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The cardinal tripped and fell below the standards

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, after saying “I never!!” for several days, has given a delicate admission that he was sexually…well he doesn’t say exactly, apart from admitting that it wasn’t quite the done thing. Well he’s a Catholic priest, and a high-ranking one, you can’t expect him to just come right out and say he fucked goats or had affairs with slabs of liver or raped children in the confessional.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, formerly Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, today admitted his sexual conduct had “fallen beneath the standards expected of me”.

The Northern Ireland-born cleric stepped down from his post as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh last month, a day after three priests and one former priest made allegations of “inappropriate” behaviour against him.

After initially denying the allegations, the cardinal last night admitted sexual wrongdoing for the first time, as he asked forgiveness for those he had “offended”.

Lots of squeamish wording there, as the Indy’s scare-quotes hint, and no particulars at all. Inappropriate is it. Hmm. He announced he had a hard-on in the middle of Mass? He played with himself while telling the nuns what to do? He plastered his office with photos of sheep?

And then the apology to those he “offended” is rich. “Sorry for raping you in the bum, little Johnny, hope you weren’t too offended.”

Last night Mr O’Brien, 74, said: “I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland.”

Until the allegations last month, the cardinal had been outspoken on issues including euthanasia and abortion, and had described gay marriage as a “grotesque subversion”.

Yeeeah, that’s how that works. He can marry chickens, but gay marriage is grotesque. One law for me, a totally other kind of law for thee. Now get the fuck off my santified lawn.

Comments

  1. Landon says

    It’s often been said that if a secular organization had moved to protect its members from prosecution the way the Catholic Church has, it would be considered a criminal conspiracy. I wish some prosecutor somewhere would take that seriously and just start smacking the bastards around with RICO laws. We’d see just how quick they started turning over pedophiles if they were hit in their wallets. It will never happen, obviously, for political reasons, but I can dream, right?

  2. AsqJames says

    In recent days certain allegations which have been made against me have become public. Initially, their anonymous and non-specific nature led me to contest them.

    Translation: At first I thought I could get away with denying everything (even though I didn’t know what it was I was denying).

    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.

    Trans: But it’s now become clear to me that no one is buying it, the truth was going to come out eventually, and basically my career is buggered (just like those young priests I forced myself on).

    To those I have offended, I apologise and ask forgiveness. To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologise. I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland.

    Trans: Alright, I’m sorry! Can’t you just let it go now? I’m resigning OK, so there won’t be any more 1-on-1 “special clerical training” weekends at the Bishop’s palace. Giving any more details to the media/authorities won’t stop it in the future, because it’s all in the past now. Let’s draw a line under it and move on…please?

    Notes to editors:
    1. This is the only statement, which Cardinal O’Brien will be issuing.
    2. Cardinal O’Brien will not attend the Conclave to elect the new Pope.
    3. Cardinal O’Brien is now out of the country and will not be available for interview.

    Trans:

    1. I’m saying nothing else without a lawyer present.
    2. I won’t vote for the new Pope, but there may be other reasons for me to visit the Vatican right now.
    3. In fact, I think I really ought to stay awhile and keep Benny company in his retirement.

  3. Mandrellian, Kicker of Biological Goals says

    Whatever the Card’s ghastly offence was, it clearly didn’t result in a pregnancy. As we know, the Vatican pretty much has a zero-tolerance policy for any ugly-bumping that doesn’t produce more tithe-vectors.

  4. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologise. I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland.

    … This is the only statement, which Cardinal O’Brien will be issuing.

    just think how much you’re going to be missing. You don’t have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference

    Rhetoric: Those who don’t study it are doomed to repeat it.

  5. says

    I’ve seen it claimed on a gay news blog that this is actually a sorta admission of being gay rather than a pedophile, that he supposedly made advances toward, inappropriately touched and was rejected by a few seminarians who went on to become priests and who have reported it. Which means they would have been at least 18.

    But who knows.

  6. says

    OK, looked a bit further and though some seminaries limit ages of seminarians to 18-45, others have programs for people under 18.
    So, I dunno.

  7. And How says

    Typical confessional with Cardinal O’Brien

    Penitent: “Bless me Father, for I have sinned”

    Cardinal OBrien: “So Have I!”

    :)

  8. says

    Robert Pigott BBC:

    “Whatever else it tells us, the cardinal’s statement does sit uneasily with his years of outspoken denunciation of homosexual relationships”

    BBC Analysis:

    “Cardinal O’Brien will be remembered in particular as a forthright defender, occasionally in outspoken and colourful terms of Catholic teaching on abortion, euthanasia and homosexuality.” Defender of homosexuality is absolutely an understatement of the day.

    http://bbc.in/VqQbuW

    It’s absolutely disgraceful of Cardinal O’Brien. So utterly hypocritical.

  9. Claire Ramsey says

    “. . .my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.”

    Call me naive (and protestant-raised) but I thought the meaning of that vow of celibacy was “no sexual conduct” – all those feelings are supposed to given to the guy upstairs.

  10. Matt Penfold says

    OK, looked a bit further and though some seminaries limit ages of seminarians to 18-45, others have programs for people under 18.
    So, I dunno.

    The four people (three serving priests, one an ex-priest) who said O’Brien had behaved inappropriately towards them were all over 18 at the time. The accusations against O’Brien have nothing to do with pedophilia, but everything to do with a man abusing his position of authority and hypocrisy.

  11. freemage says

    So he wasn’t a pedophile (yay!). He was just a sexual harasser who preyed on his subordinates, who would’ve needed his approval to gain their positions. I… suppose that’s better, kinda?

  12. Didaktylos says

    @#10 – Celibacy only means not getting married. Only monks & nuns take an actual vow of chastity.Technically, it’s no worse a sin per se for a priest to have sex than it is for a member of the laity.

  13. And How says

    @14.

    I always heard celibacy is a commitment a) to not get married AND b) abstain from sex as well.

    Of course, if I’m right and part of the agreement is to abstain from sex – the question becomes what is the definition of “sex”?

    Probably something along the line of Bill Clinton’s definition – is what I’m thinking. :)

  14. says

    It would be interesting to know how old the people (apparently part of the priesthood?) were at the time, and how long ago it happened. There’s a good chance that he’s a pedophile who just – for all intents and purposes – said “NYAA NYAA NYAA! I got mine, fuck you!”

  15. sailor1031 says

    “my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal”

    That won’t quite do, cardinal darlin’. As a ‘prince of the church’ you are not allowed ANY sexual conduct. There is no standard applicable to ‘no sex, no, no – none at all’ I see what you did there you sanctimonious hypocrite.

  16. says

    @Marcus Ranum:

    The charges against O’Brien are that he sexually harassed a 20-year-old seminarian (who later left the priesthood), and also had ‘inappropriate contact’ with at least three priests (all of whom were adults at the time) while he was an archbishop in the 1980s. He is charged with sexual harassment, and potentially with sexual assault.

    @Landon:

    RICO doesn’t apply in this particular case, since it’s a US law – I don’t know what the UK equivalent would be, if there is one. RICO cases have been filed in several jurisdictions in the US, against the local Catholic dioceses. I don’t know the results of those cases.

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