Edinburgh, Scotland, Feb 25, 2013 / 05:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict XVI has accepted Cardinal Keith P. O’Brien’s resignation, and the cardinal has announced he will not attend the conclave.
“Approaching the age of seventy-five and at times in indifferent health, I tendered my resignation as Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh to Pope Benedict XVI some months ago. I was happy to know that he accepted my resignation ‘nunc pro tunc’ – (now – but to take effect later) on 13 November 2012,” Cardinal O’Brien said in a Feb. 25 statement.
The Pope decided on Feb. 18 that he would accept his resignation effective Feb. 25.
The cardinal recently became the focus of allegations by three priests and a former clergyman who say they received inappropriate sexual advances from him during the 1980s.
The leader of the Saint Andrews and Edinburgh Archdiocese also announced that he will not be attending the conclave to elect the next Pope.
“I also ask God’s blessing on my brother Cardinals who will soon gather in Rome to elect his successor. I will not join them for this Conclave in person,” he said.
“I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me – but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his Successor,” the Scottish cardinal added.
Pope Benedict will appoint an apostolic administrator to oversee the archdiocese until the next Pope chooses his replacement. (source)
Wow that was a compressed chain of events:
- 22 Feb – Cardinal O’Brien said he believes priests should be able to marry if they wish to do so.
- 24 Feb – Three priests and a former priest accuse Cardinal O’Brien of “inappropriate acts.”
- 25 Feb – Pope accepts Cardinal’s resignation earlier than scheduled.
This has been a test of my own charity in regard to connection of these events. Whenever somebody in the Church starts advocating for a change in discipline in regards to priestly celibacy I am usually suspicious of their motives. When charges against him rapidly came out I easily jumped to the “yeah I knew it” instead of being as skeptical against such charges as I usually am.
Regardless his decision to not attend the Conclave certainly deserves some respect. If only Cardinal Roger Mahony had the same concern for the Church.
Recently Cardinal Levada said:
“There are some victims groups for whom enough is never enough, so we have to do our jobs as best we see it,” said Levada, 76, who spoke with reporters from a Menlo Park seminary as he prepared for his trip to the Vatican for the papal conclave.
“He has apologized for errors in judgment that were made,” Levada said. “I believe he should be at the conclave.”
There is always some sensitivity whenever a Cardinal is pressured to not attend a conclave. What Cardinal Levada said about victims groups can certainly be true at times. What this dismisses is that actions have consequences that are not damped just by saying sorry. Extremely serious errors don’t go away by saying you had lapses in your judgment. You can’t just skip the “ashes and sackcloth” phase and go right to demanding that you “accept my apology.” Especially when the Cardinal has reacted like he was a martyr who is humbly enduring bad treatment. I might be totally wrong, but I get the feeling that Cardinal Mahony’s criteria is “not for the good of the Church”, but for the “good of Cardinal Mahony.”