By a Newsnet reporter
“The credibility and moral authority of the Catholic Church in Scotland has been dealt a serious blow” the man who has temporarily replaced Cardinal Keith O’Brien as the leader of Scotland’s Catholics has said this evening.
In a sermon at St Andrew’s Church in Glasgow, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia admitted that the events of the last few days have been “a sad moment for the church in our country”.

The Archbishop said: "The events around Cardinal O'Brien, his resignation, his statement of yesterday, have left us all very sad for everyone involved and for the Church,"

He added: "Many reproaches have been aimed at the Church and at individuals over this matter.

"The most stinging charge which has been levelled against us in this matter is hypocrisy - and for obvious reasons.

"I think there is little doubt that the credibility and moral authority of the Catholic Church in Scotland has been dealt a serious blow and we will need to come to terms with that."

The scandal took a surprising turn after Cardinal O’Brien, who had initially signalled an intention to legally challenge claims he had behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner towards other men, admitted his sexual conduct had fallen below expected standards.

In a statement, he said: “In recent days certain allegations which have been made against me have become public.  Initially, their anonymous and non-specific nature led me to contest them.

“However, 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.”

The scandal has grown after four men alleged Cardinal O’Brien had behaved in an inappropriate sexual manner towards them.  The allegations centre on the cardinal’s time as spiritual director of St Andrew’s College in Drygrange, in the Scottish Borders.

The journalist who broke the story has said it would be “naïve to assume” Keith O’Brien was the only senior cleric involved in the scandal.  Speaking on BBC Scotland, Catherine Deveney said she believed the scandal was not confined to the cardinal.

Some media reports suggest a fifth accuser reportedly approached the Vatican directly in October with accusations.

Shortly before the scandal broke, O'Brien told the BBC that he was open to priests marrying and having children.

"The celibacy of the clergy, whether priests should marry — Jesus didn't say that," he said in the interview last month. "When I was a young boy, the priest didn't get married and that was it. I would be very happy if others had the opportunity of considering whether or not they could or should get married."

The story has received world-wide coverage, coinciding with the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI and the beginning of the process to select a new pontiff.

It has also plunged the Catholic Church in Scotland into crisis, "It’s possibly, in terms of the internal history of the Church, the biggest crisis in the history of Scottish Catholicism since the Reformation," said Professor Tom Devine.

Gay Rights activists have demanded Cardinal O’Brien apologise for his vociferous attacks on the LGBT community and gay marriage.

He had been a staunch advocate of church teaching against homosexuality, calling same-sex marriage "a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right".  Last year he was named “Bigot of the Year” by Stonewall, the gay rights group.

“O'Brien's statement falls well short of what we would expect from a spiritual leader,” said the veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. “He has failed to apologise for the hatred and harm he caused the LGBT community.”

It has been announced that the Vatican is to hold an inquiry into the scandal.


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# davemsc 2013-03-04 21:19
Speaking as someone who used to believe in the Church's guff (until I left home and started thinking for myself), and as an ex-parishioner of the then Father Tartaglia, the Catholic Church has no moral authority whatsoever. It exists under the illusion of moral authority, but that is where it ends.

As soon as we started finding out about the illegal tastes of a few priests, and the immoral actions of senior clergy who wanted to cover things up, the veneer cracked. The Church's obsession with everyone else's sex lives was no more than a crude exercise in projection.
# clootie 2013-03-04 21:41
I feel for those of faith and respect their viewpoint.

I regret the business of organised religion which has power, influence and wealth ahead of people. The wealth of the church is obscene in a world of hunger.
# Alba4Eva 2013-03-04 22:06
Quoting clootie:
I feel for those of faith and respect their viewpoint.

I regret the business of organised religion which has power, influence and wealth ahead of people. The wealth of the church is obscene in a world of hunger.

I'm with George Carlin on the whole thing...
# graememcallan 2013-03-04 22:09
Organised religion has held back the development of mankind. How can any decent human being defend the right of elderly men in funny hats issuing demands on the way people live their lives, is that what Jesus wanted? No, he was interested in peoples welfare, not elaborate and obscene church buildings.

For the record, I want it noted that my Invisible Pink Unicorn will take on any imaginary sky fairy, and win;-)))
# Dougie Douglas 2013-03-04 22:27
It's been a long time since any church has had any moral authority.
# Jammach 2013-03-04 22:33
- in Jan 2006 he criticised the introduction of civil partnerships and used his religious position as a platform to try and prevent them.

