Top British Cardinal Quits With Immediate Effect
Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric resigned as head of the Catholic Church in Scotland with immediate effect yesterday in the wake of claims that he made sexual advances towards priests.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien — who steps down as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh — denies the allegations, which date back to the 1980s, but he apologised to anyone offended by “failures” during his ministry.
The 74-year-old had been due to be the only British cardinal to vote on a replacement for Pope Benedict XVI following the pontiff’s shock resignation on February 11.
But O’Brien confirmed in his resignation statement that he will not take part in the election conclave, which has been overshadowed by controversies surrounding O’Brien and other cardinals caught up in sex scandals.
“I will not join them for this conclave in person,” O’Brien said.
“I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me — but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor.”
He added: “Looking back over my years of ministry: for any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologise to all whom I have offended.” — AFP.