Three priests and a former priest have said that they felt “vindicated” after Scotland’s Cardinal Keith O’Brien admitted sexual misconduct.
The group had accused the senior Roman Catholic clergyman of “inappropriate behaviour” towards them in the 1980s.
Catherine Deveney, the journalist who broke the story in The Observer, said she had spoken to the four men, who were “relieved at being vindicated”.
Cardinal O’Brien said he was sorry for not meeting the standards expected. In a statement on Sunday, he admitted he had initially contested the “anonymous and non-specific” allegations.
While not addressing the cases of the four men directly, he added: “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.
“To those I have offended, I apologise and ask forgiveness. To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologise.”
The cardinal, who resigned last week as archbishop of the St Andrews and Edinburgh diocese, is now expected to face a Vatican inquiry…
In the allegations, one former priest claimed 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.
A second statement from another complainant said he was living in a parish when he was visited by Cardinal O’Brien and inappropriate contact took place between them.
A third complainant alleged that he had dealt with what he described as “unwanted behaviour” by the cardinal in the 1980s after some late-night drinking.
The fourth complainant claimed the cardinal used night prayers as an excuse for inappropriate contact.
During his public role in Scotland’s Roman Catholic church, Cardinal O’Brien used strong language to condemn homosexuality. Last year he said that same-sex relationships were a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”.
- BBC News