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Scotland's Catholic leader Cardinal Keith O' Brien during mass. Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Pope accepts resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien

The news comes a day after reports claim he had engaged in inappropriate behaviour in the 1980s.

BRITAIN’S MOST SENIOR Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has today resigned as leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland.

The news comes a day after reports claim he had engaged in inappropriate behaviour in the 1980s.

Three priests and a former priest, from the diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh in Scotland, reported to nuncio Antonio Mennini, the Vatican’s ambassador to Britain, that O’Brien had committed “inappropriate acts” going back 33 years.

One priest claims he received unwanted attention from the cardinal after a late-night drinking session. Another alleges that O’Brien used night prayers as a cover for inappropriate contact.

The 74-year-old Cardinal was meant to travel to the Vatican this week to help choose the next Pope, but confirmed in his resignation statement that he would not be taking part in the conclave.

O’Brien had announced in November that he was planning to resign in view of his 75th birthday next month, but he said: “The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today, 25 February 2013.”

Additional reporting © AFP, 2013

Read: Britain’s top Catholic in ‘inappropriate acts’ row: report >

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