Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who resigned in disgrace, dies aged 80

Cardinal Keith O'Brien who has died aged 80

Cardinal Keith O'Brien who has died aged 80

Keith O'Brien, the Scottish cardinal who resigned his post as archbishop after facing allegations of sexual misconduct, has died at 80-years old.

The former Cardinal, who was once the most powerful member of the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom, resigned as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh in 2013 following allegations of sexual misconduct, was treated in Newcastle after suffering a head injury.

He had broken his collarbone and injured his head in a fall last month, they said. He died in a Newcastle hospital yesterday.

"I would never criticise him for being gay or for his own lifestyle choices, but the hypocrisy of saying one thing publicly and doing another privately is an abuse of power that's symptomatic of a wider abuse in the Catholic Church".

Keith O'Brien was born in 1938 in Ballycastle, County Antrim.

Normally the death of a high-ranking member of the Catholic hierarchy is an occasion of pomp and ceremony; however, it is unlikely this will be afforded to Cardinal O'Brien given his damaged reputation. "To those I have offended, I apologise and ask forgiveness", he said.

In a telegram to Archbishop Cushley, Pope Francis said he was saddened to learn of the cardinal's death and offered his "heartfelt condolences to you, his family and all who mourn his passing".

His death, which followed a fall on Friday, was announced by his predecessor, Archbishop of St Andrew's and Edinburgh Leo Cushley, who had administered the Last Rites to O'Brien. May he rest in peace'.

He passed away peacefully in the early hours of March 19 at the age of 80 at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne surrounded by family and friends. Scottish newspaper The Herald reported March 20 that the Holy See will be a participant in the decision, as well as Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who the Pope appointed to manage the O'Brien scandal in 2013.

After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, he attended St Andrew's College in Drygrange, and was ordained in 1965. I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement.

O'Brien, from Northern Ireland, was the Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh from 1985 until 2013. "I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland", he said in a statement in March 2013.

Pope Francis accepted his resignation and stated Cardinal O'Brien would not take part in future papal elections, act as papal adviser, or take part in Vatican congregations and councils and would lose other roles as a cardinal.

"But we can't forget the serious issues within the Catholic Church that he represents".

"And I hope in the last years of his life when he took off the mitre, took off the cardinal's robes, he found something more real".

From 2002 to 2012, he served as president of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland. "With constant hope in the Lord's goodness and mercy".

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