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Cardinal Keith O’Brien dies aged 80

Cardinal Keith O'Brien (PA)

Archbishop emeritus of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien has died at the age of 80.

Born on St Patrick’s day 1938, the County Antrim native was ordained archbishop in 1985 and later made Cardinal in 2003 by Pope St. John Paul II, until his resignation in the face allegations of inappropriate behaviour shortly before the 2013 conclave which elected Pope Francis.

Addressing the matter himself in 2013, Cardinal O’Brien stated: “I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal. To those I have offended, I apologise and ask forgiveness. To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologise. I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland.”

Following his resignation from public life as Cardinal Archbishop, and with the permission of the Holy See, he retired to the North of England. Later in 2015 it was announced by the Holy See that Pope Francis had “accepted the resignation of Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien from the rights and duties of a Cardinal”, excluding him from participating in future papal elections and to act as a papal advisor, among the other roles of a Cardinal of the Church.

In a press release from the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, current Archbishop Leo Cushley stated: “In life, Cardinal O’Brien may have divided opinion – in death, however, I think all can be united in praying for the repose of his soul, for comfort for his grieving family and that support and solace be given to those whom he offended, hurt and let down. May he rest in peace.”

Funeral arrangements are yet to be announced.