There surely can be few people who do not share with me a sense of great sadness about the resignation of Cardinal Keith O’Brien and sympathy for him personally at what must be a time of great turmoil and anguish (your report, 5 March).
There can also be very few of us, including the clergy, who do not have a skeleton in a cupboard somewhere.
Perhaps his anonymous accusers (and others) might reflect on the words of Jesus: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.”
(Prof) Andy Grieve OBE
Broughty Ferry, Dundee
With all respect to Professor Tom Devine (news analysis, 4 March), I am unable to share his melodramatic portrayal of the fall-out from Cardinal O’Brien’s regrettable downfall as “the gravest internal scandal to hit the Catholic Church in Scotland since the Reformation”.
I would remind the good professor of the far from edifying record of one of Cardinal O’Brien’s “distinguished” pre-Reformation predecessors as Archbishop of St Andrews, namely the notorious Cardinal David Beaton.
According to some historians, he managed to sire around 15 publicly recognised illegitimate children before orchestrating the 1546 execution of the Protestant martyr, George Wishart prior to his own not entirely unexpected assassination by the Reformers.
In comparison, Cardinal O’Brien’s admission of some unspecified sexual impropriety in his own past life seems relatively trivial, amounting to the odd peccadillo or two – in line with the almost universal experience of the rest of the human race, inside and outside the Church.
IAN O BAYNE
Now that the accusations against Cardinal O’Brien have been vindicated, I invite gay rights charity Stonewall to give him a second well-deserved award to join his bigot gong: “Hypocrite of the Year”.
(Dr) Stephen Moreton
I am not an angler and have never had any connection with an angling club. Suppose the chairman of a local angling club embezzled the club’s funds and, on being found out, sent me an apology. I should be astonished. “This has nothing to do with me,” would be the appropriate reaction.
In the same way, Cardinal O’Brien’s apology to the “people of Scotland” has nothing to do with those who are neither people towards whom he has misbehaved nor members of his flock.
The Roman Catholic Church is a private organisation, and its leaders owe no apology to outsiders.
This is not a trivial point. For Cardinal O’Brien to apologise to the “people of Scotland” is to claim he represents the people of Scotland, or is authorised by them, or is in authority over them, or is entitled to speak or act for them, or has been placed by them in a position of trust.
None of these things is true.