Pope Benedict accepts Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s immediate resignation

Cardinal Keith O’Brien has announced that Pope Benedict XVI has accepted that he resigns with immediate effect, and that he will not, therefore, participate in the Conclave to elect the next pope:

Vatican Insider reports:

Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, is stepping down as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh. It follows allegations – which he contests – of inappropriate behaviour towards priests dating from the 1980s.The Scottish Catholic Church says Pope Benedict has accepted his resignation.

The cardinal confirmed he would not take part in the election for a successor to the Pope – leaving Britain unrepresented in the election.

Cardinal O’Brien said in a statement he had already tendered his resignation, due to take effect when he turned 75 next month, but that Pope Benedict “has now decided that my resignation will take effect today”. He said the pontiff would appoint an apostolic administrator to govern the archdiocese in his place until his successor is appointed.

The resignation of Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the wake of allegations of improper behaviour creates a crisis for the Church in Scotland, and represents a heavy blow to the wider Church as it battles to shore up its reputation ahead of the papal election or “conclave”.

The conclave is already expected to be difficult in the circumstances created by Pope Benedict’s unprecedented resignation.The Vatican is also struggling to deal with reports of internal corruption and mismanagement. Cardinal O’Brien’s resignation is also a personal tragedy for himself.

Protect the Pope comment: I can’t put into words how sad this makes me feel, now that I have moved beyond my initial anger on learning the news. Cardinal Keith O’Brien was a source of encouragement and leadership for faithful and loyal Catholics on both sides of the border. But his unnecessary comments on celibacy, his mishandling of the question about women priests, and now his resignation under a cloud are massive body blows to Catholics seeking to defend the Deposit of Faith. This tragic turn of events, coming on the heels of Pope Benedict’s decision to resign due to old age, give the impression of the ground being taken from under us . However, my wise parish priest gave me this advice, from Chesterton, the Church has appeared to have gone to the dogs five times in history, and every time the dogs have died.

69 comments to Pope Benedict accepts Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s immediate resignation

  • peter

    You give the impression that Benedict insisted O’ Brien must resign. I don’t see that in any of the transcripts from the vatican. The vatican stated that O’ Brien’s resignation has been accepted. Benedict is a quiet and prayerful theologian way out of his depth when it comes to governance of the vatican. I don’t think being pope gives you the skills to be head of state, and this is central to the problems of corruption within the vatican, We need a pope as a pastor but someone else as the CEO.

  • Wake up England

    Peter: Better let God know he’s got it all wrong these 2000 years. Thank goodness he has you to put him right.

  • A n o n

    Oh Peter, you might want to have a chat with Nick Clegg.

  • I am still struggling with the facts on this one. Why did four people get together at this time to allege misbehaviour. Yes, it might be true but why twenty or thirty years of silence. They were priests,they had Christ in their lives to guide them, surely when more mature they should have sought out the Cardinal first and asked for an apology as St Paul adivised in all our actions with one another rather than run off to the courts. They apparently appealed to Rome, but why then does the media have the story? Were they not aware that in the end it would be the Catholic Church itself that would be found guilty. The BBC are having a great time linking this with child abuse and all the problems faced by the Church.

    • Augustine

      Here are the facts.

      1. According to “The Observer” of 14 February the four men submitted statements containing their names to the Nuncio’s Office the week before Pope Benedict’s announcement on 11 February of his decision to resign as Pope.

      2. Cardinal O’Brien denied these allegations yesterday and stated that he would be consulting his lawyers. It did not seem like he would be prepared to step aside.

      3. However, today Cardinal O’Brien issued a statement announcing that Pope Benedict had accepted Cardinal O’Brien’s resignation last Monday – but was making a public announcement today. (In other word Pope Benedict has decided to bring forward Cardinal O’Brien’s retirement with immediate effect.)

      The following is from the website of the Catholic Church in Scotland:

      “The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has accepted on the 18 February 2013 the resignation of His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh. This information will be announced and published in the Osservatore Romano of Monday 25 February 2013.

      The Cardinal had already presented last November his resignation in view of his 75th birthday on 17 March 2013, and it was accepted by the Holy Father with the formula ‘nunc pro tunc’ (now for later). Given the imminent Vacant See, the Holy Father has now decided to accept the said resignation definitively.”

