Report: Cardinal O’Brien had long-term relationship with accuser

Accusations may have come in response to O’Brien’s statements on same-sex marriage

The Scottish Herald is reporting that Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Edinburgh—who earlier this month admitted to and apologized for sexual misconduct, following his resignation—had a long-term relationship with one of the priests who accused him of inappropriate behavior.

From the Herald:

Cardinal Keith O’Brien had a long-standing physical relationship with one of the men whose complaints about his behaviour sparked his downfall as leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland.

The man left the priesthood in the middle of the last decade but rejoined and is living on the continent in a post the cardinal helped him secure.

The complainant is known to have been in regular telephone contact with Cardinal O’Brien until recently and was a frequent visitor to St Benets, his official residence in Edinburgh’s Morningside.

The report also claims that the accusations against O’Brien were levied in response to the cardinal’s strong statements in opposition to homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

It also emerged the dramatic downfall of Britain’s leading Catholic cleric was spurred by gay priests angry at his rhetoric and hypocrisy about same-sex marriages.

All those who complained about Cardinal O’Brien and alleged they had been abused by him were known to him for decades. At least two are known to have been in same-sex relationships and had become exasperated at double standards in his statements about gay marriage.

In the six months building up to him being forced to stand down last month, the cardinal had been under some pressure from priests to tone down the rhetoric.

However, his statements, such as describing homosexuality as a “moral degradation”, were a tipping point for those previously close to him.


About Catherine Harmon 567 Articles

Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.