Cardinal Keith O’Brien Acknowledges Sexual Misconduct
Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, acknowledged Sunday that he had been guilty of sexual misconduct, a week after he announced his resignation and said he would not attend the conclave to choose the next pope. The moves followed revelations that three current and one former priest had accused him of inappropriate sexual contact dating back decades.
Cardinal O’Brien, the head of the church in Scotland, is the highest-ranking figure in the church’s recent history to make such an admission.
“I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal,” Cardinal O’Brien, 74, said in a statement.
The statement stunned many in the Scottish church and beyond. Some said the cardinal’s statement appeared to raise the possibility that the undefined sexual activities he acknowledged may not be restricted to the known allegations, the earliest of which relates to 1980. Ordained in 1965, he became an archbishop in 1985, but was not named cardinal until 2003.