Catholic Church scandal: Cardinal Keith O'Brien faces Vatican inquiry over allegations of sexual misconduct as he asks forgiveness of those he 'offended'

 

RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS CORESPONDENT

Britain’s most senior Catholic clergymen looks set to face a Vatican inquiry over allegations of sexual misconduct with the body that was once headed by Pope Benedict set to lead the investigation.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the Vatican council charged with confronting major transgressions by clergy, will likely launch an investigation into Cardinal Keith O’Brien once the new Pope is chosen.

The Catholic Church in Scotland has been plunged into crisis after the Cardinal admitted in a brief statement on Sunday evening that allegations against him from three current priests and one former clergyman that he sexually molested them had some substance.

After initially threatening the journalist who broke the story with legal action, O’Brien admitted in his weekend statement that his sexual conduct “had fallen below the standards expected of me”.

Vatican spokesmen yesterday refused to confirm whether an investigation would be launched but the Scottish Catholic Media Office said they expected an enquiry would take place once Benedict XVI’s successor is chosen.

It is usually officials from the CDF who lead such investigations. Before he became Pope Benedict, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger headed up the CDF and earned the nickname “God’s Rottweiler” for his pursuit of clergy who strayed from orthodox Catholic teachings. However the pontifical council was also attacked by critics for the way it has handled inquiries into historical sex abuse scandals.

All but 25 of the Cardinals that are set to choose the new Pope have now arrived in Rome. Yesterday [MON] they took the vow of secrecy that starts the Papal Conclave and began to meet in “general congregations” to sketch out a profile of what they need from a new Pontiff.

According to a report by Reuters’ Vatican Correspondent Philip Pullella, the cardinals have asked to be briefed on a secret report that was commissioned by Benedict to look into the so-called “Vatileaks” scandal – a series of allegations of mismanagement, corruption and political bickering at the heart of the Vatican.

As the Papal Conclave gets underway it looks set to be overshadowed the twin scandals surrounding the Vatileaks report and the moral authority of senior clerics. As well as the furore surrounding Cardinal O’Brien there is a growing campaign to stop the American Cardinal Roger Mahony from voting for the new Pope.

As archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985, Mahony worked to send priests known to be abusers out of the state to shield them from law enforcement scrutiny, according to church files unsealed under a U.S. court order last month.

Cardinal O’Brien previously announced his retirement when the allegations against him first emerged a fortnight ago and he confirmed over the weekend that he would no longer play any public role in Catholic Church. He added that he apologised to “the Catholic Church and the people of Scotland”. But gay rights groups have called on the Cardinal to offer a specific apology to the LGBT community because he was such a prolific opponent of homosexuality and gay marriage.

“O'Brien's statement falls well short of what we would expect from a spiritual leader,” said the veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. “He has failed to apologize for the hatred and harm he caused the LGBT community. I urge the Cardinal to show true remorse for his homophobia and hypocrisy by saying sorry to the LGBT community for the hatred and harm he has caused - and by publicly repenting his homophobia.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor