Moves to get cardinal to leave UK
Publication Date: 2013-05-10
Suggestions made that it may be best if Cardinal O’Brien retires outside the country
Cardinal Keith O’Brien has been advised to leave the UK after stepping down from public life and in light of his recent admissions over his conduct that have caused great difficulty for the Church.
Last week the retired Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh began moving into the Church-owned home in East Lothian that he had been planning to retire to for a number of years prior to his recent statement that his behaviour had fallen short of what was required of his office.
Sources close to the developments told the SCO that—in spite of recently getting approval from the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, to retire as planned to Our Lady of the Waves parish in Dunbar—there had been a late push for the cardinal to leave the UK ‘for the good of the Church.’
However, a spokesman for the Scottish bishops said it was not ‘the plan of the Catholic Church in Scotland to have the cardinal leave Scotland.’
“It is also mistaken to say that the Church in Scotland communicated that plan to the cardinal,” he said. “Decisions about the cardinal’s future are not ours to take and the Scottish bishops have not taken any such decisions nor communicated them.”
After the cardinal stepped down from public life prior to the recent Papal Conclave, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow, president of Scotland’s bishops and the Apostolic administrator for St Andrews and Edinburgh, said the Scottish Church’s ‘credibility and moral authority have been undermined’ in the wake of the cardinal’s admission and resignation.
It is not known where the cardinal would go if he leaves Scotland.
The cardinal said last week, before the secular media leaked confidential Vatican advice directing him to leave Scotland, that he had been humbled by recent events that prompted him to retire shortly before his 75th birthday in March after admitting to ‘inappropriate behaviour’ with three priests and a former priest.
“It has been quite a difficult, quite a humbling experience for me,” he is reported to have said.
The cardinal added that he had been moved by the support shown to him in his hour of need.
“If Christianity is about anything at all, it is about forgiveness,” he said.
Canon John Creanor, parish priest of Our Lady of the Waves parish and a friend of the cardinal’s, said the cardinal would always find a warm welcome at his door.
Lothians MSP Margo MacDonald, another friend of the cardinal, agreed with Canon Treanor that the cardinal was welcome in the area.
— This story ran in full in the May 10 print edition of the SCO