The Church in Scotland has responded to media reports suggesting that the Church is “sitting on” a report on allegations regarding Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the former Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh who stood down in 2013 after admitting sexual misconduct.
A spokesman for the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh said that Pope Francis had “tried his very best to handle the case of Cardinal O'Brien with great justice and compassion” and was now considering the report. “We hope and trust that he will reach a decision that is fair and just to everybody involved,” the spokesman said.
Following public accusations by a number of priests and one former priest, and following the cardinal’s resignation, the Pope appointed Bishop – now Archbishop – Scicluna, to speak to all those involved and report back to the Vatican.
One of the men who have accused Cardinal O'Brien of inappropriate sexual conduct said that despite Archbishop Scicluna's report being “hot enough to burn the varnish” off the Pope's desk, the Church was moving with “glacial” speed when it came to making public its findings.
The cardinal’s alleged victim expressed disgust that while a parish in Edinburgh was being closed, the Archdiocese had reportedly spent £200,000 on a retirement home for Cardinal O'Brien, in Northumberland.
The statement explained that the decision to buy a property for Cardinal O'Brien was made by the Archdiocese's trustees “in accordance with their obligations to make provision for elderly clergy in line with similar provision in place with other retired clergy and after taking appropriate professional advice.” The archdiocese retains deeds on the property bought for Cardinal O'Brien and it is understood that funds from any future sale of the house will be returned to the Archdiocese’s accounts.