      4. So the accusations against Cardinal O’Brien were made BEFORE Pope Benedict announced on 11 February his impending resignation.

      5.AFTER February 11 someone contacted “The Observer” about these accusations – which had already been sent to the Nuncio. I think the reason why the accusations were made public over the weekend (probably by the same people who contacted the Nuncio) was to seek to prevent Cardinal O’Brien from taking part in the Conclave to elect a new Pope.

      Only the four men making the accusations can explain their reasons for writing to the Nuncio. As Cardinal O’Brien has denied these allagations, we should of course presume that he is innocent rather than guilty.

      However if four people had made similar accusations about a priest in the Archdiocese, Cardinal O’Brien would have put that priest on administrative leave while the allegations were being investigated. I think that the same rule should apply for Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals as for priests.

      As for the timing of this latest debacle, I do think it is much better that these accusations should emerge now rather than after the forthcoming Conclave.

      And I hope and pray that other Cardinals with blemished reputations should have the humility and the good sense to stay away from the Conclave so that the new Pope’s election is not tainted by their presence.

      • Augustine

        I forgot to emphasise that because Pope Benedict’s decision was made LAST Monday (well before “The Observer” printed this story yesterday), this timing shows that he was not influenced by the newspaper report.

        And if “The Observer” is correct in stating that the accusations from the four men were made to the Nuncio the week before Pope Benedict’s announcenment of 11 February, this means that both the Nuncio and Pope Benedict acted swiftly.

      • Augustine

        Typo: February 25 at 5.00pm should read:

        “1. According to “The Observer” of 24 February…”

    • Bazamac

      Why do you think it’s taken so long for these victims to come forward? After all, it’s quite clear that the catholic church’s response to victims of sexual abuse has been absolutely fair and reasonable and open all these years. There’s no question of victims being threatened or coerced into silence, oh no!

      This kind of victim blaming has been utterly typical of the catholic church and its apologists throughout history. Shame on you.

      • El Nino

        Er, these are incidents involving grown men, not children.

        • Jadis

          One, at least, was under the then legal age of homosexual male consent (age of consent was 21 in 1980).

        • Bazamac

          So, adults can’t be sexually abused? I’ll quote one of the victims – “You have to understand the relationship between a bishop and a priest. At your ordination, you take a vow to be obedient to him…he has immense power over you. He can move you, freeze you out, bring you into the fold…he controls every aspect of your life”. O’Brien clearly abused that position of authority. He did so for sexual ends. That makes it sexual abuse.

    • Lionel (Paris)

      Dear John,
      More than thirty years afterwards, is it not a little too late to realise that Cardinal Keith O’Brien might have misbehaved during his long life?
      What kind of priests are they? What do they know about mercy? To which religion do they belong? I wonder!… I think that they should indeed be sued for defamation and attempt to the dignity of a Successor of the Apostles. They all speak of the “religion of love”, but what do they do in practice?
      It is a shame! It is absolutely disgusting!
      I am really outraged.

    • Lionel (Paris)

      I forgot to specify that if at the time of the alleged misbehaviour they were seminarians, they were old enough to refuse and react. Therefore they have no excuse.

      • ms Catholic state

        I agree with you wholeheartedly Lionel. It stinks to me. I don’t know if the Cardinal is guilty or innocent….but he has served the Church well and devoted his life to it. i didn’t always agree with him….but his leadership in defence of the unborn and natural marriage were forceful and spirited. And for that I thank him from the bottom of my heart.

        As for these priests….how inhumane and sneaky of them, waiting until now to pounce on the Cardinal. Vicious.

        • ms Catholic state

          Plus I remember the Cardinal very tellingly calling Cameron’s forgeign aid policy ‘almost anti-Christian’. And that’s just what it is. Nobody else would have done that!

