According to the Vatican Information Service:
“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.”
Cardinal O’Brien had been accused of making homosexual advances toward at least four seminarians in the 1980s. The Cardinal originally denied the accusations; but as additional information was revealed, he admitted his past inappropriate behavior and resigned from office. In early March, he announced that he would not attend the Conclave to elect a new pope.
In his resignation statement, Cardinal O’Brien said:
“There have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.”
He apologized and asked for forgiveness.
The Vatican has not disclosed any information regarding any conversation which may have occurred between Cardinal O’Brien and the new pope. It is apparent, though, that the early hopes of some–that they might find in Francis a kindred spirit who might wink at sexual improprieties–are being dashed. The new pope is amiable and quick witted, and has won the hearts of the faithful; but he is also a firm protector of Catholic teaching, and is not afraid to tread on toes in order to protect the reputation and the solid foundation of the Church.
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Let us pray—
FOR THE CHURCH, that she will continue to defend the truth which has been handed to her by the apostles.
FOR POPE FRANCIS, that he will continue to lead with vigor.
FOR CARDINAL O’BRIEN, that he will repent and sin no more.
FOR OURSELVES—mindful of our own sinfulness, and remembering our petition that our Father forgive us as we forgive those who have trespassed against us—that we will find the grace to forgive Cardinal O’Brien and all clergy who have by their sins caused harm to the Body of Christ, and that we will in charity offer prayers for our fallen brother, not gossip or malice.