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Vatican Orders Cardinal O'Brien into Exile Over Gay Admissions

Former Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the anti-gay crusader who stepped down after being accused of "inappropriate acts" with other priests, and later admitted having a long-term relationship with one of the priests whose accusations led to him getting sacked, is being forced into exile by the Vatican, The Herald reports:

ObrienFriends of the cleric have said he has been told by Rome to shelve his plans to retire to a church-owned cottage in East Lothian and instead leave the country.

The Herald understands Cardinal O'Brien was given the news yesterday afternoon, three days after being photographed moving his personal belongings from his official residence in Edinburgh to the residence in Dunbar where he had been spending regular weekends over the past few years.

The parish priest in Dunbar, Canon John Creanor, is understood to have voiced upset at the Vatican's move against his "dear friend".

It is the clearest indication yet of the Vatican's unwillingness to let the matter drift and concern that the Cardinal's admission of gay activity over decades and allegations of abuse towards trainee priests continues to damage the Church.

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  1. Well it is unclear from the article what exactly "exile" means. My interpretation was he had a choice... he could stay in Scotland and be stripped of his pension as a Cardinal - or just leave the country and retire as a Cardinal somewhere else. Duh... "Exile" sounds so dramatic... if only we all could be so lucky...

    Posted by: Gerry | May 4, 2013 10:19:27 AM


  2. There's a gay bar in Columbus, Ohio named "Exile". Maybe he'll turn-up there claiming the pope sent him.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | May 4, 2013 10:25:07 AM


  3. in the eyes of the Vatican, his greatest sin was exposing the hypocrisy of the church itself. We have always known that many priests and bishops are sexually active and that many of those are gay. O'Brien has injured the church's fragile credibility in this area by exposing the truth. Now, instead of taking the opportunity to call the church to task for it's sins, he is prepared to slink-off into retirement and accept the church's condemnation. Too bad for him. Much worse for the church. The Roman Catholic Church is the purveyor of the most graphic example of unnatural sexual perversion in the world today -- celibacy. It is time that the church is called to task about this abomination. REPENT!

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | May 4, 2013 10:37:56 AM


  4. Is his pension the only leverage the Vatican holds over O'Brien? I suppose that's leverage enough. O'Brien would miss that monthly pension check. It's not like he has a lot of friends and allies outside the Church.

    Posted by: Artie_in_Lauderdale | May 4, 2013 10:56:52 AM


  5. Typical papal response: send the problem somewhere else and hope that no one notices.

    Posted by: scott | May 4, 2013 11:19:47 AM


  6. It sounds like they know there's more to the story than has been revealed to the public and they're telling him to get out of town before the authorities catch up with him. Maybe he can bunk with Cardinal Law in the Vatican.

    Posted by: jomicur | May 4, 2013 11:39:16 AM


  7. Oh well, no more tea dances and Sunday brunch for Father Fabulous.

    Posted by: HirsuteHeuristics | May 4, 2013 11:42:05 AM


  8. i wonder if what they are really talking about is the church's use of 'anathema'? that means denouncement or banishment or extreme religious sanction - one step before excommunication. i don't really think they mean exile from Scotland but from the church. you find the use of 'anathema' in the epistles, mostly from Paul, who actually was anathema in the more modern use of the term...

    Posted by: mike/ | May 4, 2013 11:44:59 AM


  9. Another gay victim of religion.

    Posted by: PE | May 4, 2013 11:45:18 AM


  10. I know that people have every right to tell the Catholic church to get its affairs in order. Religious institutions are supposed to set a good example. I also know that laughing at the other side's embarassing moments is enjoyable. But don't we need to put things into perspective?

    Would it be too much for Towleroad to have a new story about a priest who HELPED someone LGBT? (not being critical here Andy, just suggesting) Helping gays in some area of their lives doesn't have to mean changing the church's teaching.

    Yes, I'm not a part of the LGBT community and I haven't experienced how these teachings must hurt people. But it really isn't fair to assume that all priests are molestors until provem otherwise. Gays of all people should know how much stereotypes hurt.

    I say this as an ex-Catholic, by the way.

    Posted by: Mary | May 4, 2013 11:56:33 AM


  11. I vote for excommunication, that way he can wise up and get away from the evil catho-licks.

    Seriously, that idiotic church is using 15th-century tactics in an internet-connected world. He's not going to just disappear, everyone is tracking him. He might as well have a GPS chip in his ear.

