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Queer Talk: Top UK Cardinal Resigns After Allegations of ‘Inappropriate Behavior’ With Priests

CArdinal O'Brien 5 GT

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, senior Catholic official in the UK and strong opponent of LGBT equality, resigned amid allegations of “inappropriate behavior” with priests. The allegations come from one former, and three current, priests. O’Brien contested the claims, and was due to retire next month.

At AmericaBlogGay, John Aravosis has a detailed report, including related background. About the allegations, they indicate that the “inappropriate behavior” included “‘inappropriate contact’ after a long-night of drinking … .” One of those making the allegations was eighteen (a seminarian) at the time of the “inappropriate behavior.”

Zack Ford, at Think Progress writes:

The full details of the allegations are not yet known, but one priest alleges that O’Brien had an extended relationship with him that resulted in the need for long-term psychological counseling and others acknowledge unwanted sexual contact.

O’Brien’s anti-LGBT position was well-known, though as Aravosis writes, it was also a change from an earlier stance. Until about 2005, he was actually seen as somewhat “liberal” on LGBT issues. As Aravosis writes, that year

… O’Brien rebuked a Catholic bishop for saying gays shouldn’t be permitted to teach in Catholic schools.

Then something changed.

In May 2005 he told members of the Scottish Parliament that homosexuals were ‘captives of sexual aberrations … .

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.
So it’s not clear if the lady doth protest too much, whether Cardinal O’Brien felt it politically convenient to have an anti-gay change of heart, whether he had a sincere change of heart, or what.

Whatever the reasons, the change was significant. From Ford:

O’Brien has been a virulent opponent of LGBT equality, having launched a ‘war on gay marriage’ last year, describing same-sex marriage as a ‘grotesque subversion.’ In November, the gay rights group Stonewall unapologetically named him ‘bigot of the year’ for his constant condemnations of gay people and their families. Just last week, O’Brien reiterated his opposition to same-sex marriage, but surprisingly suggested that straight priests ought to be allowed to marry.

Aravosis recaps “the recent history of the Catholic leadership,” relevant to O’Brien’s resignation. (emphasis added)

Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles. You’ll recall that church documents claim that Mahony helped shield child molester priests. …

(P)ope-to-be Cardinal Ratzinger. Ratzinger to the Catholic News Service in 2002, commenting on the Catholic church pedophile priest scandal: …

‘In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than 1% of priests are guilty of acts of this type,’ he said. … ‘Therefore, one comes to the conclusion that it is intentional, manipulated, that there is a desire to discredit the Church. …’

Get it? The victims are to blame. This isn’t a glitch, it’s a feature. …

Former NY Cardinal retracts apology for enabling child rapists ….

In 2002 … the Archbishop of New York, Edward M. Egan, issued a letter to be read at Mass. In it, he offered an apology about the church’s handling of sex-abuse cases in New York and in Bridgeport, Conn., where he was previously posted. …

Now, 10 years later and in retirement, Cardinal Egan has taken back his apology. … ‘I don’t think we did anything wrong.’ …

Catholic Church leader says child rape ‘understandable,’ blames children – defends Sandusky at Penn State … .

Catholic church gives full church funeral to priest who raped 150 kids

Pope-to-be Ratzinger … slapped a reporter who asked him about his reported role in covering up the pedophile scandal. …

The slap, it was reported, was on the hand. Naughty boy.

And of course, there are the questions about Pope Benedict’s resignation, and whether it is related to his then-Cardinal role in “covering up” a “pedophilia scandal.” Allegations and questions are not proof, though there is enough of that — proof — in enough cases that the allegations have to be taken seriously. To this point, it doesn’t seem that, in general, the Catholic hierarchy has really figured that out.

(Cardinal Keith O’Brien via Carmelite Friars)

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