Scotland’s Herald reports that one of the priests who brought about the downfall of Cardinal Keith O’Brien was once his long-term boyfriend.
The man left the priesthood in the middle of the last decade but rejoined and is living on the continent in a post the cardinal helped him secure. The complainant is known to have been in regular telephone contact with Cardinal O’Brien until recently and was a frequent visitor to St Benets, his official residence in Edinburgh’s Morningside. It is understood the cardinal confessed to the relationship after it was recently revealed there had been several complaints to the Vatican about his sexual behaviour towards priests in the 1980s. It is thought to be part of his reference to his sexual conduct as “a priest, a bishop and a cardinal”.
The Herald further reports that the other complaining priests were angry about his hypocritical stance on gay relationships and same-sex marriage.
All those who complained about Cardinal O’Brien and alleged they had been abused by him were known to him for decades. At least two are known to have been in same-sex relationships and had become exasperated at double standards in his statements about gay marriage. In the six months building up to him being forced to stand down last month, the cardinal had been under some pressure from priests to tone down the rhetoric. However, his statements, such as describing homosexuality as a “moral degradation”, were a tipping point for those previously close to him.