Cardinal Keith O’Brien asked Vatican for forgiveness in his will

Cardinal Keith O'Brien

The will of disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien formally requested forgiveness from the Vatican for his history of sexually assaulting other men in the church.

Cardinal O’Brien, who compared marriage equality to child abuse, died after a fall at the age of 80 last month.

Once among the most powerful members of the Catholic Church in the UK, he resigned from his post in 2013 after an investigation revealed that he had groped and had sexual relationships with priests since the 1980s.

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

It seems the ex-Cardinal shared that view himself – because he asked for forgiveness in his will.

In the letter O’Brien wrote: “I ask for forgiveness for all I have offended in this life.”

He continued: “My sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.

“I have valued the opportunity of serving the people of Scotland and overseas in various ways since becoming a priest.

“Looking back over my years of ministry, for any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologise to all whom I have offended.”

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

At least 40 cases with different priests were recorded over more than 20 years.

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.