VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Keith O’Brien will be spending several months in penance and prayer outside of Scotland after meeting with Pope Francis, according to the Vatican.
The Vatican Press Office released a one-paragraph statement on May 15, which said that Cardinal O’Brien “for the same reasons he decided not to participate in the last conclave, and in agreement with the Holy Father, will be leaving Scotland for several months for the purpose of spiritual renewal, prayer and penance.”
“Any decision regarding future arrangements for His Eminence shall be agreed upon with the Holy See,” it added.
In the days before the election of Pope Francis, Cardinal O’Brien — who was the archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh — became the focus of media attention, following accusations by three priests and one former priest that he made inappropriate sexual advances toward them in the 1980s.
The cardinal revealed on Feb. 18 that he would not attend the conclave, and, at the same time, he announced that Pope Benedict had accepted his resignation, effective Feb. 25.
In a March 3 statement, Cardinal O’Brien said, “I ... 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 apologize and ask forgiveness.”
Where the cardinal will be living out his time of penance and renewal is not known, and the Scottish Catholic Media Office could not provide any additional information.