  • Thomas

    A pope has resigned because he is tired, the Church’s reputation is in the gutter, the clergy is riddled with sin and un natural practices, the nuns are almost completley lost to the world, entire religious congregations are in de facto heresy, scandal after scandal…….all because evil will not be confronted and dealt with. What does it take to rid the Church of evil men? For god sake get rid of these immoral priests, bishops and cardinals! If they do not believe in a de fide doctrine of the Church or are living an immoral life then maybe, just maybe, they are in the wrong position. Most “Catholic” universities are heretical and yet they remain open. Why? Reform them or shut them down. Look at Vienna and the openly defient priests who are permitted day after day to spread error and nothing has been done. Why? The answer has to be because the purpose of those in positions of authority in the Church want this to happen. Please God send us another Charles Borromeo or Ignatius of Loyola. What everyone forgets is the faithful Catholics who really believe and LOVE our mother the Church. We have to sit by day after day and watch this filth play out. When will it end.

    • Michael Petek

      The Babylonian Captivity will end when Catholics and other Christians recognise contraception for what it is and reprove it.

      If idolatry as defined by divine law were an offence under the law of England, the fact that a defendant contracepted would set up a case on which a jury could reasonably convict him.

    • Richard23

      It will end on the day of Judgement, when the tares are separated from the wheat and thrown into the eternal fire. In the meantime, it is a dangerous illusion to think that the Church can be purified by indiscreet human effort. Let’s work to counter the heretics, but let’s not think we can ‘solve’ the problem once and for all.

      A bishop has (allegedly) done something wrong. The important point is not whether he did but, if true, whether he repented.

  • Wake up England

    Better out in the open I shoild have thought. The “cover ups” of the past have always come back to haunt the Church. When those THREE VOLUMES (!) of red-bound Vatileaks reports are read to the cardinals in Conclave there will no doubt be more unpleasant skeletons which will tumble out of the closet. This will probably mean more “resignations” in high places. The game’s up once and for all. Much better now to be open and truthful. Let us all pray that the Holy Ghost will send us a new Pope who’s able to be strong, determined and thorough in his leading Holy Church out of this shocking mess.

  • peter

    Should read
    The church in Rome has problems with its governance, however i don’t believe the problem is with Benedict – as i said he is a prayerful theologian who is now pope. It’s the vatican curia headed by Sodono then Bertone where the many problems have their origins.
    It would seem that many of the members of this forum have a vision of a church that has never put a foot wrong. Any reading of church history shows the contrary, however it is still a church i love.
    BTW Wake up England and Anon childish sarcasm does not become you.

  • Daniel

    I was surprised and even concerned when Archbishop O’Brien was given a red hat. Since then, however, he has been an outspoken defender of the Church and pro-life/family values. This is very much to his credit. I pray that at my judgment the few good things I have done may be remembered and not the many bad ones. I wish Cardinal O’Brien God’s peace and blessings.

  • Amanda Peter

    I am very sorry to learn about Cardinal Keith O’Brien. I am sorry he has resigned. We in the UK have lost the only good leader we had, who had some voice. He may have made some mistakes 30 years ago but who among us is impeccable? Cardinal Keith O’Brien could have gone to confession if these allegations are true and be filled and renewed by God. Like King David who committed adultery and murder, he cried to God ” Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.”

    Why has the media forced this information out now ? So we can loose a good Cardinal who showed some guts, who spoke up for Truth? He who is without sin let him cast the first stone.
    There is no allegation that Cardinal O’ Brien had been constantly living a double life. We have lost a voice for sanity . What a sad day today that he has resigned and will not be voting.

    • Bev

      Mistakes???? How about character? Does this fit in anywhere? How people who still want to turn a blind eye just goes to show there will still be people who will bury their sad and Unenlightened heads in the sand.

    • ms Catholic state

      I agree 100% Amanda. As Christ said…if nobody speaks the truth then the very stones will. It took the Cardinal, though he knew he may have had some past imperfections that could be uncovered….to speak with passion against the lies of our society.

      I hope he still can continue to do so….but it doesn’t look so promising. And that is the saddest part.

  • Amanda Peter

    Hold tight to the Eucharist and Our Lady every one- we are certainly in the eye of the storm right now!!!!

