Cardinal O'Brien and the Questions the Church Must Answer

By Severin Carrell
The Guardian
March 4, 2013

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia takes his first service in O'Brien's stead at St Mary's Cathedral, in Edinburgh, on 28 February.

• Had any senior figures in the Scottish Catholic church been aware of allegations about Cardinal Keith O'Brien's behaviour and private life before the papal nuncio to the UK, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, was given sworn statements by four men, three serving priests and a former priest, in early February?

• Were any officials in O'Brien's private office or staff aware of these allegations, or of the cardinal's sexual relationships, while he was denouncing homosexuality as a "grotesque subversion"?

• If so, what action did they take?

• What led the Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI to order the cardinal's immediate resignation, suddenly last Monday, when it had known of the four men's allegations since early February?

• Was this because the cardinal had challenged the church's ban on priests' marrying or having children, in a BBC television interview two days before the Observer's disclosures of those allegations?

• When exactly did the Vatican first become aware of allegations about O'Brien's conduct towards fellow priests?

• Was it in February, late last year, or earlier?

• Will the Vatican publish findings of its inquiries into the allegations against O'Brien and his new admission of fault since he became a priest, in 1965?

• Given that it now has only three full-time, permanent bishops in post, does the Scottish Catholic church agree with Professor John Haldane that it needs reform, merging its eight dioceses into a maximum of four?


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