A MANSE lined up as a retirement home for disgraced cardinal Keith O’Brien has been attacked by vandals – on the same day the Pope ordered him to quit Scotland.
Windows were smashed at Our Lady of the Waves and the adjourning manse in Dunbar, East Lothian, hours after the Vatican revealed the former Archbishop of Edinburgh and St Andrews was to undertake months of “spiritual renewal, prayer and penance”.
Cardinal O’Brien was forced to retire early in February after admitting inappropriate behaviour with a number of priests dating back to the 1980s.
Dunbar community council chairman Stephen Bunyan said he had no doubt the Pope’s demands and the attack – which took place late on Wednesday night – were linked.
He said: “I don’t think he has been in Dunbar since the announcement was made by the Vatican, but that was the property he was supposed to be going to. Some crackpot might well have reacted to that and vandalised it.
“My view is that there is no widespread feeling that he shouldn’t come to Dunbar.
“There is certainly no doubt that the congregation of Our Lady of the Waves were happy he was coming and supported him.
“As far as the other churches in Dunbar go, I think most were quite happy to have him here. There will be individuals who are not, I am sure, but I haven’t heard any real hostile views on him coming.
“I can’t imagine there’s not a connection in somebody’s mind for this to happen. It is most unfortunate for the church.”
A petition organised by parishioners of Our Lady of The Waves had seen more than 90 per cent of those attending a Saturday vigil and Sunday mass sign a statement declaring “our support and affection for Cardinal Keith O’Brien”.
Resident Liz Mitchell, 72, told of her surprise at the attack, adding: “We all have opinions but people should keep them to themselves and you certainly shouldn’t do that. It’s sad and doesn’t prove anything. It’s just wanton stupidity.” Dunbar councillor Paul McLennan said: “From a Christian point of view, there’s got to be some sort of forgiveness. Obviously the Catholic community in Dunbar were prepared to forgive him and welcome him into the community, as I think most people were. There was certainly no negative comments that I’ve heard to the contrary.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said the force was investigating and appealed for witnesses.