- in July 2006 he tried to prevent legislation to prevent publicly funded Catholic adoption agencies continuing in their refusal to place children with gay couples

- In Dec 2011 he claimed "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"

All this time he was a hypocrite who has abused men under his power and in his care
He shames my friends and Family who have a deep and beautiful faith and follow their hearts to bring joy to the world, not bigotry and hatred.
# RaboRuglen 2013-03-05 07:10
Hi Jammach,

I agree with you, his record is appalling. I also agree with Peter Tatchell that the disgraced cardinal should apologise to his fellow gay brothers and sisters for the harm he has caused our community over the years.

Lets hope this incident causes the Catholic Church to moderate its language in these matters. I doubt if it will ever change its stance

The hypocrites.

# Triangular Ears 2013-03-04 22:36
Religions are mainly forms of government of old, and governments are there to control people.

Some countries, of course, haven't quite managed to replace religion properly with governments in the modern sense. (Not that governments have done much better in avoiding war, poverty, blah blah blah.)
# Nay Labour 2013-03-05 00:14
Davemsc – ‘Churchs guff’
Graememcallan – ‘elderly men in furry hats’

Unfortunate to see the tone of your language matches that of some of those who blog in the MSM! We all sin and we all fail at times – I would guess both of you do also?

However, maybe how you conduct yourselves now will say more about your views towards those who hold the Catholic faith true and who believe in the Churches teaching, even if that is at odds with the fictitious secular utopia.

There are many unpublished good works carried out by the Catholic Church but of course, those stories would not sell newspapers and I guess neither of you would be interested in bogging about it?

The action of one man will not shake my faith one bit nor that of or my Catholic friends.
# McGillicuddy Dreams 2013-03-05 07:28
My understanding is that this man has been involved in homosexual acts with consensual adults. It seems homosexual behaviour is only ok for those without high office??!! If his opinion of homosexuality is evolved from his experience and understanding of this then how can he be condemned by anyone of hypocrisy?
# RaboRuglen 2013-03-05 07:38
Hi McG,

Oh dear, oh dear. Surely the very definition of hypocrisy is to say one thing and do another.

Don't try and defend the indefensible.

# McGillicuddy Dreams 2013-03-05 09:55
Hey RaboRuglen, rather than pretend this is indefensible I will say that Mr O'Brien has criticised his own actions so therefore is NOT advocating that he defends himself to be a practicing homosexual while criticising practicing homosexuality. Openly homosexual people are who they are . This Mr O'Brien fella chose to view his actions as being wrong post activity and seems to remain in the same mind. What is his alternative? Would it be to pursue any desire he may have had to have sex with other men?
# RaboRuglen 2013-03-05 15:33
Hi McG,

I usually both like and agree with your posts however I find your language and logic so convoluted here that I do not understand your meaning.

This man not only appears to have used his position to his own sexual advantage, but at the time of these occurrences at least one of the incidents appears to have involved a person below the age of consent at that time, if we are to believe what we have read in the MSM. His actions were therefore to my mind not only morally reprehensible but probably also illegal.

All I want him to do is to apologise to his homosexual brethren for his inappropriate statements against us, issued while he was himself engaged in homosexual activity.

It seems to me you are in a hole, so stop digging.

# McGillicuddy Dreams 2013-03-06 10:03
Thanks for taking the time R.

It seems to me you are in possession of more facts than this article educates us. My point may not have been as obvious as I thought. There are those who condone sexual activity between grown adults as their business and no-one elses and those who do not . This Mr O'Brien seems to fall in the latter and the ongoing argument seemed to me to be about those two conflicting groups of people. I don't like trial by media and was only making an effort to un-muddy what I saw as waters coloured by media innuendo and hearsay.
A troublesome topic for all at anytime in any generation , what with the law and the grey areas. I think that a man of the christian faith may say something of "Love your neighbour as you love yourself" or " He who breaks one of my laws may as well have broken them all and will suffer as such".
If I seem to you to be in a hole that can only be from your perspective , lol.
Good Luck to you in good humour.
# Guig 2013-03-05 08:10
All religions operate under the "do as I say, don't do as I do" principle.
# Fungus 2013-03-05 09:31
Cut him a bit of slack. This is a homosexual man who has been brought up in a culture which regards being a homosexual man as something so bad that eternal torture is the punishment. Then, perhaps in an attempt to control his feelings, he decides to become a priest and due to the celibacy requirement he is unable to even explore his sexuality.
No wonder he's an angry man. His ranting and raving is likely less hypocrisy and more self loathing brought about by his brain washing.
# farrochie 2013-03-05 09:53
Call Kaye dealing with this issue. She introduces a lawyer fae England who is pursuing the matter, one Nick Freeman, with little introduction.

Here is an introduction to "Mr Loophole" for those who need it:

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