Pressure Mounts on Cardinal Keith O'Brien after More Details of Allegations Emerge
By Lauren Crooks
March 3, 2013
| Cardinal Keith O'Brien
| Drygrange near Melrose. The building was formerly used as St.Andrew's College and catholic seminary where Cardinal Keith O'Brien was the rector.
A STATEMENT from Cardinal O’Brien is expected within days after more details of the allegations against him emerged last night.
The cleric – who was Britain’s most senior Catholic until his resignation last week – has remained silent since issuing a brief statement on Monday.
He said the allegations are “contested” and that he is taking legal advice. However, Monday’s statement did not refer to them.
He did apologise to anyone he had offended during his career.
But he is coming under growing pressure as more information about the claims emerges.
They are centred on his time as spiritual director of St Andrew’s College in Drygrange, in the Borders.
One of the four men involved claims O’Brien tried to seduce him at the college. The man reportedly left the priesthood because of O’Brien and was left “bewildered, upset and depressed” by the incident, which he alleges happened late at night after prayers.
The man, then aged 20, completed his studies at St Andrew’s and was ordained in March 1985 before being sent to a parish on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
But he decided to leave soon after learning O’Brien would be his Archbishop.
He said: “I knew then he would always have power over me.”
It has been claimed that during the cardinal’s time at St Andrew’s, late-night drinking parties were common and that on religious holidays, beer and wine were served from lunchtime in parties known as “ragers”.
The document outlining the claims of inappropriate conduct by three priests and the former priest was sent to Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the papal nuncio, or Vatican ambassador, to Britain, earlier this month.
It emerged on Friday that the Vatican were aware of another allegation dating back to 2001 and which was made in October.