Vatican orders bigot to leave the UK

Vatican orders bigot to leave the UK

THREE days ago the Scottish Sun ran pictures of “a glum” Cardinal Keith O’Brien slinking into his new abode in Dunbar, East Lothian, and reported that his return to Scotland following the gay scandal that led to his resignation had appalled many Catholics.

It reported one source as saying:

It is beyond belief this man, who has done so much to harm the Church, should come back to the country — let alone set up home in that house.

“That house” is Catholic Church property, and paper reported that:

It’s a couple of minutes walk from Dunbar’s high street, and just yards from Our Lady of the Waves Catholic Church where O’Brien took his final mass in March. But a church insider hit out at the cardinal for moving into the pad — where he will still enjoy benefits including a housekeeper and secretary paid for by the local diocese.

But today the Herald reports that O’Brien has been told by the Vatican to leave the UK amid concerns that his return would wreak further damage on the Catholic Church in Scotland.

Friends of the cleric said he has been told by Rome to shelve his plans to retire to the cottage.

The Herald says it understands that O’Brien was given the news yesterday afternoon, three days after being photographed moving his personal belongings from his official residence in Edinburgh to the residence in Dunbar where he had been spending regular weekends over the past few years.

The parish priest in Dunbar, Canon John Creanor, is understood to have voiced upset at the Vatican’s move against his “dear friend”.

The paper says this is:

The clearest indication yet of the Vatican’s unwillingness to let the matter drift, and concern that the Cardinal’s admission of gay activity over decades and allegations of abuse towards trainee priests continues to damage the Church.

Cardinal O’Brien remains the only cardinal in Britain and Scotland’s most senior Catholic churchman, leaving UK clergy powerless to act. However, he is not without support. One source last night said:

The cardinal has been advised not to relocate to the parish in Dunbar and has been told he should leave the country. That’s extremely disappointing and not a Christian way to treat someone … People expect some sort of jail sentence for Keith O’Brien or at least a desire to see him retired to monastic life. It would certainly be convenient for them. Personally, I find it an atrocious way to treat someone who has been facing up to their responsibilities.

A recent petition organised by the parishioners of Our Lady of The Waves in Dunbar saw more than 90 percent of those attending the Saturday vigil and Sunday mass signing a statement declaring “our support and affection for Cardinal Keith O’Brien”.

But, while leading historian Professor Tom Devine said the cardinal should be left alone, senior figures in the Church said he was “still causing immense damage”.

Yesterday, Cardinal O’Brien, 75, was reported to have admitted the scandal had been difficult and humbling. The former Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh was forced by Pope Ratzinger to retire after admitting “inappropriate behaviour” with four priests and a seminarian.

He was quoted as saying:

I’m just trying to do my best to live a good Christian life myself now. Many people have been helping me to go back on the right path and that’s what I have to do. But I haven’t always managed to live that in my own life.

He added:

I have been supported by many good Christian people and many people of no religion at all who realise I have said sorry for anyone I have offended. If Christianity is about anything at all, it’s about forgiveness. That’s what I have to do as a cardinal priest – just forgive the wrongdoer and help them go back on to the right path.

It’s been quite a difficult, quite a humbling experience for me. It’s very difficult for them [the men whose complaints led to his retirement]. That is why I have apologised for being a teacher who has not been able to live up to the teaching of the Church.

We know what’s against God’s law. Consequently, we should try to live by God’s law. I’ve apologised for my failures in that respect.

Asked about any Vatican investigation, he said:

It’s up to those who are responsible in Rome for me to answer that sort of question.

But earlier it was reported that the Vatican had no intention of opening an investigation into the cardinal’s behaviour, and that he gets to keep his red hat.

30 responses to “Vatican orders bigot to leave the UK”

  1. Lazy Susan says:

    “We know what’s against God’s law. Consequently, we should try to live by God’s law.”

    So, nothing about the law f the land then. Render unto Caesar and all that.

  2. Alan Nonbelief says:

    Of course there will be no investigation into his conduct by the Vatican! He has too much on them! He’s a slimy reprobate, but he’s not stupid just deluded! Anyone with half a brain knows that there are no gods! It’s time for this charade to end once and for all!

  3. Broga says:

    Quite extraordinary. You have to wonder what RC clergy would have to do before their slavish flocks wanted to hold them to account. So soon, all should be forgotten and forgiven. Yet O’Brien and his ilk are the very people who have been so punitive and vicious towards gays who have done no wrong. Indeed, in the ripest of ironies they have done no more sexually then he has done himself. The difference being that unlike O’Brien they have not taken advantage of sexual partners over whom they had power.

  4. tony e says:

    A year ago he had it all, power, position, the lot. I wonder what he thinks of his church now that it has clearly turned its back on him.

    However had he not been outed I’m sure he would still be attacking people whom he did not approve of.

    I particularly like the quote ‘Personally, I find it an atrocious way to treat someone who has been facing up to their responsibilities.’ I assume he meant ‘Been in hiding’?

