After being accused of “inappropriate acts” towards fellow priests, Cardinal Keith O'Brien has resigned. O’Brien is the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the United Kingdom. His resignation comes after the Observer revealed that allegations of misconduct had been levied at O’Brien by three priests and one former priests. Pope Benedict has accepted the cardinal's resignation as archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh.
O'Brien, 75, denied the allegations at first. The Guardian reports that it was expected that he was going to remain at his position until the middle of March when he was set to retire. Apparently O’Brien began to feel as if the black cloud of the controversy was becoming too much so he decided to step down. The upcoming election of a new pope also played a part in his decision.
In a statement released on Monday, he said:
“I have valued the opportunity of serving the people of Scotland and overseas in various ways since becoming a priest. Looking back over my years of ministry: For any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologize to all whom I have offended.”
Since O’Brien was the only cardinal in the British Catholic churches, Britain will now no longer have a representative to cast a vote for the new pope. He had been set to fly out to the Vatican on Tuesday to begin the election process but that will no longer happen.
It is believed that the four men who exposed O’Brien’s inappropriate behaviors did so because they did not want him taking part in the process of selecting a new pope. They will get their wish.
“I thank Pope Benedict XVI for his kindness and courtesy to me and on my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Scotland, I wish him a long and happy retirement,” O’Brien said.
“I also ask God's blessing on my brother cardinals who will soon gather in Rome to elect his successor. I will not join them for this conclave in person. I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me – but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor. However, I will pray with them and for them that, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, they will make the correct choice for the future good of the church.”
Source: (The Guardian)