Deposed Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien Had Long-term Gay Relationship with Priest Who Forced His Exit

Former Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the anti-gay crusader who stepped down after being accused of "inappropriate acts" with other priests, had a long-term relationship with one of the priests whose accusations led to him getting sacked, the Guardian reports:

ObrienOfficials in the Scottish Catholic church claim that the priest, who is alleged to be the first man to complain to the Vatican about O'Brien, left the priesthood in the mid-2000s but has since returned to the church.

These officials have told the Herald they believe that the man complained to the Vatican last winter in revenge for O'Brien's outspoken attacks on homosexuality and gay marriage, just as his career was coming to an end. He described homosexuality as a "moral degradation" and gay marriage as "harmful".

Immediately after the priest, who had known O'Brien for decades, submitted his accusations to the Vatican in late 2012, the cardinal was summoned to Rome and in effect sacked. Then Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh and seen as the de facto leader of Scotland's 750,000 Catholics, O'Brien was told privately by Vatican officials that he would be expected to retire on his 75th birthday, which fell on 17 March.

The Herald adds:

One senior church figure said that while some fundamentalist Catholic groups had previously linked the priest with Cardinal O'Brien "there were many questions that others were asking about the relationship".

Another source said: "These guys, we now know, were part of an inner circle. In the 30 years since these allegations took place there's been ample time to complain. The Cardinal has had a huge profile for the past decade. But the door wasn't just shut on them, it was bolted in the past 18 months. I believe they wanted to silence O'Brien – as he's about to do another conclave, and make a huge deal of it. As he's retiring, a decision's been taken to go public and take him down."

Another said: "If you're asking me to describe what this is about in one word, it's revenge. I've no doubt the allegations did take place in the 1980s but they've come out to – destroy O'Brien."