  • Helena

    Undoubtedly the Church is under a massed attack from the enemy at present. It is surely no co-incidence that four western demoncracies (the United States, Ireland, Britain and France) are being threatened all at the same time with anti-life, anti-marriage legislation with scant regard for democracy. The evils of the sex abuse scandals and the rejection of orthodoxy by so many in the Church frighten us. This is the time to remember that the gates of hell will not prevail. The Pope’s retirement on health grounds shakes us, but we must see the possibilities of God working through this. Whenever a conclave is called people redouble their prayers and when we have a new Pope, this will be such a grace for us. Even many non-Catholics say they are praying for us at this time. Prayer for anything is prayer for everything. The Church will be greatly blessed through our prayers. We need to pray like crazy. Pray on rising and on going to bed, when walking down the street, doing chores, driving, at our desks, making coffee. We need to offer even our little sufferings to God. We should ask for miracles and expect to see miracles. No-one should lose heart. Jesus has promised that he will not abandon us and we must not be dismayed by the temporal victories of the enemy. Satan is eternally shooting himself in the foot! Re-read 2 Kings 6:15ff and take courage.

  • Solent Rambler

    As John Kearney says, why over 30 years silence? This is a very odd story indeed.

    The big “mistake” Our Lord made was to entrust his mission to people with feet of clay. Upset we Catholic may understandably be so much that’s happening or alleged. But it’s happened before and will do again. Be not afraid!

  • Wake up England

    Good Lord: is it REALLY possible that the cardinals in Conclave will NOT know the contents of those Three Red Books (The Vatileaks report) before they choose a new Pope? I can’t believe Pope Benedict would allow them to go into the voting process if there were a danger of them electing someone as Pope who had been UP TO NO GOOD (and with three large volumes sitting in the pope’s safe, one has to assume someone’s been up to no good). Of COURSE they must know the truth before electing a new Pope; and the new one will have to be ultra squeaky clean because the media will be searching for any whiff of scandal attaching to him, and if they find anything unsavoury…………..then what????

  • peter

    Nick, have you changed the content of your post?

  • Gurn

    It is unfortunate that I have had to read in the Telegraph that the Catholic commentator Damian Thompson is now advocating that the celibacy rule be abolished. I thought (maybe foolishly) that he was a loyal Catholic when he is in fact just another dog.


    • El Nino

      I think you are being harsh on Damian.

      We already have married clergy (hello Deacon Nick!), married priests (Anglican converts) and married priests in the Eastern Rite churches.

      Of course, there have been married priests before in the Latin Rite church.

      It is worth reconsidering if celibacy has out-lived its usefulness.

  • peter

    the church im Rome has problems with its governance, however i don’t believe the problem is with Benedict – as i said he is a prayerful theologian who is now pope. It’s the vatican curia headed by Sodono then Bertone where the many problems have their origins. It would seem that many members of this forum have a vision of a church that has never put a foot wrong. Any reading of church history shows the contrary, however it is still a church i love.
    BTW Wake Up England and Anon, childish sarcasm does not become you.

    • Wake up England

      Pace, Peter, but the lofty timbre of your posts is highly corrective and enormously didactic. Some people may disagree with you; and of course, you may be wrong in your subjectivity. Therefore you must be prepared to have a little rough and tumble in the discussions of your pronouncements(which do lean toward the slightly pompous). I prefer to think of myself of youthfully ironic, rather than childishly sarcastic. This is a combox for sharing pertinent opinion, not a diplomatic cocktail party.

      • peter

        I don’t see it as my job to correct anyone, i just give a point of view based on years of working in the church and theological study. however they are still my own way of thinking. If my posts have seemed corrective i apologise. The church has many different theology’s, it’s plain to see that my opinion is in the minority here and that is just fine.

        I have just read all my posts – and to describe them as pompous is nonsense. But some people would rather attack the person than genuinely engage in argument.

  • Kay

    It won’t end Thomas because fundamentally we’re all human. It isn’t natural to expect mere men to only experience love via God. It is sad that so many in your church are experiencing pain at the moment, and, although an atheist myself, I wish you no ill, but it is not natural to repress our natural desires and to classify them as sins. Much better to accept, rather than deny, that love, in all its many forms, is needed and desired by us all as sustenance in life.
    The accusations that are levelled at the Cardinal reflect a more general feeling in society about abuses of power, in that he ‘may have’ taken advantage of his position and the trust based in him as a mentor and provider of spiritual guidance. I suspect that liberal minded people will hold no truck with the idea that any contact may have been of a homosexual nature – because to be honest most of us liberals don’t care what others get up to in the boudoir – consensually and within the general laws of the land of course.
    I have my own ideas about how the church could become more ‘scandal free’, if you like, but it isn’t my place and nor, after perusing some of the posters comments on here, do I expect that it would be welcome or tolerated.
    Again though, I’m sorry that so many people are experiencing pain and distress,
    Best wishes

    • El Nino

      What absolute horse manure.

