Disgraced former Cardinal Keith O’Brien is to leave Scotland for several months after admitting inappropriate sexual conduct during his church career, the Vatican has said.
Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric resigned earlier this year amid allegations that he made homosexual approaches to young trainee priests.
The Vatican confirmed today that O’Brien will leave Scotland ‘for spiritual renewal’.
The cardinal stepped down as leader of the Scottish Catholic Church at the end of February after admitting that his sexual conduct ‘had fallen beneath the standards’ expected of him during his almost 50-year career.
He indicated that he would not contest claims by three priests and a former priest of inappropriate behaviour dating back to the 1980s, and intended to retire permanently from the public life of the church.
This afternoon, the Holy See Press Office issued the following press release:
“His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, archbishop emeritus of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, for the same reasons he decided not to participate in the last Conclave, and in agreement with the Holy Father, will be leaving Scotland for several months for the purpose of spiritual renewal, prayer, and penance. Any decision regarding future arrangements for His Eminence shall be agreed with the Holy See.”