Skip to comments.Disgraced Keith O’Brien faces Vatican ‘trial’
Posted on 02/23/2014 12:26:37 PM PST by ebb tide
CARDINAL Keith OBrien is facing a new investigation by the Vatican and may face a trial under canon law which could lead to him losing his red hat.
Three priests in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh have asked Leo Cushley, the new archbishop, to pass on to the Holy See their written complaints which characterise OBrien as a sexual predator who used his authority to compel them into coercive and abusive sexual relationships.
The priests, whose accusations led to the cardinals enforced retirement and disgrace last February, appear determined to force Pope Francis to make a final judgment.
It is now understood that OBriens sexual relationships continued until at least 2009, six years after he was made a cardinal.
Last year, Francis ordered OBrien to remain in a Catholic religious house in England for three months of prayer and penance. However, since this period has now elapsed he has been free to come and go as he pleases but has chosen to remain at the religious house.
The three priests, as well as a fourth former priest of the diocese, had initially dealt with the papal nuncio, the Popes ambassador in London. However, the diocesan priests have now entrusted Cushley, a former Vatican diplomat, who prior to his appointment, worked closely with Pope Francis and his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, to convey to Rome the treatment they received at the hands of the cardinal.
The documents detailing their allegations have now been sent by Archbishop Cushley to the Congregation of Bishops, from where they are expected to be passed to the Secretariat of State.
Under canon law, the legal framework that governs the Catholic Church, only the Pope can pass judgment on or sentence a cardinal.
One possible outcome is that a promoter of justice is appointed to the case and asked to investigate the allegations. Both sides may be viewed by the Vatican as guilty of the canonical crime of breaking a commandment thou shalt not commit adultery a catch-all for sexual sins.
However, it will be the responsibility of the promoter, who acts like a procurator fiscal in Scots law, to determine if OBrien was guilty of behaviour that would warrant further punishment in light of his senior position.
Under canon law, OBrien will be able to defend himself and insist, as he has done in private to friends, that these relationships were consensual and not coercive. He could do so by providing letters, e-mails, text or photographs as evidence. Yesterday, a source close to the Vatican said: There could, eventually, be a canonical trial and Pope Francis could ask OBrien to resign from the College of Cardinals and hand back his red hat, but I do think it is unlikely. What may happen instead is that after looking at all the evidence they decide not to pursue the matter on the grounds that he has already been forced to resign and has been disgraced or the Pope may instruct him to spend a second, longer period in prayer and penance. People forget OBrien is also free to say: No, Ill do what I want.
Last May, OBrien returned to Scotland with a view to retiring to a house belonging to the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh in Dunbar. However, he was then ordered by Pope Francis to move to the religious house in England. Since the cardinals period of penance and prayer has elapsed he has made several trips to Scotland to visit friends, including a New Year visit to the home of Canon Matthew McManus at Saint Peter-in-Chains in Ardrossan for an annual reunion with priests with whom he studied.
Yesterday, a friend of OBrien, who did not wish to be named, said: He is living in limbo at the moment. He is reasonably fit and well but hes not happy. Hes been told by the Vatican and the papal nuncio to stay away from public events. I know he would like to come back to Scotland and I dont see why that couldnt happen. You cant write him out of history although Im sure the Church would like to.
Last night, a spokesman for Archbishop Cushley said: The matter remains one which is subject to a decision by the Holy See alone. Archbishop Cushley has listened to the parties concerned and will transmit any information provided to him to the Holy See. Archbishop Cushley will assist in any way he can in order to help bring a just and equitable conclusion to the matter for all involved. Any decision on further action will be a matter for the Holy See as jurisdiction in the matter rests with the Pope.
oh boo friction hoo... this man who promised to obey God’s laws and the pope’s directions has violated his oath on so many levels. Now he is unhappy because he can’t be in Scotland where he wants to be.
For all those who are on FR and support the roman catholic church, my question is this: Why in the world would the pope allow this man continue to be a cardinal??
There has long been a “sexual” problem in the Catholic church and the protestant religions suffer some of the same problems. But, were I to be given the task of stamping out these problems within the Catholic religion, I would start in the Seminaries. I believe that is where the problem began and where it is perpetuated.
I would think (and hope) that if he was this disobedient, the Pope would then excommunicate him.
I don’t think it will happen. Most of the German bishops are already disobeying the Pope regarding Holy Communion for adulterers. Francis hasn’t raised a hand against them.
He is unlikely to do so but they have to go through the process.
a couple of years after Benedict (der panzercardinale) he sent his representatives to every seminary in the US.
Complete house-cleaning of the gay ringmasters and seminarians.
I have first hand information on Maryville, where a faithful local seminarian left due to the gay pressure. My understanding is he went back after a year and completed study and was ordained.
They're difficult to identify sometimes, ya think?