  5. Narcogen says:

    “That’s extremely disappointing and not a Christian way to treat someone”

    Perhaps not, but it does appear to be a Catholic way to treat someone, if by “Catholic way” we mean “the way the Catholic church does”.

    Interesting that the “No True Scotsman” fallacy is being deployed in this way… well, against a true Scotsman. The answer isn’t to condemn the Church for not going easy on the guy, it’s to go hard on the both the individual and the institution that have truly lost sight of a sense of right vs wrong, assuming they ever had any: informed consensual sexual behavior is nobody’s business, and nonconsensual has no place anywhere, regardless of gender or orientation.

  6. Canada Dave says:

    ” “inappropriate behaviour” with four priests and a seminarian.”

    Is it that difficult for the church to actually say he had “gay sex”?……they cannot bring themselves to utter the words and must play about the subject in metaphor.

  7. David Anderson says:

    Meanwhile, over in Brazil, Catholic priest Roberto Francisco Daniel puplicly resignes over the church’s opposition to homosexuality and is then excommunicated.

    Remind me how many Catholics have been excommunicated for child rape and sexual assault.

  8. Angela_K says:

    Members of the catholic church are so indoctrinated and under control that no crime, no matter how depraved will get them to abandon their cult. These are the same people who usually make up a baying mob to persecute Gays.

    “I have said sorry for anyone I have offended” That’s alright then. Does he expect those of whom he has said some despicable things and his interference with the equal marriage process, to just say OK, carry on? The best thing this vile, odious creature could do is find a very high cliff and let gravity do its work.

  9. Broga says:

    The underlying tone of O’Brien’s comments is not one of contrition but rather of irritation. He has apologised, he forgives people who come to him, he has been contacted by “good Christian people” so what’s the problem? O’Brien loved the limelight, he savoured putting the boot in to those he selected as his targets and he is never going to come to terms with being ordinary because he views himself as special. And already there are plenty of RCs stepping in to return that feeling of being special to him. The idea that the RC Church is serious about tackling its infestation of paedophilia is once again shown to be no more than PR.

  10. Russell Campbell says:

    Forget getting investigated by the Vatican, what about by the Police? Ex celebrities are all being outed and charged with leud offences from years ago meanwhile thousands of Priests and Cardinals who have been raping children, and indecently assaulting other Priests are just left to their own devices! Get them through the courts and get them locked up like the rest of the beasts.

  11. JohnMWhite says:

    Personally, I find it an atrocious way to treat someone who has been facing up to their responsibilities.

    This is so stone cold the opposite of true I can’t help but wonder if I am misreading it. I know the Catholic high-ups love to lie but to call O’Brien’s cowardice coupled with residual greed ‘facing up’ is so false as to be bizarre. He went on a lengthy holiday to avoid facing up, now he’s moved to a nice house to avoid facing up.

    A recent petition organised by the parishioners of Our Lady of The Waves in Dunbar saw more than 90 percent of those attending the Saturday vigil and Sunday mass signing a statement declaring “our support and affection for Cardinal Keith O’Brien”.

    The extremist authoritarians who believe the clergy can do no wrong (and if they do wrong, even to children, the wrong was somehow deserved) are all that remains of those regularly attending Mass. In a broad sense that’s good, it shows the church’s overall influence is turning to dust. However, we all know how dangerous it is when extremists who feel persecuted huddle together without any mitigating voices. Also, I guarantee you if O’Brien had been caught up in these allegations after years of being pro-gay or even neutral on the subject, this congregation would have wanted him out of their house.

  12. tony e says:

    @David Anderson,

    If memory serves me right, the only member of the Nazi hierarchy (which was predominately catholic) to be excommunicated was Joseph Goebbels for the ‘crime’ of marrying a protestant.

    As they say ‘you couldn’t make it up’.

  13. AgentCormac says:

    “A recent petition organised by the parishioners of Our Lady of The Waves in Dunbar saw more than 90 percent of those attending the Saturday vigil and Sunday mass signing a statement declaring “our support and affection for Cardinal Keith O’Brien.”

    90% of how many, one might be entitled ask. 20? A dozen? Less than that? Whatever their number they really should hold their heads in shame. Or we should perhaps pity them for having been so lobotomised by religion that they can’t actually recognise right from wrong any more.

    Either way, I hope O’Brien spends the rest of his days living in abject misery for what he has done and for the conceit he has shown.

  14. Stonyground says:

    I am actually puzzled as to why this particular guy is being thrown under the bus by the RCC. They normally look after their own no matter how badly they have behaved. Bad as his behaviour was, it is not in the same league as raping children. The worst thing about him, in my opinion, is his hypocrisy in being so loudly anti gay while being gay himself.

    I wonder if it ever occurs to him that the RCC ruined his life? Maybe that is the reason that he has worked so hard to ruin other people’s lives.

