Anti-gay top UK Cardinal O’Brien resigns after gay harassment allegations

UPDATE: UK Catholic Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the top Catholic official in the UK, and recently accused by 3 current and one former priest of “inappropriate behavior” towards them, which included “inappropriate contact” after a long-night of drinking, has resigned.  He’s also given notice that he won’t be heading to Rome to help pick the next Pope.


I can’t think of when a Catholic cardinal actually stood up and did the right thing involving any of these ongoing child-rape scandals.  I’ll give him credit for at least that.


He’s the top UK Catholic Cardinal. He’s really anti-gay.  And he stands accused by 3 current priests, and one former priest, of being not just a big gay – but a big sexually-harassing gay.  He’s Britain’s Cardinal Keith O’Brien.

And of course, Cardinal O’Brien should be heading to Rome soon to join the other cardinals in selecting the next Pope, and you can pretty much guarantee that the Catholics won’t bar him from the proceedings.  Hell, it’s practically a badge of honor among this crowd.

I did some research on Cardinal O’Brien, and he was considered “liberal” until 2005 or so, especially on gay issues. That year, O’Brien rebuked a Catholic bishop for saying gays shouldn’t be permitted to teach in Catholic schools: “I don’t have a problem with the personal life of a person as long as they are not flaunting their sexuality.” A rather gutsy comment for a Catholic leader.

But then, something changed.  Wikipedia has the details:

Cardinal Keith O'Brien

Cardinal Keith O’Brien via Wikipedia/

In May 2005 he told members of the Scottish Parliament that homosexuals were “captives of sexual aberrations”, comparing homosexuals to prisoners in Saughton jail. In January 2006 he criticised Westminster MPs over the introduction of civil partnerships in the UK, and Holyrood members over the liberalisation of divorce laws in Scotland, In July 2006 he opposed proposals to change the law which would require Catholic adoption agencies to place children with homosexuals in the same way as with heterosexuals, calling them totalitarian.[dubious – discuss] In 2011 he criticised “aggressive secularism” denouncing what he claimed was the way Christians had been prevented from acting in accordance with their beliefs because they refuse to endorse such lifestyles.

On 5 March 2012, O’Brien criticised the concept of same-sex marriage on BBC Radio 4, saying it would shame the United Kingdom and that promoting such things would degenerate society further.

So it’s not clear if the lady doth protest too much, whether Cardinal O’Brien felt it politically convenient to have an anti-gay change of heart, whether he had a sincere change of heart, or what.

What we do know is that three current priests, and one former priest, claim that Cardinal O’Brien exhibited “inappropriate behavior” towards them, and at least one claims “inappropriate contact.”  At least one of the men was 18 years old at the time.

If past is prologue, don’t expect Cardinal O’Brien or the Vatican to do the right thing and abstain from going to Rome to select the new Pope.  Let’s face it.  This is a church that is willing to aid and abet the rape of young children, and then sees no problem in not fully addressing these crimes after the fact.  The fact that a Catholic Cardinal may have sexually harassed and/or had gay relations with an 18 year old seminarian is hardly going to make waves with people who shrug over child-rape.

Speaking of shrugging over child rape, another Cardinal on the “is he heading to Rome” watch-list is former Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles.  You’ll recall that church documents claim that Mahony helped shield child molester priests. Mahony then turned around and asked God to forgive his accusers for saying such bad things about him (mind you, his accusers were Catholic church documents).  Then a few days ago, Mahony said he was being scapegoated, and compared himself to Jesus on the cross, who, at last accounting, was not known to have aided and abetted pedophiles.

Let me revisit briefly the rest of the recent history of the Catholic leadership in not addressing its ongoing sex problems.  It’s all the more evidence that nothing will be done to address these accusations against Mahony, since nothing is every done sufficiently to address the moral failings of the Catholic church’s immoral leadership:

Pope-to-be Ratzinger blames victims

The most obvious person from whom Mahony probably borrowed this “forgive my victims” line from is none other than pope-to-be Cardinal Ratzinger.

Ratzinger to the Catholic News Service in 2002, commenting on the Catholic church pedophile priest scandal:

“I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign, as the percentage of these offences among priests is not higher than in other categories, and perhaps it is even lower.”

“In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than 1% of priests are guilty of acts of this type,” he said. “The constant presence of these news items does not correspond to the objectivity of the information nor to the statistical objectivity of the facts.

“Therefore, one comes to the conclusion that it is intentional, manipulated, that there is a desire to discredit the Church. It is a logical and well-founded conclusion.”

Get it?  The victims are to blame.  This isn’t a glitch, it’s a feature.

NY Cardinal: We didn’t do anything wrong

Former NY Cardinal retracts apology for enabling child rapists: “I don’t think we did anything wrong”

In 2002, at the height of the outcry over the sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic priests, the Archbishop of New York, Edward M. Egan, issued a letter to be read at Mass. In it, he offered an apology about the church’s handling of sex-abuse cases in New York and in Bridgeport, Conn., where he was previously posted.
“It is clear that today we have a much better understanding of this problem,” he wrote. “If in hindsight we also discover that mistakes may have been made as regards prompt removal of priests and assistance to victims, I am deeply sorry.”

Now, 10 years later and in retirement, Cardinal Egan has taken back his apology.

In an interview in the February issue of Connecticut magazine, a surprisingly frank Cardinal Egan said of the apology, “I never should have said that,” and added, “I don’t think we did anything wrong.”

