||This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2012)|
Cardinal Keith O'Brien
|Archbishop Emeritus of St Andrews and Edinburgh|
|Archdiocese||St Andrews and Edinburgh|
|Appointed||30 May 1985|
|Enthroned||5 August 1985|
|Reign ended||25 February 2013|
|Other posts||Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Gioacchino ed Anna al Tuscolano|
|Ordination||3 April 1965
by Gordon Joseph Gray
|Consecration||5 August 1985
by Gordon Joseph Gray
|Created Cardinal||21 October 2003|
|Birth name||Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien|
17 March 1938 |
Ballycastle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
|Previous post||Apostolic Administrator of Argyll and The Isles, Scotland (1996–99)|
|Motto||Serve the Lord with gladness|
|Coat of arms|
Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien (born 17 March 1938) is a Scottish cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh from 1985 to 2013. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 2003.
O'Brien was the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland and had been the head of its Conference of Bishops. In November 2012, he tendered his resignation from the governance of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh shortly before his 75th birthday, which was definitively accepted by the Pope on 18 February 2013 and made public on 25 February 2013. The announcement of his resignation followed allegations of inappropriate conduct with junior clergy. It was also announced that he would not be voting in the conclave to elect Benedict XVI's successor. On 3 March 2013 O'Brien admitted that his sexual conduct had at times "fallen beneath the standards expected of [him]".
Early life and education 
O’Brien was born at Ballycastle, in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, on 17 March 1938. After primary education in Ballycastle, he moved with his family to Scotland where his father was serving with the Royal Navy at Faslane, initially attending St Stephen's Primary School, Dalmuir before continuing to secondary school at St Patrick's High School, Dumbarton. His family then moved to Edinburgh, where he completed his secondary education at Holy Cross Academy, before studying at the University of Edinburgh where he gained a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry in 1959 (and later a Diploma in Education in 1966). His studies for the priesthood were at St Andrew's College, Drygrange, Roxburghshire, and he was ordained priest on 3 April 1965 by his predecessor, Cardinal Gordon Gray. Initially, serving as curate at Holy Cross, Edinburgh from 1965 until 1966, he completed his teacher training certificate at Moray House College of Education. For the next 5 years, from 1966 to 1971, he was employed by Fife County Council as a teacher of mathematics and science; he also served as chaplain to St Columba's Secondary School, initially in Cowdenbeath and then in Dunfermline, while assisting at St Bride's Parish, Cowdenbeath.
He was then moved to full-time parish apostolate in St Patrick's, Kilsyth from 1972 until 1975 and then St Mary's, Bathgate from 1975 until 1978. He served as spiritual director to the students at St Andrew's College, Drygrange from 1978 until 1980 then as Rector of St Mary's College, Blairs, the junior seminary near Aberdeen, from 1980 until 1985.
Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh 
O’Brien was nominated Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh on 30 May 1985 and was consecrated by Cardinal Gray, then Archbishop Emeritus of St Andrews and Edinburgh, at St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh on 5 August 1985. Pope John Paul II created him Cardinal-Priest of Ss Joachim and Anne ad Tusculanum on 21 October 2003.
O'Brien was made Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in 2005, appointed Grand Prior of the Scottish Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in 2001 and appointed Knight Grand Cross (KGCHS) of that order in 2003.
O'Brien was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada in 2004; awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the University of St Andrews in 2004 and awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the University of Edinburgh, also in 2004. He was Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles from 1996 until 1999 when Bishop Ian Murray took over the diocese. O'Brien took part in the 2005 Papal Conclave which elected Pope Benedict XVI. In anticipation of the 2010 visit of Pope Benedict to England and Scotland, O'Brien and Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, said that the crisis involving Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh, over the priest Brendan Smyth and other clerical abuse charges is one for the Irish Catholic Church and should not overshadow Pope Benedict's visit. O'Brien and Vincent Nichols were asked whether the pope will respond to charges made against the church about clerical sex abuse during his four-day visit – the first papal visit to the UK since Pope John Paul II came in 1982.
"We do not know whether he will address that subject. We are quite a different country from Ireland, or France or wherever else. Basically, I do not know whether he will address that particular subject", said O'Brien, while Archbishop Nichols said English, Welsh and Scottish bishops have "robust" rules in place to protect children. O'Brien initially intended to take part in the 2013 conclave to elect the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, but he cancelled his participation due to his resignation in February that year.
Curial appointments 
After his creation as cardinal, O'Brien was appointed a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and also a member of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. He was President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland and fulfils various engagements at the request of other members of the Conference. He has been referred to sometimes as the "Primate of Scotland", however, no such title was bestowed upon him and there is no precedent in Scotland for the position of Primate.