  15. Matt Westwood says:

    Incidentally, is “Our Lady of The Waves” the patron saint of undinism?

  16. […] Read this article: Disgraced cardinal Keith O Brien creeps back into Scotland, only to be told to leave the the UK […]

  17. Trevor Blake says:

    If Christianity is about anything at all, it’s about forgiveness.”

    At least that’s what Jesus Christ said in Luke 12:10, anyway. See, it says right here… “But unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.”

    Well, okay then, blasphemy is an unforgivable sin. Rape, murder, slavery, adultery, cruelty to animals, child sacrifice, God in His eternal grace forgives everything. But not blasphemy, god damn it.

  18. Robster says:

    Is this bloke still a cardinal? if he is, the other cardinals (“cardinal” sounds like a cardboard urinal) should get upset as he tars them all with his hypocracy. And a free cottage plus staff paid for by the suckers propping up his old church. I thought there was a recession in Scotland at the moment, are they claiming to be helping reduce unemployment or something in the name of baby jesus? what on earth could a disgraced cardinal do anyway? ‘Spose after living a life lying professionally, he could become a used car salesman, a real estate agent, advertising executive, tabloid journalist or shopping channel presenter. Call centre work would be a good choice too, be a bit like working in a permanant confessional, trying to convince people who can’t see the ex-cardinal that he’s got something to offer. At least, unlike his old job, insurance can pay out in the end.

  19. 1859 says:

    If this guy had not been exposed as a gay cardinal, would he really be speaking now in such humble, contrite tones? – saying that if Xtianity is about anything it is about forgiveness? Of course not. He would still have continued publicly trying to destroy the lives of gay people by calling for them to roast in hell, while privately groping the genitals of novices and seminarians. The guy’s a fraud. The only way he could redeem his humanity is to loudly proclaim his own homosexuality and take up the fight within the church to have gay people accepted on an equal footing as the rest. But don’t hold your breath.

  20. lucy 1 says:

    @stonyground. Me too. But possibly the thinking was, he ‘fouled his own nest’ ie. assaulted or had sex with men of the church. Had he just hurt children or other more vulnerable people, they would not have bothered. And crucially, the world was listening to the claims.
    And/or, timing was bad. He was just about to trip self importantly off to Rome to choose the next pope.
    And/or, if they threw him to the wolves, it would imply they were cleaning up their act, without actually setting any kind of precedent for the way to deal with other sex offenders.

  21. […] misconduct may have angered an embarrassed the Catholic Church but no moves have been made, as we reported yesterday, to remove the vile hypocrite from the priesthood – so he gets to keep his red […]

  22. JohnMWhite says:

    @Stonyground: I have a feeling that lucy 1 has a good portion of the problem correct, that the church’s ever-selfish interest is a big reason for them turning on the Cardinal. I have a feeling they are also absolutely furious with the timing, because just as they thought they were going to get away with turning over a new leaf by moving on to a less controversial pope, they are mired in scandal once more. Furthermore, the blatant hypocrisy of Cardinal O’Brien has essentially torpedoed any moral footing the church might have claimed in the gay marriage debate in the UK, so it probably really made them mad that he might have jeopardised their chances at making gay people’s lives a bit more difficult and miserable.

  23. Dave H says:

    OT, but remember when O’brien was preparing for his trip to Rome he said catholic priests should be allowed to get married. I think this was the start of his downfall because of the amount of money it could cost the RCC.

  24. Matt Westwood says:

    @Dave H: Horrible thought. Think of their poor wives.

  25. Broga says:

    O’Brien must be kicking himself with not being in on the new world according to Papa Frankie. As a man of protean tendencies O’Brien would soon have accommodated himself to the new regime. Frankie now seems to be moving, slowly, towards liberation theology and I can imagine O’Brien explaining the virtues of this: changing world, RC Church adapting while sticking to its core truths. The fact is I think Frankie wants to distance himself from the terrors perpetrated by the junta.

    I guess that of all the pains from present situation one of the hardest to bear for O’Brien is not being centre stage telling the rest of us how to behave and what to think. I suppose a problem now is where they are going to hide him away. His resurrection seems neither imminent nor likely.

  26. AgentCormac says:


    Unlike Stuart Hall et al, there’s one thing for sure – O’Brien will not end up in a British court accused of and sentenced for being a sexual predator. One has to wonder how he and the other criminals in the rcc always seem to manage to stay out of reach of the law. It is nothing less than a disgrace.

  27. Alan Mair says:

    “I have apologised” means very little if it comes only after he has been outed. This is damage limitation. Let’s not celebrate the fact that he was found out and then apoligised. I have more to say and I will do when the time is right. Keith, the hounds are circling, not least because you have let us all down. Poor leadership, weakness and compromise, has let an immense number of people down. Why couldn’t you have apologised to me 25 years ago?

  28. David T says:

    Of course, had his accusers not been catholic priests he would have denied everything and still be swanning around as cardinal. Vile pig.