Cardinal O'Brien's Resignation Great for Gay Marriage in UK with No Credible Catholic Leader to Oppose It
The UK Telegraph writes that the bombshell story about UK Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who resigned on Sunday after reports of "inappropriate" behavior with four priests, had been ready to run for ages, but the pump was primed when the Pope announced his own resignation.
Also, O'Brien's resignation is great news for marriage equality in the UK:
Cardinal O'Brien's decision not to attend the conclave has thrown the Church into disarray: if he judges himself unsuitable to vote, how can Cardinal Roger Mahony, disgraced by cover-ups in Los Angeles, possibly be fit to do so? But the implications in Britain are equally far-reaching. This country is in the middle of a debate about gay marriage in which, given the support of politicians and the media for the innovation, there is a shortage of public figures prepared to speak for the 50 per cent of voters unhappy with the measure. Until now, the Catholic Church has been given a respectful hearing. But today, with its senior clergyman accused of touching up young men after drink-fuelled "counselling"? We do not, it should be stressed, know that the behaviour actually occurred. What we do know is that, thanks to this grubby scandal, gay marriage seems even more of an inevitability – and the Catholic Church's freedom to oppose it is suddenly looking more fragile.
Meanwhile, the former leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, says that the Pope did not put pressure on O'Brien to resign:
"It was up to his own conscience that he stepped down. He wasn't asked to; he decided to do that," said Murphy-O'Connor. "As he said in his statement, I think he thought it would be a distraction to be in Rome. I think that was the main reason, the media attention.
"It was his decision to do so. He wasn't forced to do so; he wasn't asked to do so. He thought that given the publicity over the allegations, which are being contested by the cardinal, that was a better thing to do."