Missionary interest 
O'Brien showed interest in the foreign missions, having visited the territory previously adopted by his own archdiocese – Bauchi in northern Nigeria – on two occasions. He has also visited his priests who are on loan to dioceses in Central America, having visited El Salvador on three occasions and Chiapas in Mexico on two occasions, as well as going to Guatemala. As a director of the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF), he visited projects funded from Scotland in successive years: Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2004, Ethiopia in 2005, and Darfur in Sudan in 2006. During the same year, O'Brien promoted various projects in the Diocese of Moshi in Tanzania which are supported by Holy Rood High School and the parish of St John in Portobello. He also visited India early in 2007, and has been invited to visit Beijing and Shanghai in the Peoples Republic of China and Hanoi in Vietnam.
O'Brien is often forthright in his political and spiritual views. In 1999, at the European Synod of Bishops, O'Brien declared who he saw fit to be the next Archbishop of Westminster, following the death of Cardinal Hume. He named his candidate, Father Timothy Radcliffe, Master General of the Dominican Order (Black Friars). At this Synod, Radcliffe had made an appeal to O'Brien. There is a crisis of authority going in the Church, Radcliffe stated, but the answer cannot be more emphasis on authority. In presence of the Pope, Radcliffe went on: the Church should not only speak about the poor, the divorced people, women who had had an abortion, homosexuals, but also take at heart their experiences, eat their bread, take what they have to offer. 'They'll blame us being associated with the wrong people but we have a good precedent'.
In 2011 he criticised "aggressive secularism" denouncing what he claimed was the way Christians had been prevented from acting in accordance with their beliefs. O'Brien said aggressive secularism threatened the Christian heritage and he wanted religion to remain in the public sphere. Specifically legislation requiring Christians to tolerate homosexuality was a type of secularism O'Brien opposed, he called on Christians of all denominations to unite in combating secularism.
Referring to equality legislation which prevents discrimination against homosexuals, he [O'Brien] said Christians faced being sidelined in British society because they were not willing to publicly endorse lifestyles that run contrary to their belief system.
His [O'Brien's Easter 2011] homily included instances where Christians had fallen foul of equality legislation, preventing discrimination against gay people, and swiftly drew fire from groups campaigning against religious privilege in public life. 
Before his elevation to cardinal, O'Brien had been regarded as "liberal" on the issue of homosexuality, noting the number of homosexual priests in the Church. In 2005, O'Brien rebuked Bishop Joseph Devine who had suggested that homosexuals should not be allowed to teach in Catholic schools commenting, "I don't have a problem with the personal life of a person as long as they are not flaunting their sexuality." In December 2004 he told members of the Scottish Parliament that homosexuals were "captives of sexual aberrations", comparing homosexuals to prisoners in Saughton jail. Later O'Brien called homosexuality a “moral degradation”.  
In January 2006 he criticised Westminster MPs over the introduction of civil partnerships in the UK, and Holyrood members over the liberalisation of divorce laws in Scotland, In July 2006 he opposed proposals to change the law which would require Catholic adoption agencies to place children with homosexuals in the same way as with heterosexuals, calling them totalitarian.[dubious ]
In December 2011, O'Brien reiterated the Catholic Church's continued opposition to civil partnerships and suggested that there should be no laws that "facilitate" same-sex relationships, which he claimed were "harmful", arguing that “The empirical evidence is clear, same-sex relationships are demonstrably harmful to the medical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of those involved, no compassionate society should ever enact legislation to facilitate or promote such relationships, we have failed those who struggle with same-sex attraction and wider society by our actions.”
On 23 February 2013, The Observer published accounts of four male members of the Scottish Catholic clergy (current or former priests) claiming that in the early 1980s O'Brien had abused his position as a member of the church hierarchy by making unwanted homosexual advances towards them  and further accusations followed.
Same-sex marriage 
On 5 March 2012, O'Brien criticised the concept of same-sex marriage on BBC Radio 4, saying it would shame the United Kingdom and that promoting such things would degenerate society further. Conservative MP Margot James, who was considered one of the most influential gay women in 2009, called these comments "scaremongering" and said: "I think it is a completely unacceptable way for a prelate to talk. I think that the government is not trying to force Catholic churches to perform gay marriages at all. It is a purely civil matter." Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Harriet Harman said, "We have had prejudice, discrimination and homophobia for hundreds of years. That doesn't make it right [...] I don't want anybody to feel that this is a licence for whipping up prejudice." Dan Hodges wrote: "I can't remember the last time I read a more morally and intellectually bankrupt rant from a senior member of the clergy." Stonewall, a London-based lobbying group against attacks on lesbians, gay men and bisexuals, awarded O'Brien "Bigot of the Year" at their annual awards in November 2012. The award was criticised by the first minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, as being "clearly wrong" and "not conducive to a proper and dignified debate on the important issue of equality in Scotland".
