A recently-resigned cardinal with a reputation for being anti-gay may have had a long-running physical relationship with another man, according to new reports.
The scandal began earlier this year when reports that Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien had “inappropriate contact” with male priests appeared in the British press. O’Brien, the highest ranking Catholic in the UK, resigned the next week, admitting that his “sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me.”
O’Brien’s resignation letter, however, remained quite vague as to what he had done wrong.
New reports published in the Scottish Herald, however, suggest that O’Brien had a “long-standing physical relationship” with one of the men whose accusations went public.
“The complainant is known to have been in regular telephone contact with Cardinal O’Brien until recently,” the paper writes, “and was a frequent visitor to St Benets, his official residence in Edinburgh’s Morningside.”
O’Brien is reported to have admitted to the relationship.
According to the Herald, this man and others made the decision to go public with their complaints in reaction comments from O’Brien
that they perceived as anti-gay.
O’Brien was called “bigot of the year” by gay advocacy group Stonewall last year after saying gay marriage a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right” and that same-sex partnerships were “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of those involved.”
According to the Herald he has also referred to homosexuality as a “moral degradation.”
O’Brien’s resignation came just weeks after reports in the Italian media that Pope Benedict XVI resigned after talk of an unchecked “gay lobby” in the Vatican.
After O’Brien’s resignation was announced, Professor John Haldane, an adviser to the Vatican and a leading commentator on Scottish
Catholic affairs at St Andrews University, wrote an article for the Catholic magazine the Tablet saying the incident showed that the
Catholic Church was guilty of denouncing homosexuality while knowing a fair number of their own clergy had homosexual feelings.