Disgraced O’Brien is stripped of the rights of a cardinal

Cardinal Keith O'Brien
Cardinal Keith O'Brien

Pope Francis has now officially accepted the resignation of disgraced Scottish cardinal, Keith O’Brien, from the rights and duties of a cardinal.

He will retain the title of cardinal, the Church said, but has now been formally stripped of the “rights and duties” of the role after an investigation.

Cardinal O’Brien will also be reduced to a strictly private life, with no further participation in any public, religious or civil events.

A frequent and popular visitor to the Borders, Cardinal O’Brien, 77, stepped down from the archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh in February 2013 after three priests and a former priest made allegations of inappropriate behaviour against him.

His resignation has now been made official by the Vatican and Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews and Edinburgh said he was confident the decision of the pope was fair, equitable and proportionate.

Pope Francis’ decision was based on the findings of last year’s fact-finding mission to Scotland by his personal envoy, Archbishop Charles Scicluna.

In a statement this week, Cardinal O’Brien said: “I wish to repeat the apology which I made to the Catholic Church and the people of Scotland some two years ago.

“I then said that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me. For that I am deeply sorry.

“I thank Pope Francis for his fatherly care of me and of those I have offended in any way. I will continue to play no part in the public life of the Church in Scotland; and will dedicate the rest of my life in retirement, praying especially for the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, for Scotland, and for those I have offended in any way”.