      It’s not natural to repress our natural desires? Well, that’s paedophilia sorted then.

      Liberal minded people don’t care what others get up to in the boudoir? Presumably that’s why this was the lead story in The Observer on Sunday.

  • ConfusedofChi

    Gotta hang onto our Christ even more now…..

    • Spesalvi23

      Let’s all down and trust in Christ.
      The more we doubt, the more we bicker and argue, the more we strengthen the enemies of the Church (within and without).
      B16′s last homily was quite telling. He knows…
      He will inform the cardinals, but not in a big, public gesture.
      Prayers are in order!

  • Spesalvi23

    Sorry! Calm down.

  • Joseph Matthew

    Thanks for the advice Kay. I would have taken it a little more seriously if I was not living in a society where child abuse, financial corruption, greed, petty ambition, the celebrity culture and hatred are out of control. I visit the Eucharistic Lord and that is where I go to be “scandal free.” There is corruption in the Church and there is greater corruption in the world.

  • Rifleman819

    Dear All ,
    Just thinking forward a bit here.Is one of Benedict’s lasting legacies to the RCC in Britain that he established the Ordinariate?

    If you consider the state of Catholicism in the early years of Cardinal Wiseman’s episcopate….the hostility , the lies, triumphalist”God is an Englishman” attitudes…for some unfathomable reason the Catholic church started its Second Spring….Newman , Manning and many others.

    We need to refresh our episcopal springs with fresh dew from the Ordinariate…from tough rivers in Australia, New Zealand , Canada and South Africa…men trained in Rome…who will not “go native”.
    It may be better for all if certain individuals might give up their Sees to other men.
    If our bishops are not leading……..then they must be replaced.
    If the Nuncio now includes Scotland in his calculations….does the future of Catholicism in the UK (without being over-dramatic)now depend on getting 20 episcopal consecrations right.
    I do believe that we do not have these men already here-the Old Guard must go …and those with the stomach for the fight need to replace them.
    We do indeed have a crisis-but I think it is a structural and personnel crisis at critical levels in the two British Catholic churches.

    • ‘We need to refresh our episcopal springs with fresh dew from the Ordinariate…from tough rivers in Australia, New Zealand , Canada and South Africa…men trained in Rome…who will not “go native”.’

      We don’t need any of your filthy racist innuendo here either! If we had a few more Cardinal Arinze s we’d be sorted.

  • Rifleman819

    Sorry -a typo error…”I do not believe that…”

  • Karla

    Off topic: Pope has ‘cleaned up the episcopate,’ nuncio says
    Throughout his eight-year papacy, Pope Benedict XVI has “carried out a cleansing of the episcopate,” said the apostolic nuncio to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tadjikistan.
    “This Pope has removed two or three bishops per month throughout the world because either the accounts in their dioceses were a mess or their discipline was a disaster,” said Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendia during a Feb. 20 address at the University of San Pablo in Madrid.

    “The nuncio went to these bishops and said, ‘The Holy Father is asking you for the good of the Church to resign from your post.’”

    Nearly all of these bishops, when approached by the Pope’s representative, were aware of the “disaster” and accepted the request to resign, he added.

    “There have been two or three instances in which they said no, and so the Pope simply removed them,” he explained. “This is also a message to the bishops: do the same thing in your dioceses.”

    The archbishop went on to say that he was “surprised” by the Pope’s decision to resign but said it is an example for the world’s politicians who hold on to power as long as they can.

    The Holy Father’s decision is something that “great men have always done,” he noted.

    Archbishop Buendia said he was aware that the Pope was wearing himself out and had wondered how he would be able to make the trip to Brazil this summer for World Youth Day, but his decision to resign was unexpected.

