WHILE I can probably see why the new archbishop, Leo Cushley, would prefer to banish his predecessor, I cannot see any legal basis for this enforced exile, as I imagine that the former Cardinal O’Brien has right of abode in the UK, just as I have (News, 15 September).
O’Brien may have admitted “inappropriate” (your quotes, page 1) behaviour, but has not been charged with any offence, let alone been convicted. I imagine this kind of restriction may contravene EU residency laws. I know the Vatican’s current status was founded by the Lateran Treaty of 1929 and it is not technically a member of the EU, even though it uses the euro along with San Marino, Monaco and Andorra, but the cardinal remains an EU citizen.
Perhaps it might be a little more Christian, if a lapsed presbyterian may be allowed to suggest, for the exile to be outwith his original diocese, where the misconduct took place, rather than nationwide. I wonder if the former cardinal’s pension rights are a condition of his exile, which raises another can (I hesitate to suggest a diet) of worms .
Just to emphasise my point, ex-president Bill Clinton was impeached for “inappropriate” behaviour, at least in the House of Representatives, but still lives in the US and cannot practise law.
David McA McKirdy, Mansfield Woodhouse, Notts