Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who resigned yesterday as leader of the Scottish Catholic Church after being accused of inappropriate conduct, had links to Derry.
The Ballycastle-born cleric has been accused of inappropriate behaviour towards priests dating back to the 1980s - claims he contests.
In a statement, Cardinal O’Brien, the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, apologised to those he had offended for “failures” during his ministry.
It’s also been confirmed that he will not take part in electing a new pope, leaving Britain unrepresented at the forthcoming papal conclave.
Cardinal O’Brien took part in a three day official visit to Derry in February 2009.
During his stay in the city, he celebrated Mass in St. Eugene’s Cathedral, was the special guest at the annual Pope John Paul II Award presentations, met with local school principals, civic and community leaders and was the keynote speaker at a seminar in St Mary’s College.
Last weekend ‘The Observer’ newspaper reported that three priests and one former priest, from the diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, complained to the Pope’s representative to Britain, Nuncio Antonio Mennini, about Cardinal O’Brien’s alleged behaviour. The former priest claims Cardinal O’Brien made an inappropriate approach to him in 1980, after night prayers, when he was a seminarian at St Andrew’s College, Drygrange.
A second complainant claims he was living in a parish when he was visited by the cleric and inappropriate contact took place between them.
A third complainant alleges “unwanted behaviour” by the cardinal after some late-night drinking while the the fourth complainant claims the cardinal used night prayers as an excuse for inappropriate contact.