Cardinal sorry for sexual conduct
Cardinal Keith O'Brien said he plans to spend the rest of his life in retirement. Photograph: David Cheskin/PA Wire
Resigned Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien has admitted that his "sexual conduct" has fallen below expected standards.
At times "my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me" he said in a statement issued tonight by the Catholic Church in Scotland.
Britain's most senior Catholic cleric, resigned last week. He denied allegations that he behaved inappropriately with priests over a period of 30 years, but said he was quitting the job of archbishop of Edinburgh.
Cardinal O'Brien said he plans to spend the rest of his life in retirement. The cardinal said he will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland.
"In recent days certain allegations which have been made against me have become public," he said in a statement.
"Initially, their anonymous and non- specific nature led me to contest them. However, I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal."
He said he apologised and asked forgiveness of those he has "offended." He also said: "To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologise".
O'Brien's resignation as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh was announced a day after the Observer newspaper reported that three priests and one former priest from a Scottish diocese had complained over incidents dating back to the 1980s.
The Observer said O'Brien, an outspoken opponent of moves in Britain to legalise gay marriage, had been reported to the Vatican over the unspecified incidents.
The cardinal initially rejected the allegations and said he was seeking legal advice. He said he would not take part in the conclave to avoid focusing media attention on himself.
Last year, O'Brien's comments labelling gay marriage "a grotesque subversion" landed him with a "Bigot of the Year" award from gay rights group Stonewall.