Friends of the disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien say he’s been ordered by the Vatican into exile and ditch his plans for retirement in Scotland.
The Herald commented that: ‘It is the clearest indication yet of the Vatican’s unwillingness to let the matter drift’ of the Cardinal’s sexual assault on male priests when he run seminaries in the 1980s and during a drinks party in Rome.
According to the The Herald, O’Brien was given the news yesterday (3 May) after starting to move his belongings from his Edinburgh residence to his retirement home in Dunbar, East Lothain, three days ago.
The Herald revealed on Thursday that Philip Tartaglia Archbishop of Glasgow and likely to become O’Brien’s successor, was behind an appeal to the Vatican to intervene after Cardinal O’Brien’s re-emergence in Scotland this week.
O’Brien remains the only cardinal and most senior Catholic cleric in the UK, despite being forced to retire from the post of Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh by Pope Benedict XVI after admitting ‘inappropriate behaviour’ with four priests and a seminarian.
The disgraced Cardinal was also a vehement opponent of LGBT rights and gay marriage saying it would lead to a ‘further degeneration of society into immorality.’
Last year he was voted ‘bigot of the year’ by gay rights group Stonewall.
O’Brien, for his part, was quoted as saying: ‘I’m just trying to do my best to live a good Christian life myself now.
‘I have been supported by many good Christian people and many people of no religion at all who realise I have said sorry for anyone I have offended.
‘If Christianity is about anything at all, it’s about forgiveness. That’s what I have to do as a cardinal priest – just forgive the wrongdoer and help them go back on to the right path.
‘It’s been quite a difficult, quite a humbling experience for me. It’s very difficult for them [the men whose complaints led to his retirement]. That is why I have apologised for being a teacher who has not been able to live up to the teaching of the Church.
‘We know what’s against God’s law. Consequently, we should try to live by God’s law. I’ve apologised for my failures in that respect.’
Asked about any Vatican investigation, he said: ‘It’s up to those who are responsible in Rome for me to answer that sort of question.’
Robert McDowall, the Scottish chair of the LGBT Network, an international voluntary charity told Gay Star News: ‘With the encouragement of the Vatican, O’Brien spread an anti-gay campaign causing untold hardship and distress to young LGBT Christians In the process.
‘He also declared war on marriage equality and tried to bully both the Scottish and UK government to abandon their efforts to advance it, acts which he has not apologized nor asked forgiveness for.
‘It is likely that in part his hateful campaign, inability to ask for forgiveness, as well as his sexual assault of male priests stems from a conflict of his sexuality with his faith.
‘Instead of trying to cover up the Cardinal’s affair, the Vatican and O’Brien should do the Christian act of asking for forgiveness and helping put an end to the cycle of hate.
‘The Church should allow the Cardinal to stay in Scotland after apologizing and asking for forgiveness, to setup a project working with young LGBT Christians in conflict with their religion and sexual orientation.’
Commenting on the news, vertan human rights advocate, Peter Tatchell, told Gay Star News: ‘The Cardinal is being hung out to dry by the Vatican. It regards the revelations of his long-standing secret gay life as an embarrassment and want to get rid of him.
‘This is all about the Vatican saving face. They don’t give a damn about O’Brien’s welfare, his victims or the harm he caused LGBT people. As ever, the Catholic leadership is driven by anti-gay dogma’.