Cardinal Keith O'Brien has been forced to resign his post as archbishop effective immediately amid allegations he made advances to younger clergy in his diocese.
"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 affect later) on 12 November 2012," O'Brien said in a statement.
"I thank Pope Benedict XVI for his kindness and courtesy to me on my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Scotland, I wish him a long and happy retirement."
UK's The Telegraph reported that O'Brien is not expected to attend the conclave to elect the next pope but it was not yet clear whether he has resigned from the College of Cardinals.
O'Brien, the most senior Catholic cleric in Britain, has denied the claims. However, media reports suggest O'Brien was pressured by Pope Benedict XVI to resign.
O'Brien's resignation comes after the Observer reported on allegations by three priests and a former priest dating back to the 1980s. The paper wrote that the four had complained to the Vatican about "inappropriate acts."
O'Brien has been a vocal critic of gay rights, denouncing the government's plans to legalize gay marriage as "madness" and a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right."
He also compared such unions to plural relationships.
"If marriage can be redefined so that it no longer means a man and a woman but two men or two woman, why stop there? Why not allow three men or a woman and two men to constitute a marriage, if they pledged their fidelity to one another?"