Clerical celibacy 
Abortion and embryo research 
In May 2007 he urged Roman Catholics to reject political candidates who support what he called the "social evil" of abortion, and said that such Catholic politicians should not expect to remain full members of the Church.
During March 2008, O'Brien highlighted the issue of an embryology bill facing parliament, denouncing the government for a "monstrous attack on human rights" through its "evil" endorsement of "Frankenstein" experiments. Some scientists suggested that he intentionally used inflammatory language to stir up opposition to the bill; however others argued he was sticking up for morals and forced the Government to allow MPs to vote freely on the issue. (Gordon Brown had originally imposed a three-line whip on Labour MPs, meaning they had to back the bill, regardless of personal convictions.)
O'Brien posted a video on YouTube in which he put forward his beliefs concerning the Human Embryology & Fertilisation Bill. The short video was also put on DVD and sent to every MP in parliament. In the video O'Brien made clear he is not against medical research – and supports research with adult Stem Cells — but is opposed to the using of embryos which will be destroyed after experimentation. He voiced concerns over "human-animal hybrids" in the video.
British politics 
In February 2010, the Secretary of State for Scotland, Jim Murphy, stated that faith was "at the very foundations of the Labour Party." O'Brien responded by saying he "welcomed the sentiment" but pointed out that "a tangible example by the Government over the last decade that it acknowledged or endorsed religious values would also have been welcomed. Instead we have witnessed this Government undertake a systematic and unrelenting attack on family values." O'Brien revealed that he had told the Scottish Labour Leader, Iain Gray, "I hope he [Pope Benedict XVI] gives you hell for what has happened over the past 10 years." This was a reference to the then upcoming visit of Benedict XVI in September 2010.
In March 2011 O'Brien called British foreign policy "anti-Christian" for greatly increasing aid to Pakistan without requiring any commitment from the Pakistani government to religious freedom for Christians and other minorities. He made this statement in the wake of the assassination of Pakistani minister Shahbaz Bhatti, who had spoken out against the country's blasphemy law.
British monarchy 
O'Brien has called for a 310-year-old law banning Catholics from taking the throne to be repealed. He said the Act of Settlement of 1701 was hampering efforts to curb sectarianism. Prime Minister David Cameron said that "in principle" he supported reforming the law on royal succession to remove the ban on Catholics, or people married to Catholics, ascending the throne.
Scottish independence 
In an interview with the University of St Andrews philosopher John Haldane, published in the Catholic Herald in October 2006, O'Brien stated that he would be "happy" if Scots voted for independence, and predicted that independence is coming "before too long". He drew parallels with the independence of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland: "it is difficult to argue that ecclesiastical independence is acceptable but political independence is not".
"Inappropriate acts" and resignation as archbishop 
On 23 February 2013, it was reported by The Observer that O'Brien had been accused of inappropriate behaviour involving three serving priests and one former priest within the Diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh dating back to the 1980s. The former priest resigned the priesthood when O’Brien became a bishop and stated, "I knew then he would always have power over me. (…) I left to preserve my integrity."
It was reported that one complainant needed long term counselling due to the inappropriate actions of O'Brien.
One of the four, referred to only as "Priest C", alleges that the degree of control a superior has over subordinate priests made it hard for him to refuse O'Brien's demands. "He [the bishop above a priest] has immense power over you. He can move you, freeze you out, bring you into the fold … he controls every aspect of your life."
The complaint demanding O'Brien's immediate resignation was lodged with the Vatican's ambassador to the United Kingdom and there were efforts to silence at least one critic.
O'Brien initially contested the allegations. According to the BBC, a source within the church said that O'Brien "doesn't know who his accusers are and doesn't know what they're accusing him of". On 24 February 2013 he failed to attend a special service to celebrate the eight-year tenure of Pope Benedict XVI at St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh. It was widely reported that he had sought legal advice and been advised not to attend. On 25 February 2013, it was announced that O'Brien had resigned as archbishop and would not participate in the forthcoming conclave. O'Brien has made no public appearance since 25 February, and The Scotsman could not reach him by late April 2013.
