Will not attend conclave
Cardinal O’Brien has denied allegations of sexual misconduct with four former seminarians, which were first publicized on Sunday.
Nevertheless, on 18 February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Keith Cardinal Patrick O’Brien from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh. This was done on the occasion of the latter’s 75th birthday, when sitting bishops are required by Canon Law to submit a letter of resignation to the Holy See. This information was announced and published in the Osservatore Romano on Monday, 25 February 2013, and was confirmed by both the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland (via the Scottish Catholic Media Office [SCMO]) and by Fr. Federico Lombardi, spokesman for the Holy See.
For his part, the Cardinal has released a statement through SCMO in which he declares his intention to “not join … this Conclave in person.” He added, “I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focussed on me – but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his Successor.”
The Cardinal had already presented last November his resignation in anticipation 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.
The Cardinal has released a statement in which he expresses his gratitiude “ for the opportunity of serving the people of Scotland and overseas in various ways since becoming a priest.” He goes on to say, “Looking back over my years of ministry: For any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologise to all whom I have offended.”