Amid a tumultuous period for the Catholic Church that has seen the surprise resignation of a pope, accusations of financial corruption, and reports of homosexuality in the Vatican, this looked like one scandal might go quietly into the night.
When British Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigned last month after sexual allegations, it looked like the Vatican would not pursue an investigation.
That seems to have changed last night, when O’Brien admitted to sexual misconduct in a manner bound to increase speculation and rumors.
Now the Vatican is expected to conduct an inquiry, according to the BBC.
The admission of guilt from O’Brien — formerly the most senior person in the UK Catholic Church — came after decades-old accusations from four priests became public last month.
The priests had listed a number of accusations against the Cardinal, including reports of “inappropriate approach”, “inappropriate contact” and “unwanted behavior”. According to the Observer, who broke the story, one priest “alleges that the cardinal developed an inappropriate relationship with him, resulting in a need for long-term psychological counseling.”
After a week of near-silence, the public admission from O’Brien that he had failed to have suitable “sexual conduct” for the church has caught many off guard. Here’s the full text:
“In recent days certain allegations which have been made against me have become public. Initially, their anonymous and non-specific nature led me to contest them.
However, 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.
To those I have offended, I apologize and ask forgiveness.
To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologise.
I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland.”The vague nature of that statement leaves open questions about what exactly O’Brien is admitting to, with some suggesting that it may not be confined to the allegations currently public knowledge.
Related: The Pope may have resigned to clean up the Filth in the Vatican:
There’s been talk of frailty, encroaching dementia, mortal illness. There’s been pious spin about a holy act of ‘humility’.
But one of his predecessors, sprightly Leo XIII, who died 110 years ago, went on until he was 93. Benedict knew from the start, aged 76, that he would grow old in office.
We’ve heard about the so-called papal ‘resignation’ almost 600 years ago. But there wasn’t one. There were three rival Popes back then, and one of them was a psychopath.
They were sacked by a council of all the bishops and cardinals to get back to one Pope at a time. Since then, every Pope has died in office.
Resignation isn’t in Benedict’s vocabulary. The real reason he has quit is far more spectacular.
It is to save the Catholic Church from ignominy: he has voluntarily delivered himself up as a sacrificial lamb to purge the Church of what he calls ‘The Filth’. And it must have taken courage.
Here is the remarkable thing you are seldom told about a papal death or resignation: every one of the senior office-holders in the Vatican – those at the highest level of its internal bureaucracy, called the Curia – loses his job.
A report Benedict himself commissioned into the state of the Curia landed on his desk in January. It revealed that ‘The Filth’ – or more specifically, the paedophile priest scandal – had entered the bureaucracy.
He resigned in early February. That report was a final straw. The Filth has been corroding the soul of the Catholic Church for years, and the reason is the power-grabbing ineptitude and secrecy of the Curia – which failed to deal with the perpetrators. Now the Curia itself stands accused of being part of The Filth.
Benedict realises the Curia must be reformed root and branch. He knows this is a mammoth task.
He is too old, and too implicated, to clean it up himself. He has resigned to make way for a younger, more dynamic successor, untainted by scandal – and a similarly recast Curia.
Benedict was not prepared to wait for his own death to sweep out the gang who run the place.
In one extraordinary gesture, by resigning, he gets rid of the lot of them.
But what then?
The Curia are usually quickly reappointed. This time it may be different. It involves scores of departments, like the civil service of a middling-sized country.
It has a Home and Foreign Office called the Secretariat of State. There’s a department that watches out for heresy – the former Holy Inquisition which under Cardinal Ratzinger dealt with, or failed to deal with, paedophile priests.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2287074/Pope-resigns-2013-Gay-sex-rings-The-Filth-corrupting-Vatican–Pope-REALLY-quit.html#ixzz2MhgO45ut
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