THE most senior Catholic cleric in Britain - Cardinal Keith O’Brien - who was born in Ballycastle - is facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
Three priests and a former priest in Scotland have reported Cardinal O’Brien, to the Vatican over allegations of inappropriate behaviour stretching back 30 years.
A report published in the Observer website claimed the four, from the diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, have complained to nuncio Antonio Mennini, the Vatican’s ambassador to Britain, and demanded O’Brien’s immediate resignation. A spokesman for the cardinal said that the claims were contested.
One of the complainants, it is understood, alleges that the cardinal developed an inappropriate relationship with him, resulting in a need for long-term psychological counselling.
The four submitted statements containing their claims to the nuncio’s office the week before Pope Benedict’s resignation on 11 February. They fear that, if O’Brien travels to the forthcoming papal conclave to elect a new pope, the church will not fully address their complaints.
“It tends to cover up and protect the system at all costs,” said one of the complainants. “The church is beautiful, but it has a dark side and that has to do with accountability. If the system is to be improved, maybe it needs to be dismantled a bit.”
Earlier this week, the cleric said he would be happy for priests to marry.