‘All the saints in heaven are on our side, so let’s bury O’Brien and get back to business’

THAT, in a nutshell, was the message delivered to the faithful in Scotland by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow and apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, following the sexual abuse … er drunken gay fumblings … scandal that engulfed closet queen Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who promptly resigned after his anti-gay hypocrisy was exposed and he went into hiding.


Tartaglia, left, and O'Brien

Tartaglia, left, and O’Brien

Tartaglia, in his homily for a March 4 Mass at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow said:

We will draw what conclusions and lessons we can from it and, if anything, we will learn to trust even more fully in Jesus Christ who is alone the Lord of the Church.

He noted that the “credibility” and “moral authority” of the Church in Scotland has been marred by O’Brien’s behaviour.

He added that “many reproaches” have been leveled at the Church as a result of this episode, but the “most stinging charge” has been that of “hypocrisy.

I think there is little doubt that the credibility and moral authority of the Catholic Church in Scotland has been dealt a serious blow, and we will need to come to terms with that.

Although this “sad episode” will take “a long time” to recover from, Archbishop Tartaglia encouraged his flock to resist being defeatists and to:

Endure it with prayer and patience and hope.

Instead of “throw(ing) in the towel,” he said Scottish Catholics:

Need, rather, to renew our faithfulness in Jesus Christ and to go about our business humbly.

Even though the O’Brien affair marks a “sad moment for the Church”, Tartaglia tried to put lipstick on the pig by claiming that there will be “a wonderful moment of hope and joy” in the election of a new pope.


Overall, he encouraged Catholics under his care to keep in mind that they “are not alone as a Church”.

We are in communion with the See of Peter and with the whole Catholic Church. We are in communion with the Church throughout history. We are in communion with the saints in heaven. Through that communion, we will draw strength from Jesus Christ in whom we trust.

Meanwhile, Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, has issued a statement regarding O’Brien’s lame confession.

Cardinal O’Brien’s confession falls well short of what we expect from a spiritual leader. I urge him to show true remorse for his homophobia and hypocrisy by saying sorry to the gay community for the hatred he has stirred and the harm he has caused – and by publicly repenting his homophobia.

He should make amends by dropping his opposition to marriage equality and by beginning a new affirmative ministry to gay Catholics.

Tatchell added:

By his own admission, the Cardinal stands exposed as a hypocrite. He preached against homosexuality in public while seeking its delights in private.

Cardinal O’Brien’s admission of sexual contact with men torpedoes the credibility of the church’s bigoted stance against homosexuality. It also undermines the campaign against same-sex marriage.

It will be very difficult to take the opponents of marriage equality seriously now that this senior spokesperson has admitted that he did what he preached against.

The Cardinal is a troubled man. I pity and sympathise with him. I hope he will receive supportive counselling to help him deal with his decades of deception, and enable him to come to terms with his obvious self-loathing and deeply repressed homosexual desires.

Hat tip: Asad Abbas (Pontiff ad)