Embattled Cardinal O'Brien apologizes for 'my sexual conduct'
March 3rd, 2013
02:08 PM ET

Embattled Cardinal O'Brien apologizes for 'my sexual conduct'

By Josh Levs, CNN

(CNN) - A cardinal at the center of an international scandal over alleged sexual abuse reversed course Sunday, acknowledging wrongdoing.

"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," Cardinal Keith O'Brien said in a statement.

Until days ago, O'Brien was the archbishop of Scotland.

O'Brien has been dogged by allegations he abused four men studying to be priests in the 1980s.

"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," O'Brien said.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Catholic Church • Sex abuse • United Kingdom • Vatican

soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. trasloco-internazionale

    Pensavo di mettere il vostro logo sul nostro sito con il vostro link per dar modo ai nostri visitatori di conoscere il vostro blog. Cosa ne pensi?
    trasloco-internazionale http://drupalcampchicago.org/users/traslochi-aerei8

    May 15, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
  2. Science

    Gravity is not up for debate ! ............E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas..........that do not lie or sin !!!..........

    Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN


    Gravity is not up for debate ! ............E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas..........that do not lie or sin !!!..........

    BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

    Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet

    Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before


    Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

    The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

    The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

    Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.


    April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

    May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

    Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young


    And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life


    the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

    Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

    Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.


    No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

    Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

    No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !

    Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

    Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.


    Ca-nabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®) – National Cancer Insti-tute


    Mar 21, 2013 – [1,2] These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. ... have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. ... In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to ...

    Good stuff !

    The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.


    For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN


    Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

    Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

    Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
    bears his name as the “God particle.”


    Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
    Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \



    Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
    By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...


    April 7th, 2012

    08:32 PM ET

    The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth


    Make sure to read comments

    April 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |

    Breaking News

    NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.


    NASA: Mars could have supported life

    Star Dust we are


    Holy Hallucinations 35


    The ORIGIN story is bullsh-it...............so is the bible............... nasty !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life


    Scientists have unearthed the first direct signs of cheesemaking, at a site in Poland that dates back 7,500 years.

    Human Evolution


    BBC. Planet of the Apemen. Battle for Earth 1. Ho-mo Erectus


    BACKFILL on E =mc2.....

    Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being 'chosen'

    By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

    Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.

    “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”


    May 4, 2013 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |

    Cheech & Chong's History of 420


    All cults...........creationists, ID believers and devil cults.................

    The fact...............the earth is to old ...........time to EVOLVE !.

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.


    Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

    Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.


    Education works for children

    Earth From Space

    Detailed satellite images reveal the web of connections that sustain life on Earth. Aired February 13, 2013 on PBS

    Program Description

    "Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the sun's heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.


    February 16, 2013 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |


    May 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  3. Gay the Pray away

    Deny allegations and attack accusers.
    Deny allegations and attack accusers.
    Deny allegations and attack accusers.
    Admit ambiguously to undeniable evidence and ask forgiveness for something you condemn on a regular basis.
    Seems legit.

    March 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  4. johnforest

    A half hearted apology after he was caught and after he initially denied the events. That sort of behavior doesn't even rise to the level of redemptive on a secular level.

    March 6, 2013 at 9:51 am |
  5. Cat Holic

    Wasn't O'Brien the Right Hand man of Benedict XVI ?

    March 6, 2013 at 1:07 am |
  6. End Religion


    March 5, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  7. Golden calf

    Again, these heinous crimes happen in every occupation, vocation, profession, job – whatever you want to call it – and not just in the Catholic clergy. This is not an excuse for this person. Hold him and every guilty Catholic priest accountable. But on the same note, hold every guilty rabbi, teacher, police officer, high school coach, babysitter, university professor, television presenter accountable.

    March 5, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Akira

      I agree completely. And I will say the same things I do here when a blog about those people appear.
      Until then, since this a blog about Cardinal O'brien, I will denounce him for his part in covering up pedophilic priests on his watch.

      March 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  8. The Demon Deacon

    Bill Deacon and Faithful59
    Re-posted for effect.
    "Initially, their anonymous and non-specific nature led me to contest them." Translation: Oh, those four guys, ya, now I remember. I wasn't sure which of the priests would break the omerta and turn me in, noli senere nothos te opprimere.
    This from a guy in the closet preaching out against gays, how many more in the RCC are frauds and hypocrites? The whole policy of the church is practice what we preach, the crimes of the clergy and hierarchy will be forgiven by christ, what utter BS. Billy grovels on his knees in forgiveness because it is all the fault of the media for reporting the news, pathetic.

    March 5, 2013 at 8:20 am |
  9. The Demon Deacon

    Bill Deacon and Faithful59 (if not the same poster)
    This idea that the media is conspiring against the RCC is a bit hard to take. In the USA the stories orginate from archdioceses that have had pedophile abuse scandals like...
    San Diego
    Los Angeles
    probably more. Are you saying that the media should NOT report on this news. Should the media NOT report on the nation wide problem and warn parents that their children maybe at some risk?
    59, I am happy you believe that child abuse is a horrible crime and those that perpatrate it will have to answer to the lord. The thing is 59, I and many others do not believe in your lord/jesus and want to see the perps(sob's) answer to a civil court and be punished as the criminals they are and do the time in this life, not your mythical after life. BTW this example is just the USA, Europe (even Italy), Canada, Australia, Mexico, it seems anywhere in the world where the RCC has priests there is abuse, so very sad.

