Cardinal Keith O'Brien admits to gay allegations

Mon. March 4, 2013 8:32 AM by Carlos Santoscoy

London, UK - Cardinal Keith O'Brien has admitted to allegations he made advances to younger clergy in his diocese.

A week after announcing his resignation as archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, O'Brien has issued a statement in which he admitted to allegations he had previously denied.

O'Brien's decision to not attend the conclave to elect the next pope left the United Kingdom without representation this week in Rome.

"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," the 74-year-old O'Brien said.

The allegations made by three priests and a former priest first surfaced last weekend in a report compiled by The Observer. The paper wrote that the conduct could date back to the 1980s and that the four men had complained to the Vatican about "inappropriate act."

O'Brien apologized to "those I have offended," the Catholic Church and the people of Scotland.

"I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement," he wrote. "I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland."

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?"

His anti-gay rhetoric made him a celebrity among conservatives opposed to marriage equality and a target of marriage advocates. Last year, the group Stonewall named him their "Bigot of the Year."

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine