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.

ObrienAlso, 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."


  1. Matt26 says

    Not to sound too pessimistic I am sure they find someone to oppose it pretty fast. After all it is their nr one priority.

  2. Jack M says

    The hypocrisy of Catholic priests and Christian fundamentalists will prove to be their ultimate undoing. You can’t claim you are against homosexuality and then diddle around in private. All the pigeons come home to roost sooner or later.

  3. matt says

    He was indeed the most outspoken critic of gay marriage in britain. I agree, the vacancy his fall has left significantly diminishes the Catholic Church’s legitimacy to speak against gay marriage. But the Anglican church is still beating the anti gay marriage drum. As are the muslims.

  4. sword says

    Of course, the RCC hierarchy does not have a problem with such priests. They never have had. Which is why the world is having a problem with the Catholic Church.

  5. red says

    The greatest thing about all this is reading the bitterness in articles appearing in conservative-leaning press, such as the Telegraph.

    It’s amusing how he’s basically saying that half the country has lost their hero, standing up for their right to oppose social progress.

  6. SC David says

    Reading the linked Damian Thompson Telegraph article, the argument is that O’Brien’s objectionable behavior had been known about “for ages,” but the release of the info was (a) being timed to humiliate him at his retirement and (b) silence the opposition to gay marriage within Britain.

    Curious that the defense is not “he didn’t do it” but rather “you knew he was doing it so you have no right to complain now.”

  7. andrew says

    O’Brien may not be going to the Conclave but you can be certain that scores of other deeply closeted homosexuals will be there in all their finery. They will be joined by many others who have hidden priest preditors from justice in their home dioceses. What a collection of individuals they are.