Is the credibility of the Scottish Catholic Church in question? One day after facing accusations of sexual abuse, Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Great Britian has announced that he will be stepping down ahead of schedule and will not be participating in the vote for the next pope. From The Telegraph.
Let’s spell this out bluntly. The most senior Catholic cleric in Britain, Cardinal Keith O’Brien of St Andrews and Edinburgh, has been forced to resign ahead of schedule following allegations that he made homosexual advances to younger clergy in his diocese – and isn’t now expected to attend the conclave to elect the next Pope. There will now be no Briton in the Sistine Chapel when voting takes place. O’Brien’s early resignation is believed to have been at the personal insistence of Benedict XVI, in one of his last acts as Pope.
The Cardinal denies the allegations, whose publication has been carefully timed – but his decision will remind the cardinals meeting in Rome next month that allegations against its clergy have now permeated the entire institution.
If the charges against O’Brien have any substance to them, then the public credibility of the Scottish Catholic Church will collapse. And the rejoicing of the enemies of conservative Catholicism, who are especially vocal in Scotland, will be deafening.