BY Staff Reporter | May 10 2013 | comments icon 16 COMMENTS     print icon print


Moves to get cardinal to leave UK

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

Comments - 16 Responses

  1. Dream says:

    It would be very good indeed for Scotland for the resigned Cardinal to leave.
    Firstly his behaviour has brought the entire Catholic Church into disrepute.
    Secondly he has much unconscious influence over many priests and lay Catholics which might be used unwisely.
    Thirdly a new start is needed, with Bishops from religious orders whose formation has been absolutely chaste.
    His behaviour was and remains unacceptable.

    • M Dorrian says:

      Gosh, it must be wonderful to be as perfect as you appear to think you are. You are well named for you are surely living in a Dream. Your middle name should be ‘Hypocrite’.

  2. Tom Kearns says:

    John 8:10-11

  3. Jean Mackenzie says:

    It is all very well to say that the Cardinal has not behaved appropriately and the Scottish Church’s ‘credibility and moral authority have been undermined’, but why is it not recognized that the Church has failed many of its members?

    Getting back to Christ’s words [or a translation of them] “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone!”

    There is something radically rotten in the way in which the Church is dealing with its power!

  4. Kenny Purdie says:

    I think the Cardinal should stay in Scotland, but with the lowest possible profile. Perhaps a convent Chaplain or something. He is an elderly man and … some charity must be shown.

  5. Dream says:

    The most significant danger of allowing the resigned Cardinal to remain in Scotland is that he may be able to use his network of associates to influence the appointment of the next Bishops.

  6. Stephen O'Mara says:

    Matthew 5:22-24
    22 But now I tell you: whoever is angry with his brother will be brought to trial, whoever calls his brother ‘You good-for-nothing!’ will be brought before the Council, and whoever calls his brother a worthless fool will be in danger of going to the fire of hell.
    23 So if you are about to offer your gift to God at the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you,
    24 leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift to God.

  7. liz says:

    If he wishes to stay let him. Yes he did wrong but then so has every living person done something wrong ( only and honest person would admit they have done wrong which he did) the church was already losing people and to blame the Cardinal is wrong. I can understand people being upset but then I can understand forgiveness also. I honestly thought the Christians attended the catholic church, and would never have thought they would blame one person for bringing the catholic church down. I was wrong!

  8. Dream says:

    We could remember his victims. It would be good for them to be able to live and work safely in Scotland without fear of retribution.
    There may be priests and religious who would be able to return to Scotand if the resigned Cardinal leaves, and there is a national shorage of both.

    • M Dorrian says:

      Oh for crying out loud. You’d think he’d murdered someone! If he had, he’d have got four years and a clean slate. Can I again refer you back to the report on Pope Francis’ first Sunday Mass homily:
      “In his homily, Francis spoke only five minutes, saying the core message is ‘that of mercy.’
      He said God has an unfathomable capacity to pardon, and noted that people are often harder on each other than God is towards sinners.”
      I reckon that having repented, the Cardinal’s soul is in a far better state than many of those spouting the sanctimonious hypocritical claptrap that has, in the past week, made me feel ashamed to be a Catholic. Let us see if the Vatican and our Bishops, and indeed lay Catholics in Scotland pay any heed at all to the words of Pope Francis.
      Those who continue with this vendetta would be better occupied in demanding action against paedophile priests AND those who protect them, as well as question why other similar incidents have been whitewashed with priests remaining in their parishes. It seems that this behaviour is acceptable and forgiveable unless your name is O’Brien.

  9. Dream says:

    We could remember his victims. It would be good for them to be able to live and work safely in Scotland without fear of retribution.
    There may be priests and religious who would be able to return to Scotand if the resigned Cardinal leaves, and there is a national shortage of both.

  10. Dream says:

    Not only the resigned cardinal could be asked to leave. Some of his recent appointees could be asked to go with him.
    In this way the country could be cleansed and the way cleared for a return to decent Christian values.

  11. Gaby says:

    At Dream
    Well, you seemed to be very well informed when you say “there may be priests and religious who be able to return to Scotland if the resigned Cardinal leaves”. He had such an influence that so many people left the country? And regarding his “victims” if there is a matter for a trial, there are going to be exposed even if he leaves the country.If there is no matter for a trial, so it is just a question of private life and he has not to be deported. I am not a partisan of the Cardinal at all but I think I spent all his life serving the Church. Yes he failed in his private life, yes he have sinned (as we all are able to do)but it is not even a question of forgiveness, it is just the fact that he worked all his life and now he is worth to have a retirement. It would be definitively disgusting and a shame for the Church to cut him from the people he like. Yes, he behaved badly but as far as we can know, it was against ADULT not CHILDREN and I think for having being harassed and groped many times at work places by some of my bosses that an adult is able to say ‘No’.

  12. Daniel says:

    Gaby – I’m worried you have missed the point, as many have on this issue. Whilst we have a right to a private life we have certain greater rights, including those in relation to living without sexual harrassment and assault. This is why the courts and police are able to access people’s private lives. It just so happens that no complaint has been made in this case, for whatever reason. Perhaps the clergy involved feel the point has been made and a police/criminal complaint would be gratuitous and too much. Although I no longer practice I understand everyone’s upset and at times anger on this issue, a sense of feeling badly let down by hypocrisy and lies. The cardinal would do well to leave the UK.

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