Scottish cardinal who recused himself from conclave dies

Erika Holt
March 20, 2018

The cardinal, who resigned as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh in 2013 after apologising for sexual misconduct, had been hurt in a recent fall. "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, the late cardinal said in his resignation statement".

In 1985, he was ordained as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh and became Cardinal in 2003.

Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien, who stepped down as archbishop of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2013 after admitting to inappropriate sexual conduct throughout his ministry, died March 19 at the age of 80.

After stepping down, Cardinal O'Brien retired from public life and moved to the north of England.

The Catholic Church has been embroiled for years in sexual scandals, most notoriously involving the abuse of children in Ireland and the United States, which were covered up by senior clerics. "May he rest in peace", Archbishop Cushley said. "I saw Tettamanzi [late Archbishop of Milan] and I said, 'Who's the wee fat guy?' I know the famous ones, like [Cardinal] Martini and so forth".

Mr O'Brien passed away in the care of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Newcastle upon Tyne on Monday.

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The cardinal's decision was considered unprecedented and had, by some accounts, been ordered by the retiring pope himself.

Cardinal O'Brien was born in Ballycastle, County Antrim, and educated in Scotland, where he attended St Patrick's High School in Dumbarton and Holy Cross Academy in Edinburgh.

Pope Francis, Benedict's successor, ultimately permitted him to retain the title of cardinal but, in effect, stripped him of all privileges associated with that rank, including the right to vote in any Vatican conclave.

Catherine Deveney, the journalist involved in reporting the abusive behaviour, said people should not forget the serious issues within the Catholic Church that the cardinal represented. "I don't have a problem with the personal life of a person", he added, "as long as they are not flaunting their sexuality".

Ordained a priest in 1965, he had a bachelor's degree in chemistry and mathematics and served as a spiritual director of St. Andrew's College in Drygrange and rector of St. Mary's College in Blairs before being named archbishop.

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