Cardinal Keith O'Brien looks out of a window from a room in
his home in Edinburgh. REUTERS/David Moir
A Roman Catholic cardinal who resigned as head of the
church in Scotland has apologised for sexual conduct which he
said had "fallen below the standards expected of me".
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who was Britain's most senior
Catholic cleric, resigned on February 25 as archbishop and
said he would not take part in the conclave to elect a new
pope after newspaper allegations of inappropriate behaviour
"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 said in a statement posted on the Scottish
Catholic media office website on Sunday.
"To those I have offended, I apologise and ask forgiveness.
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."
O'Brien's resignation as archbishop of St. Andrews and
Edinburgh was announced a day after the Observer newspaper
reported that three priests and one former priest from a
Scottish diocese had complained over incidents dating back to
The Observer said O'Brien, an outspoken opponent of moves in
Britain to legalise gay marriage, had been reported to the
Vatican over the unspecified incidents.
The cardinal initially rejected the allegations and said he
was seeking legal advice. He said he would not take part in
the conclave to avoid focusing media attention on himself.
Last year, O'Brien's comments labelling gay marriage "a
grotesque subversion" landed him with a "Bigot of the Year"
award from gay rights group Stonewall.