THE four men at the centre of the scandal that led to the resignation of Keith O’Brien have reportedly denied being part of a “gay cabal” which sought revenge for the cardinal’s anti-gay stance.
In a newspaper article at the weekend, the four men rejected reports quoting sources who claimed the former head of the Catholic Church in Scotland had been forced to quit by gay priests angry at the way he had spoken out on issues such as same-sex marriage.
“This isn’t about being gay. It’s about an abuse of power,” one of the men, who was referred to as “Father Peter”, said.
“Lenny”, a former priest who described how he had rebuffed the cardinal’s advances while he was a semanarian, said: “I was surprised at the suggestion that I was part of a gay cabal. And my partner of 26 years? I’d say she was quite surprised too.”
Last week, reports suggested the cardinal had been involved in a sexual relationship for almost a decade with one of the four men whose complaints led to his resignation.
The man, who is at present working as a priest in Europe, is reported to have regularly phoned Cardinal O’Brien and was a frequent visitor to St Benets, his official residence in Edinburgh.
The cardinal resigned this month, after admitting that his sexual conduct had “fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal”.