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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/8/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Case is only the second time a cardinal has been accused of sexual misconduct

The Vatican is sending its former sex crimes prosecutor, Bishop Charles Scicluna to investigate allegations against a former archbishop accused of inappropriate conduct with priests. Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigned last year after admitting to sexual misdeeds.

Once Britain's highest-ranking Catholic leader, Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigned as the archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh in 2013.

Once Britain's highest-ranking Catholic leader, Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigned as the archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh in 2013.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/8/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Bishop Charles Scicluna, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, sex scandal, Scotland


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Charles Scicluna will go to Scotland to report on the situation.

Once Britain's highest-ranking Catholic leader, O'Brien resigned as the archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh in 2013. He also recused himself from the conclave that elected Francis as pope last year after priests alleged in British newspaper reports that he acted inappropriately toward them.

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The priests said that they had complained to church authorities about O'Brien's conduct -- but that the church had failed to respond. None of the men are believed to have been underage at the time of the misconduct.

O'Brien initially denied the allegations. He eventually admitted that his sexual conduct had "fallen below the standards expected" of a priest, archbishop and cardinal. He tendered an apology and vowed to play no further role in the public life of the Scottish church.

The Vatican had ordered O'Brien to leave Scotland for a period of prayer and atonement. The Vatican had never confirmed it was investigating the allegations until the National Catholic Reporter reported Scicluna's visit.

The matter is unusual given O'Brien's rank as a cardinal. It's only the second known time that a cardinal has been investigated by the Holy See for sexual misconduct. The first time was when the then-archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Hans Groer, was forced to resign in 1995 over claims he molested youths in a monastery in the 1970s.

The current archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Leo Cushly, urged any current or former priest to come forward and speak with Scicluna, urging them to be unafraid, saying they could speak confidentially or in writing if they preferred.

Scicluna was for a decade the Vatican's chief sex crimes prosecutor, largely credited with cracking down on pedophile priests and turning around the church's in-house procedures to prosecute them under canon law. Named an auxiliary bishop to Malta in 2012, he has remained active in his area of expertise, Scicluna recently represented the Holy See before a U.N. human rights committee evaluating the Vatican's record on sex abuse.

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