Rome urged to inquire into Cardinal O’Brien ‘cronyism’

Catholic critics of the Church in Scotland have urged that a Vatican inquiry into the scandal surrounding Cardinal Keith O’Brien examine an alleged “culture of cronyism” in his archdiocese that lasted for years.

Following the cardinal’s weekend confession of impropriety, he faced further accusations yesterday from lay and clerical figures that his sexual escapades might have compromised his role as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, a post he was appointed to in 1985.

It was alleged that Cardinal O’Brien was less likely to challenge priests to whom he had made advances. At the same time, it was said he surrounded himself with cronies, who supported his governance of the diocese. “There is likely to have been a number of people he had made passes at, whom he was likely to have treated differently, because he couldn’t challenge them,” said a source.

With a mood of shock still prevailing throughout the diocese, many hope that a root-and-branch Vatican-led inquiry will address governance from top to bottom of the Church.

“The inquiry must address governance,” said one Church figure. “Did he do it with integrity? Twenty five years of double standards and double lives has not left us in a very good place.”

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