On 3 March 2013, the Scottish Catholic Media Office released a statement from O'Brien in which he "admit[ted] that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal." Archbishop Philip Tartaglia acting as temporary successor to O'Brien claimed the "credibility and moral authority" of the Church had been damaged.
O'Brien was further accused of trying to grope a priest in 2003 in Rome at a drinks party to celebrate his becoming a cardinal. It was also alleged that O'Brien had been in a long-term physical relationship with one of the complainants.
The Scotsman reported that the Vatican was not actively investigating O'Brien's actions and would not hold a formal investigation or publish any formal report because "The Church doesn’t work that way." Another source by the same newspaper suggested on 27 April 2013 that Cardinal Marc Ouellet would head an investigation into O'Brien, and that appointment of Scottish bishops had been halted till the inquiry was completed. No decision had been made to demote or defrock O'Brien.
O'Brien returned to Scotland and attempted to settle in the church-owned home he had planned to retire into in Dunbar, East Lothian. One of his accusers, a former seminarian, stated, "Keith O’Brien is giving the impression he wants a nice peaceful little retirement now. My experience hasn’t left me for decades and as far as I’m concerned this brings things very much back into focus. I have an issue with Keith O’Brien and it needs to be dealt with." There were fears the Cardinal's visibility would harm the Church further. On 15 March 2013, it was confirmed that the Vatican had ordered O'Brien to leave Scotland  and O'Brien left Scotland for months of "prayer and penance". 
|“||The statement didn’t specify that the decision was imposed on O’Brien by the Vatican as punishment, and in fact went out of its way to suggest that the decision was O’Brien’s. But in the past, wayward priests have been sanctioned by the Vatican with punishments of “prayer and penance,” and the statement made clear Francis supported the move and that the Holy See would decide his future fate.||”|
O'Brien will make atonement in an unspecified place away from 'his country'.  “Any decision regarding future arrangements for His Eminence [Cardinal Keith O'Brien] shall be agreed with the Holy See.”
Canon John Creanor has threatened legal action to prevent O'Brien being exiled and states he has a legal team ready. Richard Holloway, retired Bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church has said if O'Brien suffers enforced exile from Scotland this breaches international law, see Freedom of movement. Holloway said, “There is certainly something medieval about the ancient punishment of exile upon a broken man, though the CIA’s practice of extraordinary rendition may be a closer parallel.” 
The four complainants also oppose O'Brien doing prayer and penance away from Scotland for a different reason. They have stated O'Brien needs psychological counselling rather than prayer and penance, one accusing priest stated, "Keith is extremely manipulative and needs help to be challenged out of his denial. If he does not receive treatment, I believe he is still a danger to himself and to others." The four accusers believe there is a smokescreen but want an investigation to reveal the extent of O'Brien's predatory behaviour. They claim the full story has not yet been told. 
See also 
- Cardinal O'Brien, the Church's leader in Scotland, The Daily Telegraph, 18 April 2008
- He was the leader of Scotland’s 800,000 or so Catholics, Interview – Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Holyrood Magazine, 8 June 2007
- "Cardinal Keith O'Brien resignation: Statement in full". BBC News. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- Pigott, Robert (25 February 2013). "Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigns as Archbishop". BBC News. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- Robert Pigott (3 March 2013). "Cardinal Keith O'Brien sorry for sexual misconduct". BBC. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "Crisis will not overshadow UK visit by Pope Benedict, say church leaders". The Irish Times. 3 March 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- David M. Cheney. "Conclave – 2013". Catholic-hierarchy.org. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
- "In his speech on his ten-minute Bill, he mentioned that Cardinal O'Brien, the Primate of Scotland, had made a public statement...", Evan Harris MP, Oxford West & Abingdon, Liberal Democrat, 27 March 2009
- "Scotland: Cardinal O'Brien gets pacemaker". BBC News. 26 March 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- "Scotland: The 'Cardinal of Controversy'". BBC News. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 2012-04-29.
- "archiveDay". Trouw (in (Dutch)). Retrieved 2012-04-29.
- BBC website, 24 April 2011
- Cardinal on attack over secularism
- Cardinal Keith O'Brien warns of threat from 'aggressive secularism'
- Cardinal Keith O'Brien criticises secularism
- The Telegraph, October 2003
- The Scotsman, 28 March 2005
- Shamed Catholic Cardinal Keith O'Brien leaving Scotland 'for penance time' following inappropriate sexual conduct revelations
- Cardinal was in physical relationship with accuser
- Cardinal in family life broadside, BBC, 1 January 2006
- Sunday Times, 24 July 2006
- "Scotland fails homosexual people". SCO News. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- Catherine Deveney. "UK's top cardinal accused of 'inappropriate acts' by priests". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
- Comment. "We cannot afford to indulge this madness". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-04-29.
