Van Der Westhuizen - 2013-03-04 13:11


  • ivan.schoultz - 2013-03-04 09:25

    "shock resignation of the pontiff"?? not quite, it was very much expected and predicted, and no it was not this year that he resigned, it was last year that he did (secretly to select individuals, so that plans could be put in motion) ... and that sparked the internal power-struggle between those in the know, resulting in all the Vati-Leaks and dirty laundry that we saw in the media. All this according to Tom Horn, and he reveals much, much more interesting info about what is likely to come next: (select audio quality, press record to get the MP3)

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