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Britain's top Catholic Cardinal O'Brien admits his mistakes

david kingstrom By david kingstrom | March 03, 2013 | United Kingdom

The disgrace of Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic was complete last night as Cardinal Keith O’Brien admitted to sexual misconduct.

In a shock statement, Cardinal O’Brien effectively admitted that allegations that he made homosexual approaches to young trainee priests were true.
 
Until a week ago Cardinal O’Brien, 74, had been preparing to help choose the next Pope. But last night he admitted his ‘sexual conduct’ had ‘fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal’. He said sorry and added that he was retiring from public life.

His admission left the Roman Catholic church in both England and Scotland in deep crisis over sexual standards and apparent hypocrisy on the part of its most senior priest.
 
The conclave – which does not now include any representative from Britain – will have to cope with both the fallout from years of sex-abuse allegations and the dramatic new evidence that even the most senior Roman Catholics do not always practise what they preach.
 
The force of the complaints became apparent last Monday when Pope Benedict XVI ordered Cardinal O’Brien to retire immediately.

The church in Scotland is now under the temporary leadership of Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia, who does not hold the rank of cardinal and so cannot take Cardinal O’Brien’s place in the papal conclave. No English cleric is qualified to join the conclave.


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