    Nevertheless, he added, “the life of the Church will continue.”

    Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/World.php?id=7089#ixzz2LzVyLdFL

  • ForFaithForever

    I do Not Agree with Women Priests or Women Bishops

    The Church is about Christian Tradition Not Trendiness

  • Richard23

    I am neither shocked nor ‘rocked’ by this news. It is about as shocking as saying ‘man sins’ or ‘person x, y or z has sinned’. Tell me something I don’t know.

  • Wake up England

    Well, it appears that the Vatileaks report will remain a secret until AFTER the new Pope is elected! What if they elect someone who’s been DOING BAD THINGS? It seems a remarkably risky gamble…………………

  • Joseph Matthew

    Thanks to Simon’s post, I have once again realized what a good pianist Stephen Hough is. He has same sex attraction : that is not a problem as one of the holiest Catholics I have met has SSA. Unfortunately, he is also gay. He should have the integrity to leave the Church.

  • Anonemoos

    Peter. Me again. It is not sarcasm to use a prime example of your vision for the church, a theologian alongside a CEO. You have just described the coalition government and look how effective it is! :) Please don’t take it to heart. To further my point, the reason we need a representative of God on earth is because God is our Heavenly Father and we are His children. We only have one father. If we had say two fathers, well that is getting into dodgy political territory :)

    • peter

      hi Anonemoos
      I agree that the pope is the leader of the church, and yet the church has a CEO (probably not the best way of putting it) who heads up all the departments and congregations. The Secretariat of State who is the head of the departments at the moment is Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. The pope leads the church but in practice the curia govern the church. The church is very involved with politics via the secretariat of state, the church is a very political body.

      Vatican 2 tells us that the pope makes use of the departments of the Roman Curia which perform their duties in the popes name and authority.
      In my opinion it is extremely difficult for one man, no matter how gifted to run the whole church.
      Let me be very clear, i believe that the current pope is a holy prayerful man. One of the first theological books i read was his ‘Introduction to Christianity’. I do not blame him in any way for the current situation which i do not believe is a crisis.

  • Frances


    Dear Deacon Nick,

    Peter has asked you twice to change your headline. It is wrong. The Cardinal has not resigned over this. The resignation he tendered last November because he is approaching 75 had a date put on it by the vatican.

    The Cardinal needs our prayers. These are allegations. He does not know the names of the complainants or the substance of their complaints. They were grown men 30odd years ago. It is incredible that their anonymous, suggestive hinting should be allowed to be so destructive.

    God bless Cardinal Keith O’Brien.

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      Frances and Peter, I’ve based my headline on the Vatican Insider report ‘Cardinal O’Brien said in a statement he had already tendered his resignation, due to take effect when he turned 75 next month, but that Pope Benedict “has now decided that my resignation will take effect today”. Deacon Nick

      • Frances

        Your headline implies – and this is what the world is telling the Church – he resigned over the allegations. This is wrong. With incredibly bad timing, Rome got round to accepting the resignation tendered on account of his age.

        God bless Cardinal O’Brien

  • Mersey Mercy



    Wasn’t there a situation some years ago involving an Airport Chaplain and His Eminence? Ah Yes! Didn’t he find himself subject to public scrutiny regarding a priest of his diocese when he was Bishop of Arundel and Brighton. Wasn’t it to do with a priest, Michael Hill?

    This sorry excuse for a cardinal is truly appaling and I am being ultra-charitable because it’s Lent!

    O Lord give us some holy priests, bishops and cardinals!

  • Mater mari

    On the subject of clerical celibacy I would heartily recommend a post published today on the blog of Fr Tim Finigan (The Hermeneutic of Continuity).

  • Mersey Mercy

    And yet another Fruitcake speaks out!

    Oh! How the Devil is prancing around with glee!


    But let us remember………extract from the Holy Father’s Stations of the Cross

    The Ninth Station – The Third Fall – The Church

    What can the third fall of Jesus under the Cross say to us? We have considered the fall of man in general, and the falling of many Christians away from Christ and into a godless secularism. Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in his own Church? How often is the holy sacrament of his Presence abused, how often must he enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that he is there! How often is his Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where he waits for us, ready to raise us up whenever we fall! All this is present in his Passion. His betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his Body and Blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart. We can only call to him from the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison ­ Lord, save us (cf. Mt 8: 25).