    March 5, 2013 at 6:50 am |
    • Science

      All should face civil court..

      Roman Catholic Church Se-x Abuse Cases


      Take dash out of se-x if copy and paste


      March 5, 2013 at 7:08 am |
    • Sciene

      To Bill Deacon

      No fairy in the sky required/needed .

      Researchers Describe First 'Functional HIV Cure' in an Infant


      Time to retire the fairy in the sky.

      Earth timeline works better than the bible's.


      March 5, 2013 at 8:40 am |
    • Hmmmm...

      I would think you would prefer them to face criminal court so they actually go to prison...

      March 5, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
  10. Faithful59

    The CNN reporter had a point he wanted to prove before he wrote the story. He interviewed two people who said nothing along the lines of his preconceived notiion but construed their statements to fit his opinion. Reporters are supposed to report the facts not bend the facts to suit their opinion.
    I attended catholic school for 12 years. I never saw a case of abuse nor was I abused. I got a great education. I rasied four children as catholic and not a one of them were abused or even approached by an abuser during their time in school or church. If they were mistreated by anyone it was much more likely to be a fellow student than a teacher or church leader.

    Child abuse is a horrible crime and those who perpatrate it will have to answer to our Lord. However if you want to beleive all Catholic priests are child abusers, or even the majority of them are, the facts simply don't support it.
    If you choose to believe people in poor countries are forced to be Christians in order to get aid, you need to visit those countries and ask the locals. I have been there. You don't get passion by attempting to force people to believe what you want them to.
    Certainly, you are free to beleive what you want but you might be better served to get some first hand knowledge before you beleive the opinions of a prime time reporter as fact.

    March 5, 2013 at 3:28 am |
    • bobk52

      You, Faithful59 must live on the river Denile.

      March 5, 2013 at 4:11 am |
    • sam stone

      i don't think anyone is seriously claiming that all catholic priests are abusers. however, the church is complicit in the cover up of abusers

      if you don't get passion by threats, of what value are threats of hell? is it passion that those doing the threats seek, or is it fear and compliance?

      March 5, 2013 at 5:10 am |
    • The Demon Deacon

      You are enti tled to your opinion, no matter how biased and also anonymous. Should anyone accept your views over a named reporter reporting a story that could also be biased but also approved by an editor, I think not.

      March 5, 2013 at 5:52 am |
    • End Religion

      " I rasied four children as catholic and not a one of them were abused"

      This statement is an oxymoron. If they were raised with religion they were abused.

      March 5, 2013 at 7:51 am |
  11. Golden calf

    So when a rabbi does this sort of heinous crime, it isn't reported, but when a Catholic priest does, it makes the front page.

    March 5, 2013 at 12:35 am |
    • sam stone

      you poor, poor persecuted christian.....

      March 5, 2013 at 5:11 am |
    • Saraswati

      The Catholic population in the US is more than 10 times the Jewish population – and that's if you include all Jewish groups and self-identifiers. In any single organization there would be a tiny fraction of the Catholic population, and on a global scale an even smaller number. Even if the abuse were exactly the same it would hardly make major news.

      March 5, 2013 at 7:34 am |
    • Akira


      March 5, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • End Religion

      tragicomic how easy it is to refute christian yokels. Even monkeys learn, so you'd think nutters could learn to use google. But instead, its just drive-by lies and wild unfounded assertions as they wallow in ignorance.

      March 6, 2013 at 5:25 am |
  12. Reality

    Such conduct has brought attention to the decomposing underbelly of all religions.

    March 4, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Faithful59

      A very common misconception. In fact, the Catholic church has grown to the point where 17% of the people on the earth count themselves as members. This is a greater perecentage of the population than was the case 40 years ago. The opinions of the East and West coast USA and Western Europe are interesting and disproportionately expressed because that is where the bulk of media representatives work but this does not represent the opinion of the world. More Africans, Asians and Latin Americans are Christian today than ever before. Jesus said he would not let his church be destroyed, I will put my faith in that and not the popular western media.

      March 4, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      You forgot to mention how many of these converts are from extremely poor countries that only get the aid after they allow proslytizing and the building of churches. You also forget that the number of Catholics is often misleading because most people don't realize that if you're confirmed then later leave, your name is still on their rosters unless you specifically request it off. This may not be dishonest or malicious, but it does fudge the numbers in their favor.

      March 4, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • .

      You go right ahead and hold on to your faith even as you watch the number of abuse cases rise in those countries. Hope that will open your eyes. Probably not, though, until your own child gets raped.

      March 4, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Ah yes, the RCC growing amongst the poor and barely educated, while in the USA the monetary peanalties against the church have reached an estimated $2.6 billion, more to come, only the lord knows what the number is world wide. Of course you would approve of the wealth of the church, made up from the contributions of the laity, be used to pay for the crimes of the clergy, or maybe not?

