Cardinal Keith O’Brien dead: Disgraced Catholic Church Cardinal dies age 80

Cardinal Keith O'Brien

Disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien has died after a fall at the age of 80.

The former Cardinal, who was once the most powerful member of the Catholic Church in the UK, resigned as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh in 2013 following allegations of sexual misconduct, was treated in Newcastle after suffering a head injury.

“In life, Cardinal O’Brien may have divided opinion,” said Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh Leo Cushley to the BBC.

“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.”

The Cardinal resigned from his post in February 2013 after an investigation revealed that he had groped and had sexual relationships with priests since the 1980s.

At least 40 cases with different priests were recorded during this time.

One victim said to The Tablet that O’Brien acted “as if nothing had happened… he blanked it completely,” reported The Scotsman.

The priest in question said there was little opportunity or point in him reporting him due to the power of the Cardinal within the church.

“Who would have believed me? Who could I have gone to that would have taken me seriously.”

“The Cardinal had his lawyers and they would have crushed me. You’re controlled. You have no freedom of movement, of action. He can determine what your life is like,” the 77-year-old priest added.

In spite of the sexual misconduct with the priests, the Cardinal professed a series of anti-gay sentiments, including describing the introduction of same-sex marriage as “grotesque”.

In November 2012, he was named ‘Bigot of the Year’ by gay rights charity Stonewall due to his staunch opposition to LGBT rights and marriage equality.

“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,” said the Cardinal when he resigned from his post.

“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.”