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Vatican: One Cardinal is out due to another sexual scandal…? February 2013

–It follows claims, which he contests, of inappropriate behaviour towards priests dating back to the 1980s.

In a statement, the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh apologised to those he had offended for “failures” during his ministry….

The Observer reported that the three priests and one former priest – from the diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh – complained to the Pope’s representative to Britain, nuncio Antonio Mennini, in the week before 11 February, when Pope Benedict announced his resignation, of what they claimed was the cardinal’s inappropriate behaviour towards them in the 1980s.

The former priest claims Cardinal O’Brien made an inappropriate approach to him in 1980, after night prayers, when he was a seminarian at St Andrew’s College, Drygrange.

The complainant says he resigned as a priest when Cardinal O’Brien was first made a bishop.

A second statement from another complainant says he was living in a parish when he was visited by O’Brien, and inappropriate contact took place between them.

A third complainant alleges dealing with what he describes as “unwanted behaviour” by the cardinal in the 1980s after some late-night drinking.

And the fourth complainant claims the cardinal used night prayers as an excuse for inappropriate contact.

Catherine Deveney, who wrote the story in the Observer about the accusations against the cardinal, told BBC Scotland this was “an extremely important story” because the cardinal had set a “moral blueprint” for the way other people should lead their lives.

She said the complainants against the cardinal were “men of integrity” who have “done a difficult thing and acted according to their conscience”.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said: “It would be a great pity if a lifetime of positive work was lost from comment in the circumstances of his resignation.

“None of us know the outcome of the investigation into the claims made against him but I have found him to be a good man for his church and country.”

Jack Valero, from Catholic Voices, a media lobby group that represents many Catholics in the UK, says the allegations against the cardinal have been handled properly.

“I think it’s right that he’s resigned, faced with these allegations.

“I am very happy that they have been taken seriously, that the nuncio – who is the Pope’s representative in the UK – has written to the four people who have made the allegations to thank them for speaking out, and that the whole thing has been done so quickly. I think this shows a new spirit.”

Colin MacFarlane, director of gay rights group Stonewall Scotland, which last year named the cardinal as Bigot of the Year said: “We trust there will be a full investigation into the serious allegations made against Cardinal Keith O’Brien.

“We hope that his successor will show a little more Christian charity towards openly gay people than the cardinal did himself.”

Clifford Longley, a religious commentator and columnist for the Catholic newspaper The Tablet, said the cardinal’s resignation was “devastating”.

“The worst thing that could possibly have happened to the church at this moment is to have another row like this when there already so many going on,” he said.

Last week Cardinal O’Brien said he believed priests should be able to marry if they wished to do so, saying the new Pope could consider whether the Roman Catholic Church should change its stance on some issues not of divine origin.

Source: BBC

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