Friday, March 20, 2015


Pope Francis may be into mercy but His Holiness packs a punch too!This cardinal had a history of homosexual liaisons and workplace sexual harassment and abuse of priests! In other words he broke his promise of celibacy and abused his power and control.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien gives up Cardinalatial rights

(Vatican Radio) The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of the rights and privileges of a Cardinal, expressed in canons 349, 353 and 356 of the Code of Canon Law, presented by His Eminence Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O’Brien, Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, after a long period of prayer. With this provision, His Holiness would like to manifest his pastoral solicitude to all the faithful of the Church in Scotland and to encourage them to continue with hope the path of renewal and reconciliation. 

And more from the Herald Scotland and answer to my question in title at the end of this article! Did they read my blog?:

Cardinal Keith O'Brien removed from public life and forced into retirement, Vatican to announce

SHAMED Cardinal Keith O'Brien has been removed from all public life and forced into retirement, the Vatican is due to announce.
Two years after he stood down as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh after admitting sexual relationships dating back decades, Pope Francis has ordered the Cardinal no longer perform any public, religious or civil duties associated with the title.
The unprecedented move will be seen as a humiliation of the former leading cleric and will prevent him taking any future role in the selection of any new Pope.
The move has been welcomed by the Catholic Church in Scotland however, he will be allowed to retain in his Red Hat and is expected to stay in his temporary residence in north east England.
The sanction confirms the Vatican has now formally accepted the claims of the four priests who claimed Cardinal O'Brien's had been guilty of inappropriate sexual conduct with them.
A further seminarian also launched a civil action against the church claiming Cardinal O'Brien had made sexual contact with him in the late 1970s.
He has been effectively exiled from Scotland by the Vatican since May 2013 but retains some support amongst sections of the clergy and lay Catholics.
Both Pope Francis and Cardinal O'Brien have met in person to discuss the issue and sanctions. The Cardinal has also issued a renewed apology
His successor, Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews and Edinburgh said Cardinal O'Brien's behaviour distressed many, demoralised faithful Catholics and made the Church less credible to those who are not Catholic.
Archbishop Cushley said: "As most people are aware, Pope Francis is a good and prayerful man whose character embodies justice and mercy. I am confident therefore that the decision of the Holy Father is fair, equitable and proportionate,"
"I therefore acknowledge and welcome Cardinal O'Brien's apology to those affected by his behaviour and also to the people of Scotland, especially the Catholic community."
Today's announcement follows the decision by Pope Francis to send a personal envoy, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, on a fact-finding mission to Scotland last year. Based upon that investigation, the content of which is fully know only to Pope Francis and Archbishop Scicluna, Pope Francis has reached his canonical conclusion.
Archbishop Cushley added: "For my own part, I would like to express sorrow and regret to those most distressed by the actions of my predecessor. I also pay tribute to those who had the courage to come forward to speak to Archbishop Scicluna. I hope now that all of us affected by this sad and regrettable episode will embrace a spirit of forgiveness, the only spirit that can heal any bitterness and hurt that still remains."
Cardinal O'Brien said: "I wish to repeat the apology which I made to the Catholic Church and the people of Scotland some two years ago now on 3rd March 2013.
"I then said that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me. For that I am deeply sorry".
"I thank Pope Francis for his fatherly care of me and of those I have offended in any way. I will continue to play no part in the public life of the Church in Scotland; and will dedicate the rest of my life in retirement, praying especially for the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, for Scotland, and for those I have offended in any way."
Archbishop Cushley has sent out a letter to be read as masses this weekend confirming the Pope has accepted Cardinal Keith O'Brien's resignation as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh and his retirement.
Only a Pope can approve a cardinal resigning his official status, and today's announcement is extremely rare in Church history.
The closest parallel to today's events came in 1927 when French  Cardinal Louis Billot resigned from the Sacred College of Cardinals following a stormy meeting with Pope Pius XI. His resignation was accepted by the Pope eight days later.


Anonymous said...

What about Cardinal Mahoney and Cardinal Law? Why should they be allowed the privilege of remaining cardinals after turning a blind eye to numerous priests who committed gravley sinful, evil, crimmal actions.

Why does Cardinal Kasper who is promoting sacrilege get to remain a cardinal. He wrote books which deny the miracles of Christ. Why does Cardinal Marx who has basically said the the Church in Germany doesn't have to oney Rome. What about Cardinal Schonborn in Vienna? By all account over 2/3 of his priests are in open heresy and he doesn't do anything to stop it. Not only should these men not be allowed to remain cardinals I would suggest that their actions and beliefs demand they be laicized.