      March 5, 2013 at 6:01 am |
    • Reality


      Religion………………………… Adherents

      Christianity ……………………..2.1 billion

      Islam…………………………… 1.5 billion

      Irreligious/agnostic/atheism…… 1.1 billion (Look out, here we come)

      Hinduism 900 million
      Chinese traditional religion 394 million
      Buddhism 376 million
      Animist religions 300 million
      African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million
      Sikhism 23 million
      Juche 19 million
      Spiritism 15 million

      Judaism…………………………………….. 14 million

      Baha'i 7 million
      Jainism 4.2 million
      Shinto 4 million
      Cao Dai 4 million
      Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
      Tenrikyo 2 million
      Neo-Paganism 1 million
      Unitarian Universalism 800,000
      Rastafari Movement 600,000

      March 5, 2013 at 7:35 am |
  13. Faithful59

    Just watched the CNN UK latest report on this story. The reporter states " cardinal's admission is shaking people's faith" this statement is immediately followed by the interview of two parishners. The first one says, "I feel sorry for him" and the second says, "I am praying for all of the people affected by this including the Cardinal". The reporter finishes by saying "the caridnal has apologized but it will take more than sorry to gain forgiveness". Neither parishner expressed anything that sounded like shaken faith and who determines what will be required for foregiveness? When will CNN reporters stop giving us their opinion as if it was fact?

    March 4, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • .

      Derp, editing for time? Get real. The guy covered up pedophilic priests. No one cares that he's gay, it's the anti-gay hatred he was trying to whip up, and then his HYPOCRISY at him BEING gay. The guy is shady. Good riddance.

      March 4, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Reporters do this all the time. They are always doing stories on what people are "praying for" even when no one mentions prayer, so it cuts in all directions and just depends what they think will sound good in the story.

      March 5, 2013 at 7:36 am |
  14. Honey Badger Dont Care

    The worst part is that this guy, supposedly, will go to paradise because he is a xtian. While people who really help people suposedly will not becasue they dont believe in an imaginary sky daddy.


    March 4, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Faithful59

      A priest, a bishop, a cardinal, a pope are all human beings with the same temptations as everyone else. Most film critics have insufficient talent to be acclaimed producers. Should we refuse to allow them to comment on films unless they are the equal of Steven Spielberg? Can only master artists comment on art? Should only pro athletes be sports casters? A person does not have to be without sin to reconize sin anymore than a non muscian can recognize good music. Hate the sin, love the sinner. This is a key message of the Christian religion. Certainly it has not been practiced to perfection over history but that doesn't diminish the message or ever greater need to promote it.

      March 4, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Faithful59

      Jesus said no one comes to the father but through me. He did not say all that worship me will go to heaven. Only God will determine if this man goes to paradise and God will judge those who led others astray most harshley. Jesus came to show sinners the way and thank God for that. If only those who have never sinned can or should go to heaven, the membership would be limited to two humans (Mary, her mother) and the holy trinity. Thankfully God seeks and welcomes flawed people like the rest of us.

      March 4, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • .

      Film critics? What a stupid analogy! I have YET to see you do anything but wax poetic about the clergy, are you going to address the white elephant in the room? What is your standing on priests who are pedophiles, and the upper clergy, including Benedict, who covered it up?? A catholic who excuses that may as well have raped the kids themselves. Faith is fine, criminal behavior isn't. Grow up.

      March 4, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • midwest rail

      " Hate the sin. Love the sinner. " The Big Lie as practiced by contemporary Christianity.

      March 4, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Seriously, can you not get it through your head that there are 5 billion people on earth that do not give a sh.it what your jesus said. O'Brien spent his career denouncing gay conduct in the catholic society while secretly in the closet himself what don't you understand about hypocricy? What a pathetic belief system that allows any kind of evil conduct be washed away by just kissing some god's asz, the court of human opinion is not so lenient.

      March 5, 2013 at 6:16 am |
  15. .

    I find it hilarious that this Cardinal, this staunch defender of ped priests who covered it up, this outspoken anti-gay who bashed them constantly, is in fact an admitted gay man who acted upon what he was bashing. Baw ha ha ha ha! Hey, if he can be prosecuted for the ped cover-ups, do it. Criminal actions need criminal sentences. Don't really care that he's gay, but his anti-gay motor-mouth smacks of hy po cris eeeeee...lolol

    March 4, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Akira

      Ah, well, there lies the conundrum...I don't condemn him for being gay, and I don't even condemn him for being a hypocrite...many people are both. If, in fact, allegations of an active coverup of pedophile priests under him are provable, well...that is what I cannot abide by. That is the behavior I find reprehensible.

      March 4, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  16. EX catholic

    Atheists have a lot in common with Idolaters and with Apes.

    March 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • sam


      March 4, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Akira

      Mmm hmm. I guess those pesky Isis worshipers really got under your skin.

      March 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Humans ARE apes.

      March 4, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.