    Posted by: johnny | May 4, 2013 12:01:21 PM


  12. Ah, yes, banish the gay guy and do nothing about the child-molester protector cardinals. Gotta love the way the Roman Church things gay is worse than aiding and abetting child rape.

    Posted by: Hamish | May 4, 2013 12:28:25 PM


  13. Anastasia: if I recall from having been down there, it's "Axis" ^_^ (and the restaurant on the other side of the street is the "Union")

    (Though, if I'm wrong, I'll retract what I've just said! :) )

    Posted by: Cody | May 4, 2013 2:12:50 PM


  14. Oh, yes, push out the gays, but leave in the pedophiles... good thing we have our values straight. What Would Jesus Do?

    Posted by: graphicjack | May 4, 2013 2:21:30 PM


  15. The article is too vague to determine what is actually going on or what is at stake, here. I doubt they could withhold his pension. In most countries, pensions are legal obligations often more stringently enforced than contracts, so he could sue over his pension.

    Posted by: anon | May 4, 2013 2:26:38 PM


  16. Not until this creep is excommunciated along with every one of creditably accused priests etc, and the church opens virtually all of its records world wide to the authorities, will it be known as anything other then the church of the endless moelestation of kiddies by its sex starved priests

    And it totally must end the UN-NATURAL celibacy

    And the same EXcomm for the 10% of the 4500 hishops who had to know what was going on. Throw them out, let them starve etc

    And we know this isnt going to happen. Sure they may make a few into examples, but the Islam of the west will continue to do as they did in eg Contra Costa
    CA
    http://www.contracostatimes.com/search/ci_8748784

    Posted by: billy Wingartenson | May 4, 2013 4:04:07 PM


  17. And btw let their gay priests marry at least under civil law

    Posted by: billy Wingartenson | May 4, 2013 4:04:37 PM


  18. While the comments about exposing hypocrisy were right on, the statement in the article about him being the highest ranking RC in the UK is a little more than just embarrassing. It means that the other bishops and archbishops can't really tell him what to do without bending canon law. It is not like in a corporate setting. He's not an ex-employee, he's a member of the hierarchy, until he a) Dies b) Gives up his title (not just lost his job because that has already happen) c) Has his title taken from him, or d) moves to another part of the world where he never had authority over (in other words into another bishop's territory). There he would have to answer to another bishop, not just the Pope as it stands now. If he hadn't be such a hypocrite and work so hard against lgbt I might feel sorry for him, but as my mother used to say, "you made your bed now lie in it."

    Posted by: Former Seminarian in MO | May 4, 2013 4:56:01 PM


  19. Doesn't the church have the right to require celibacy of its clergy? No Catholic man is required to become a priest. If the state was forbidding the church to have a celibacy requirement for its clergy wouldn't this be a violation of church/state separation?

    The church may eventually be forced to end the celibacy requirement for practical reasons (the shortage of priests and the men that the celibacy requirement prevents from becoming clergymen.) But there are some advantages to priests being single and childless.

    Posted by: Mary | May 4, 2013 4:57:45 PM


  20. ELBA then ST. HELENA!

    Posted by: andrew | May 4, 2013 6:09:37 PM


  21. Given the RCC's ongoing history of not only protecting pedophiles from civil prosecution but of providing them a broader scope for their proclivities, one has to assume that if O'Brien had tortured and raped children rather than had consensual sex with adults, the Vatican would not only not exile him, but would help him find greener pastures.

    Posted by: Bryan | May 4, 2013 8:25:21 PM


  22. Let this be a lesson to any priest thinking of having sex with adults!

    Posted by: JJ | May 5, 2013 1:31:51 AM


  23. Oh dear. Idle hands are the Devil's workshop.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 5, 2013 11:27:39 AM


  24. He hit on priests and seminarians who were, surprise!, receptive. For this he must be punished.

    Had the guy been sensible, he would have protected child rapists. Then he'd have a villa in Rome to enjoy.

    Posted by: BobN | May 5, 2013 11:39:32 AM


  25. The only way this gay bashing faggot can redeem himslef to the world would be to write a tell all books naming names and making a fortune for himself and his boyfriend and then, getting married to him in an Episcopal wedding.

    Posted by: Michael Barber | May 6, 2013 9:33:48 AM


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