If a bishop doesn't believe de fide teachings of the Church that is just fine, but he shouldn't be allowed to remain in his position and spread heresy and scandal.

Vox Cantoris said...

Yet at the same time, we have this under reported situation in Chile.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Anon: Yours is a valid criticism but there is a difference in covering up something and actually committing the crime/sin and the context for the cover-up. But by this I'm not giving anyone a pass especially the two American cardinals.
But this is what John Allen is writing and it is a legitimate criticism of Pope Francis and certain every pope prior to him:

It’s not yet clear if Francis compelled O’Brien to renounce his status in quite the same way. Nonetheless, the move could be seen as another step toward reform on the broader issue of sexual misconduct and abuse.

Although he has pledged support for zero tolerance and created a special papal commission to promote reform, Pope Francis has faced criticism for not holding bishops accountable for dropping the ball and for creating new bishops who have a mixed record on misconduct and abuse.

JusadBellum said... wouldn't be too hard to track all the men he would have had direct influence over as pastor, monsignor, young bishop...

I'd be looking for men he might have recruited and promoted and advanced up the hierarchical ladder to surround himself with likeminded individuals.

Personnel being policy and all.

There's a reason that in almost every time of Church corruption throughout the ages, there have been powerful prelates involved in this particular type of perversion. The 11th century writings of St. Damian (a doctor of the Church) spoke of this. Only after house was cleaned did we get the booming 12th century Christendom (later taken apart by the Black Plague and subsequent decline in morals among the survivors..)

The next time we faced a serious eruption of widespread clergy corruption was on the eve of the French Revolution. The men who undermined public morality didn't suffer the guillotine or gallows. It was largely borne by the men who didn't join them in sin.

And so it will be in our generation: the JP2 priests will pay the social and personal price in blood for the crimes and passions of the boomer/sexual revolution prelates and pastors' "lifestyles".

The innocent always pay for the guilty.

James said...

I don't think that it's right to speak of O'Brien's 'crime/sin', since he hasn't been charged with a crime let alone convicted.

He clearly behaved very badly, and it's not surprising that the media have had a field day, since prior to his resignation he was probably the UK's most vocal opponent of gay rights. But it's dismaying to see the glee with which some Scottish clerics have greeted his fall: why kick a man when he's down?

Rood Screen said...
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Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I am sorry JBS that you experienced this. In a sense, though, I have felt or come to the conclusion that the media, maybe unwittingly, was a vehicle for God's judgment to motivate bishops to be more humane in concern for victims or possible victims of these sort of things.

The greatest problem in terms of the sex abuse scandal is homosexual predation on unsuspecting teenagers especially vulnerable teenagers. It is not a issue of pedophilia which is a serious mental disorder and goes beyond heterosexual/homosexual categories. That's not to say there hasn't been pedophilia, but it is a miniscule problem compared to what you describe happened to you.
But the greatest issue which I think is behind us or getting behind us is dealing appropriately with a priest who does this and not reassigning them as was the case or not believing the truth and believing the priest. Often there was pathological lying by the offender and unfortunately bishops wanted to believe the priest.

Rood Screen said...
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Jdj said...

Excellent posts JBS, and thanks for your courageous sharing. Your comment 4:21 is especially important concerning reverence and piety. Watered-down liturgical piety yields watered-down Faith, and ultimately influences moral formation. I've lived long enough to see it happen. I pray the future holds promise of a turnaround. I won't live to see it, but I remain hopeful with priests such as JBS leading the way!

Anonymous said...

JBS - Have you reported this abuse to civil and ecclesiastical authorities?

Anonymous said...

JBS said: "I also came to see that liturgical irreverence is a sign that wolves are present,..."

This is one reason a flee a church where a newly assigned priest does not revere the Mass and sacraments. Although I don't personally fear abuse from them (I'm not what they are looking for :-) I do fear spiritual damage from how they act and what they say. I have no doubt the Sacrament is still confected despite their personal failings, but I have no interest in being around heretics. Like a bunny in the woods who scurries away as soon as he hears the twig snap, I don't wait around to find out if the sound was caused by a wolf or not!

Paul said...

Before the cleaning there will the mess.

Clean up one's own mess (and do it) or the world will come and "clean" it up under whatever authority they agree with and by whatever methodology they choose.

Cardinal O'Brian was a participating, voting member of the College of Cardinals in 2005.

One of one-hundred and fifteen.

Daniel said...

