Three priests and a former priest in the United Kingdom have accused anti-gay Cardinal Keith O'Brien of what The Observer reports as "inappropriate behaviour" involving the men. The newspaper lists the claims by the four (referred to as Priests A, B, C & D) which go back 33 years:
It is understood that the first allegation against the cardinal dates back to 1980. The complainant, who is now married, was then a 20-year-old seminarian at St Andrew's College, Drygrange, where O'Brien was his "spiritual director". The Observer understands that the statement claims O'Brien made an inappropriate approach after night prayers.
In a second statement, "Priest A" describes being happily settled in a parish when he claims he was visited by O'Brien and inappropriate contact between the two took place.
In a third statement, "Priest B" claims that he was starting his ministry in the 1980s when he was invited to spend a week "getting to know" O'Brien at the archbishop's residence. His statement alleges that he found himself dealing with what he describes as unwanted behaviour by the cardinal after a late-night drinking session.
"Priest C" was a young priest the cardinal was counselling over personal problems. Priest C's statement claims that O'Brien used night prayers as an excuse for inappropriate contact.
Through a spokesperson, the Cardinal has already responded to the charges: "Cardinal O'Brien contests these claims and is taking legal advice."
The Pope might even weigh in with his thoughts.
O'Brien has in the past referred to marriage equality as "harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of those involved."
O'Brien, who is expected to be one of 117 Cardinals who select the new Pope once Benedict steps down on Thursday, had himself been set to retire next month.