Archbishop Leo Cushley purchased the home in Northumberland in January and Cardinal O’Brien moved in shortly afterwards. It had been thought that O’Brien had been living in a monastery in Northumberland, after completing a period of ‘penance’ ordered by the Pope.
The Cardinal, who is currently the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Vatican, was forced to resign in February 2013 after three serving priests and one former priest come forward with allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’.
Shortly afterwards Cardinal O’Brien released a statement in which he said: “There have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.”
He was quoted as saying: “I’m not speaking to anyone at the moment.” When asked about his new home he said: “You’ll need to check that with the diocese. I’m not talking about it, I’m not allowed to talk about it.”
Neighbours in the small village said they were unaware of the cardinal’s background but said he was regularly visited by people from Scotland.
The Cardinal is currently being investigated by Bishop Charles Scicluna, who was appointed by the Congregation for Bishops, and who visited Edinburgh to meet with the complainants, one of whom alleged that the cardinal had used night prayers as an opportunity for ‘inappropriate contact’.
Although the cardinal is currently living in the house it remains in the name of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.
A spokesman for the Archdiocese of of St. Andrews and Edinburgh said; “Cardinal O’Brien remains a retired priest of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh. Like him, some retired clergy have accommodation bought for their use, although such properties are always owned by the diocese. This is the case with the house arranged for Cardinal O’Brien. Its location is in accordance with the agreement between him and the Holy See. The details of the transaction are a matter of public record and its price was within the cost range of other purchases for retired clergy housing.”