|Gays round on vicious Scottish cleric O’Brien
A Scottish cardinal condemned as a hypocrite and who stepped down from church leadership after admitting sexual misconduct should apologize to gays for years of “vicious and cruel language’’ about them, Britain's leading gay-rights group said yesterday.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigned last week as Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric after being accused of inappropriate behavior by three priests and a former priest. At fist he challenged the allegations.
O'Brien has not directly addressed the allegations against him, which include “an inappropriate approach'' to a seminarian after night prayers and “inappropriate contact'' with another priest.
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the gay rights organization Stonewall, said the group noted “with sadness that the cardinal didn't find it in him to apologize to gay people, their families and friends for the harm his vicious and cruel language caused.''
That view was echoed by veteran human rights activist Peter Tatchell, who urged the cardinal “to show true remorse for his homophobia and hypocrisy by saying sorry to the gay community for the hatred and harm he has caused _ and by publicly repenting his homophobia.’’
O'Brien, 74, had been a staunch advocate of church teaching against homosexuality, calling same-sex marriage “a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right’’ and saying that British government plans to legalize same-sex marriage would “shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world.’’
Last year, Stonewall named O'Brien Bigot of the Year for his hard line on homosexuality.
The Scottish Catholic Media Office said the complaints against O'Brien had been reported to the Vatican, and it expected there would be an investigation.