"Who am I to judge?" Sexual predators, child molesters, abusers should always be kicked, whether they're up or down or in between. I am always baffled by the misplaced compassion among conservatives for abusers in the priesthood -- compassion seldom found, for example, for a single mother on food stamps.

Daniel said...

Father McDonald, I am heartened by your comments, as I believe some of your statements on the abuse scandal in the past seemed to verge on blaming the victims or those who exposed the abuse. Having lived in a couple of diocese where large numbers of abuse cases were finally reported, I can tell you that the hardest-hit families were the most devout, those who instinctively trusted their kids with their parish priests. I also don't believe that it began in the 1960s or '70s -- people are finally becoming more willing and open to report such cases.

Daniel said...

That said, I have always felt there was a positive atmosphere at St. Josepn's where children are safe and protected, and I have been very proud of that.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Daniel I don't doubt that there has been sexual abuse of minors in the Church all along, but the fact remains the the John Jay Study of the abuse scandal in this country found that it peaked in the 1974 and that it was homosexual predation or what is commonly called ephebophilia. It wasn't true pedophilia. Ephebophilia describes an adult man who wants sex with a teenage girl. In this country, men have sex with teenage girls is not viewed in the same way as with teenage boys.

For a priest to abuse his sacred role inflicts an even greater devastation on the victims as it appears that God is a the root of it. And thus a sacrilege is also committed by the priest who does this.

At the same time, we have to understand the attitude about child molestation of the period before we talked about these things. It was taboo. It was considered a sin that could be forgiven in confession and parents were happy to have an offending priest sent to another parish to start over--without knowing themselves the nature of predation.

And parents of another generation would never even consider suing the church and they didn't want their children involved in any legal procedure that would harm them further. They were content with the quiet, secret settlements that occurred.

That mentality has changed. While I think it is better for the victims, we moved from the taboo to the exploitation of scandal for financial gain not just justice and we've moved away from justice when the statute of limitations is removed and no one who is accused can get a fair trial when the accusations today go back to cases 40, 50 and many years more and often directed to the dead who can defend themselves.

George said...

Father McDonald, what you say in the following paragraphs is so true:

"At the same time, we have to understand the attitude about child molestation of the period before we talked about these things. It was taboo. It was considered a sin that could be forgiven in confession and parents were happy to have an offending priest sent to another parish to start over--without knowing themselves the nature of predation.

And parents of another generation would never even consider suing the church and they didn't want their children involved in any legal procedure that would harm them further. They were content with the quiet, secret settlements that occurred."

Growing up, thinking back to that time, I could not even imagine a priest being accused and arrested for these kind of acts or behavior. I'm not even sure how the newspapers of that time would have handled it. Scandal was to be avoided at all cost. Had this occurred and a priest was moved elsewhere, it would have been kept quiet as to why. If there were rumors, the mentality and attitude of many Catholics (from what I remember) would have been that perhaps the priest had been falsely accused-" I just don't believe Fr X would do such a thing." People today do not understand that because of shame and the scandal and discord it would cause, even the families of the victims would not want it to become public. Also, you did not have the "lawsuit mentality" which has become so prevalent in our culture today.

Rood Screen said...


I think it's worth noting that accusations of this sort were indeed widely reported by the press in 1930's Italy and Germany, and by the Polish press in the 1970's, but understandably dismissed by the people as "dictatorial propaganda". The problem is that friends of the Church don't speak out against clerical sins in public, which means there's no one left to speak out except her enemies.

The troubles within the Church peaked in the Seventies and Eighties, a time when bishops were not willing to discipline their priests or each other for any kind of abuse (with the sole exception of saying Mass ad orientem or in Latin).

Daniel said...

Thanks for your comments, Father.
However, the problem with those "quiet, secret settlements" was that they frequently let the offender go scot-free, with no police action and little or no discipline. Maybe a paid vacation at that spa in Arizona. The priest was then turned loose onto a new parish.
Secrecy also made it easy for hired-gun lawyers to bully the victims and their families -- There must be something wrong with your child. It must be his/her fault. How else could this happen -- instead of letting us all see the big picture, which was a systemic problem.
When we talk about the "abuse scandal," after all, there are at least two elements -- the abuse itself, which was horrific, of course, and the system that often shuffled the offenders from parish to parish to parish in secrecy, to prey again.
Arguably, that part of the scandal is worse, because it involved church higher-ups who could see the big picture and failed to stop it.
Secrecy perpetuated that system.
and those lawsuits finally broke it down. I believe that's why many families signed on. Nobody wants to subject their child to a lawsuit, and I doubt those settlements made anybody rich.
But sunshine is the best disinfectant, as they say.

