Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, is stepping down as leader of the Scottish Catholic Church. He had been accused of inappropriate behaviour towards priests dating back to the 1980s – claims he contests.
Cardinal O’Brien, the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, apologised to “all whom I have offended” for “any failures” during his ministry.
He will not take part in electing a new pope, leaving Britain unrepresented.
The resignation of Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the wake of allegations of improper behaviour creates a crisis for the Church in Scotland, and represents a heavy blow to the wider Church as it battles to shore up its reputation ahead of the papal election or “conclave”.