- "Cardinal Keith O'Brien causes Twitter fury after Today comments on gay marriage". Metro. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- "Gay Power: The Pink List 2009" The Independent, 2 July 2009.
- Comment (4 March 2012). "Catholic leader calls government's gay marriage plans 'madness'". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- Comment. "Gay marriage: people of faith need a better spokesman than Cardinal Keith O'Brien". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- "Brief overview of Stonewall". Stonewall.org.uk. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
- Tom Peck, "Britain's most senior Catholic is named 'Bigot of the Year'", The Independent, 2 November 2012
- "Storm over Stonewall's Cardinal Keith O'Brien 'bigot' award". BBC. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
- "Cardinal Keith O'Brien: 'Allow priests to marry'". BBC Scotland. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
- Cardinal sounds abortion warning, BBC, 31 May 2007
- "Cardinal O'Brien attacks embryo research". The Scotsman. 21 March 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- "Cardinal Keith O'Brien branded a 'liar' on embryo research by Labour peer". The Times. Retrieved 2012-04-29.
- "Cardinal O'Brien Condemns "Monstrous" Embryo Research". 4rfv. 21 March 2008. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "Cardinal Keith O'Brien sparks new embryo debate with YouTube video". Daily Record. Scotland. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- "Cardinal Keith O'Brien hits out at Labour for 'ignoring' religious views". Daily Record. Scotland. Retrieved 2012-04-29.
- "British government systematically attacking family values, Cardinal O'Brien states". Catholic News Agency. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- Bussey, Katrine (25 February 2010). "Pope could give Labour Party 'hell'". Press and Journal. Retrieved 2012-04-29.
- "Cardinal launches attack on Labour". BBC News. 24 February 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- "Cardinal O'Brien attacks UK's 'anti-Christian foreign policy' on Independent Catholic News". Indcatholicnews.com. 15 March 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- "Catholic church leader criticises royal succession rule". BBC. 19 May 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- Catholic leader backs Scottish independence, Scotland on Sunday, 15 October 2006
- UK's top cardinal accused of 'inappropriate acts' by priests
- Britain's Top Cleric Cardinal Keith O'Brien Resigns Following 'Inappropriate Behavior' Accusations
- Cardinal O'Brien complainant 'warned' of risk of damage to Church
- Cardinal Keith O'Brien 'very upset' about his resignationCardinal O'Brien's departure leaves a rudderless Church
- "Cardinal Keith O'Brien 'accused of inappropriate acts'". BBC. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
- No Vatican action expected on Cardinal O’Brien
- Statement from Cardinal O'Brien
- Cardinal Keith O'Brien admits and apologises for sexual misconduct The Guardian, 3 March 2013.
- Cardinal Keith O'Brien Sex Scandal 'A Serious Blow' To Catholic Church In Scotland
- Cardinal Keith O'Brien being sued by alleged abuse victim
- Cardinal Keith O'Brien accused of sex assault while in office as Cardinal
- "Cardinal was in physical relationship with accuser". Herald Scotland. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- Cardinal O’Brien scandal: No to new Scots bishops
- Shamed church leader Cardinal Keith O’Brien: ‘I didn’t always go on the right path’
- Catholic Church 'asks Vatican to step in' over O'Brien concerns
- Disgraced Cardinal Keith O'Brien to leave Scotland for 'prayer and penance'
- "Disgraced Cardinal Keith O'Brien to leave Scotland for 'prayer and penance'". BBC. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- Cardinal Keith O'Brien pays penance at Vatican
- Vatican: Cardinal O’Brien leaves Scotland to pray, atone after admitting to sexual misconduct
- Cardinal Keith O’Brien leaves Scotland under Vatican pressure
- Cardinal Keith O’Brien leaves Scotland under Vatican pressurePress release regarding Cardinal O'Brien
- Friend of Keith O'Brien says the shamed cardinal would be "broken" if he is banned from returning to Scotland
- Cardinal Keith O'Brien still a danger, say abuse accusers
- Profile at the Vatican website
- Profile at the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh website
- O'Brien's YouTube video concerning human embryos
|Catholic Church titles|
|Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh
30 May 1985 – 18 February 2013
Hans Hermann Groër
|Cardinal Priest of Santi Gioacchino ed Anna al Tuscolano
21 October 2003 – present