    Lord, your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on your Church; within her too, Adam continues to fall. When we fall, we drag you down to earth, and Satan laughs, for he hopes that you will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of your Church, you will remain prostrate and overpowered. But you will rise again. You stood up, you arose and you can also raise us up. Save and sanctify your Church. Save and sanctify us all.

    • Nicolas Bellord

      Mark Dowd in this interview is saying that more than half of those entering seminaries have been gay. He goes on to say he has no problem with this. What he objects to is that they are told that their inclinations are intrinsically disordered as per the catechism. So effectively he is suggesting that the solution is not to reduce the number of gays entering seminaries but to cease to regard homosexual sexual activity as sinful.

      If I remember correctly some years ago he wrote an article for The Tablet wherein he described that up and down the corridors of the English College one could hear the noise of those indulging in homosexual sexual activity. I thought the article was pure pornography and ceased to subscribe to The Tablet from then on.

      Mark Dowd is a member of the Soho Masses Pastoral Council who from this weekend will be giving pastoral guidance to the LGBT community at the Jesuit church in Farm Street Mayfair at the invitation of the Archbishop of Westminster. Presumably he will have no objection to homosexual sexual activity and will give pastoral guidance in that sense.

  • Wake up England

    CELIBACY. A much misused word. It means being un-married. Nothing more, nothing less. An unmarried couple living together are celibate. Many of our Deacons are not celibate (because thay are married). St Pater was not celibate. Celibacy equals being not married. Nothing more. How helpful it would be to meaningful discussion if the word were not so constantly mis-used.

  • SteveD

    Saying nothing about this case but there have been several cases in the US where it seems clear now that senior clergy have engaged in, or sought to engage in, sexual acts with their spiritual ‘sons’. Such sins are about as foul as can be imagined and to compound such a spiritual state by denying the truth and so vilifying the accusers is almost unimaginably evil. St. Peter Damian, a Doctor of the Church, had a great deal to say in his work ‘Gomorrah’ about those many such cases in his own time. Damian decried the audacity of men who are “habituated to the filth of this festering disease,” and yet dare to present themselves for holy orders, or if already ordained, remain in office”. He says nothing about those in this situation who accept even higher positions within God’s Holy Church.

  • Hugh McLoughlin

    “Pope Benedict XVI has accepted that he resigns with immediate effect, and that he will not, therefore, participate in the Conclave to elect the next pope.”

    I’m afraid I don’t understand that “therefore”. Cardinal Keith has stepped down as Archbishop NOT as a cardinal elector. I have the highest regard for His Eminence, whom I know, but I regard it as his solemn duty to hi himself hither to Rome to participate and vote in the conclave. Whether or not there is any substance whatsoever to these allegations made against him (and I learned at a very early age that when allegations have been made it is always imperative to demand to know who the allegators are!) he will neither be the only sinner in the conclave nor he only potential source of embarrassment to the Sacred College and the Church (and the future Pope). Whoever advised him not to go did him and u a grave disservice.And has in effect procured a dereliction of duty and a breach of Church law. A cardinal elector can’t just absent himself from the conclave. He must have a serious reason to do so. Embarrassment is not enough.

  • steve

    I’m trying to stay strong and in the Church. But I am not seeing much that is divine in it, only human.

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      Steve, I share your disappointment. All that is divine in the Church is of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. All that is sinful, all that is filth, is of man. Steve, cleave to God’s Word in Scripture and Tradition, and to the Sacraments. These are our foundations, which cannot be shaken. Deacon Nick

  • Rifleman819

    Dear All,

    Are we confusing the Truth of Catholicism with the Falsity of actual Catholics?
    Every human being has the taint of Original sin and a varying package of human virtues and vices…we know throughout history which popes have been rogues and which saints…………….but there is that secular expectation that we should be whiter than white??

    Let’s not denigrate the Divine Message all because its many human messsengers are/have been/ and will be faulty.

    In the end we will all be dust , awaiting judgement.

  • David

    He will have to go into a monastery sooner or later.

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