The recently resigned British top Cardinal Keith O’Brien admitted on Saturday to “sexual misconduct” after four men brought charges against him that he had sexual relations with them during his time in seminary.
According to a report in the UK’s The Guardian newspaper, Cardinal O’Brien issued a brief and vaguely-worded statement, saying “there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.”
It comes as LGBT issues remain prominent in the Catholic church as they look to find a new pontiff after Pope Benedict XVI resigned last month.
O’Brien had been a leading opponent of the recently passed marriage equality in England and Wales, which many critics have said shows the church’s hypocrisy on LGBT issues.
Conservative Bishop Philip Tartaglia will be a temporary replacement for the position of Britain’s senior Catholic official.
Tartaglia, O’Brien’s replacement, has been known to be severely against same-sex relations as he stressed “the foolishness of the government’s proposal to re-define marriage to accommodate same-sex unions” in his pastoral letter defending marriage through Catholic ideals.
Tartaglia holds the most traditional beliefs regarding the purpose for marriage and pro-creation; in essence he urges to keep marital, heterosexual intercourse as the only means of sanctifying sex. He believes “it is therefore wrong and foolish to undermine this understanding of marriage.”
Before Pope Benedict XVI, the last pope to resign occurred nearly 600 years ago in 1415.