Daniel said...

However, as you know, Father, there are many problems with the Jay study.
It covered only the period starting in 1950, so we cannot draw any conclusions about the years before that.
The data used was self-reported by the bishops themselves -- in some cases, the same bishops who were under investigation.
And some later lawsuits, like the Philadelphia case, found dozens of credible complaints against priests that were not included in the Jay study.
So the argument that abuse peaked in 1974 is unsupported and makes no sense. Especially if you contend that the abuse scandal resulted from rampant immorality in American society at large. It isn't like that stopped or started declining in 1974.
I think it is more likely that the bishops, or their lawyers, felt more comfortable including complaints against dead priests rather than living ones, to make it appear that the abuse was declining.
I do think we've seen a new openness and heightened awareness over the past decade. Nothing gets an institution's attention like a lawsuit.
And I'd like to think that we will see many, many fewer of these complaints going forward.
Case's like O'Brien's help demonstrate that there's a new sheriff in town, and good for him.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of unfaithful bishops in the US and around the world who have just lost the faith or have done destruction to the faith. If you are a cardinal/bishop, priest, religious (brother or sister) who just simply does not have any supernatural faith in the Catholic Church then just leave! We are in desperate need of a purified Church! I can name a lot of bishops who just need to go like Cardinal Kasper, who is simply a heretic...and should be laicized! Same goes for Cardinal Marx, Baldisari, Forte, and so on! In the United States, kick out Dolan, Weurl, O'Malley, DiNardo, Cupich, Gregory in Atlanta, Coyne in Vermont, McElroy, and any bishop who falls under there category! And while you're at it, laicize Cardinals Mahoney and McCarrick. Archbishops Weakland and Quinn, and Bishops Hubbard, Clark, and Brown. They are disgraces to the faith! Promote Cordileone, Sample, Paprocki, Morlino to name a few to be Cardinals. You don't need to have cardinals always coming from the same (arch)dioceses all the time. Like who cares if the archbishop of New York or Boston has to have a cardinal!

CPT Tom said...

Daniel there is no new openness only a continuation of the last pontificate's policies. There has been a new Sheriff in town since Pope Benedict's reign. Additionally if Joseph Cardinal Razinger had been listen to by St Pope John Paul II the scandal would have abated earlier. Collegiality and letting the bishops' do their own thing caused much of the problem. The other problem was taking advice from the secular psychologists instead of doing the right thing and removing the offender's from service, and, depending on their offences, turning them over to the civil authorities after defrocking. "Pastoral" was used as an excuse to do little or nothing to fix the problem.

George said...

Thanks. I was not aware of that. I was just speaking to my remembrance of how things were.

We could argue at what point this kind of thing peaked but I believe it did at some point in the past. There came a time at some point in the past where this kind of thing would no longer be swept under the rug so to speak. It would have been a whole lot better all the way around if the offending priests had been arrested and charged. Even that would not necessarily bring everything to a just conclusion.The late Cardinal Bernadine was accused of three cases of sexual misconduct but in the most well known and publicized case,his accuser eventually recanted. Nothing as far as I know, came of the other two.

Anonymous said...

How does someone like this rise to the rank of cardinal? Certainly before being promoted to that position his behavior must have been observed and come into question by his peers.

JusadBellum said...

Daniel, where in the world have you seen "misplaced compassion for priest abusers" among the conservative?!

And where have you seen conservatives disdaining single moms on food stamps?

Conservatives take care for the poor as a PERSONAL obligation. We don't see it absolved by merely being "in favor" of OTHER PEOPLE paying high taxes, where 20 cents or less on the dollar actually gets 'redistributed'.

You don't get to take credit for "loving the poor" by merely voting for other people to be taxed to pay for them. Especially when the redistribution system doesn't end poverty but institutionalizes it!

On the other hand, conservatives have been complaining and reporting on abusive priests for years before the secular media picked up the story. The Wanderer was complaining about sex abuse in the 1980s! But no one cared to listen to 'conservative meanies' back then.

It's sort of like ALL blowing the whistle on CRS today - all official channels and mainstream Catholic media pooh pooh the reports of complicity in spreading contraception etc. in Africa.... but when the truth comes out, it's ugly and undeniable.

Being "for the poor" ought not absolve individuals or groups of moral responsibility in both the 'means' and 'outcomes' of their 'help for the poor'!