Catholic leader: Child rape is “understandable,” blames children

Catholic Church leader says child rape “understandable,” blames children – defends Sandusky at Penn State:

People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath. But that’s not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer … It’s not so hard to see — a kid looking for a father and didn’t have his own — and they won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that.

It’s an understandable thing … there are the relatively rare cases where a priest is involved in a homosexual way with a minor. I think the statistic I read recently in a secular psychology review was about 2%. Would that be true of other clergy? Would it be true of doctors, lawyers, coaches?

Here’s this poor guy — [Penn State football coach Jerry] Sandusky — it went on for years. Interesting: Why didn’t anyone say anything? Apparently, a number of kids knew about it and didn’t break the ice. Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime. It was a moral failure, scandalous; but they didn’t think of it in terms of legal things.

Catholic Church used to castrate young boys who accused them of rape

There was once a time when the Catholic church simply castrated young boys who accused priests of raping them:

At least one boy under the age of 16 was castrated to ‘help’ his homosexual feelings while in Catholic church care in the 1950s, the NRC reported on Saturday.

But there are indications at least 10 other boys were also castrated, the paper said. The claims were not included in the Deetman report on sexual abuse within the Catholic church published at the end of last year.

The paper says the one confirmed case concerned a boy – Henk Heithuis – who reported being sexually abused by priests to the police in 1956. After giving evidence, he was placed in a Catholic-run psychiatric institution where he was then castratedbecause of his ‘homosexual behaviour’.

Catholic Church laments prison term for pedophile-enabler

In contrast to how it castrated young victims of child-rape by its won priests, the Catholic church has been quite understanding of its pedophile priests, who it thinks are being punished unfairly.  From our earlier reporting:

From the NYT:

Monsignor Lynn served as secretary for clergy for the 1.5 million-member archdiocese from 1992 to 2004, recommending priest assignments and investigating abuse complaints. During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that he had shielded predatory priests, sometimes transferring them to unwary parishes, and lied to the public to avoid bad publicity and lawsuits.

He got three to six years.  Classic statement from the Catholic church:

In a statement Tuesday, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said that its procedures for protecting children had improved significantly since “the events some 10 years ago that were at the center of this trial.”It acknowledged “legitimate anger in the broad community toward any incident or enabling of sexual abuse.” But it also described the sentence as overly harsh, saying “fair-minded people will question the severity.”

“We hope that when this punishment is objectively reviewed, it will be adjusted,” it said.

So the victims get castrated, and the men who helped the rapists get away and rape more children get the church’s pity.

Catholic church gives full church funeral to priest who raped 150 kids

To you the full flavor of just how out of touch – no, evil – the Catholic church is, here’s a neat little story we reported on about how the church gave a convicted pedophile priest a full church funeral after he raped 150 kids:

John J. Geoghan was laid to rest yesterday in a traditional Roman Catholic funeral rite.

Priests and nuns were heavily represented among the two dozen or so mourners who attended the Mass at Holy Name parish in West Roxbury, the Geoghan family church. Geoghan’s sister, Catherine, was also there.

An unidentified representative of Archbishop Sean P. O’Malley attended, said the Rev. Christopher Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

“People from within the Catholic community are reaching out to Cathy,” Coyne said “The most important thing when a Christian dies is that the community prays that he or she is sped to heaven.”

Monsignor George F. Carlson, pastor of Holy Name, celebrated the funeral Mass.

Pope-to-be Ratzinger slaps reporter for asking about his role in covering up child-rape

And my personal favorite: the time the Pope-to-be slapped a reporter who asked him about his reported role in covering up the pedophile scandal:

The accusers say Vatican-based Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who heads the Vatican office to safeguard the faith and the morals of the church, quietly made the [pedophile priest] lawsuit go away and shelved it. There was no investigation and the accusers weren’t asked a single question or asked for a statement.

He was appointed by the pope to investigate the entire sex abuse scandal in the church in recent days. But when approached by ABCNEWS in Rome last week with questions of allegations against Maciel, Ratzinger became visibly upset and actually slapped this reporter’s hand.

“Come to me when the moment is given,” Ratzinger told ABCNEWS, “not yet.”

“Cardinal Ratzinger is sheltering Maciel, protecting him,” said Berry, who expressed concerns that no response was being given to the allegations against the man charged with sex abuse. “These men knelt and kissed the ring of Cardinal Ratzinger when they filed the case in Rome. And a year-and-a-half later, he takes those accusations and aborts them, just stuffs them.”

Did Pope Benedict resign because of his role in covering up the pedophilia scandal?

And mind you, in spite of then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s role in helping to cover up pedophile priests, they still made him Pope.  Which leads one to wonder, as our own Gaius Publius, whether Pope Benedict’s role as pedophile-priest enabler has finally caught up with him, and that’s why he’s resigning later this month:

The Onion on the PopeBenedict’s stated reason is his waning strength, but that hasn’t stopped the rumors. As Cardinal, Ratzinger was Pope John Paul II’s enforcement officer — he rode herd on the many sex scandals and their “containment.” Was he involved in crimes of concealment? Almost certainly, but there’s little direct public evidence. Is there new explosive documentation that could lay the dead cat of scandal at his personal door? Nothing has been revealed so far that’s worse than what we’ve seen (search for “Munich”), and Ratzinger has weathered those storms.

Still, why so sudden? Is there something about the timing?

Gaius has a later story on the potential smoking gun against Pope Benedict that’s found in the to-be-released Legion of Christ documents.

This is an ongoing theme in the Catholic church, specifically regarding the child-rape scandals.  They hold themselves blameless.  And will probably hold Mahony and O’Brien blameless too.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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