After Admitting to Gay Affairs, U.K. Cardinal Slammed for Hypocrisy
In a highly unusual move, the spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland has accused his own church of hypocrisy a week after Cardinal Keith O'Brien apologized for having inappropriate sexual relationships with other priests.
As reported in national British newspaper The Daily Mail, church spokesperson Peter Kearney, director of the Socttish Catholic media office, criticized the church for having failed to support individuals struggling with their sexual orientation. Priests who have come forward as having been solicited by O'Brien say church officials basically told them to shut their mouths.
O'Brien was forced to resign just before the College of Cardinal was set to meet in Rome to vote on a new pope after he admitted he had sexual relations with priests.
Kearney cited incoming Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, who replaced O'Brien, of tacitly supporting his accusations. "I think hypocrisy, as Archbishop Tartaglia described it, is the stinging charge but it's probably the most accurate charge to make, under these circumstances," Kearney said.
Kearney did add, however, in defense of O'Brien, that "we are all 'flawed, fallible human beings.' Everyone fails in one way or another, or at one time or another."
As if to prove the old adage that the guilty dog barks the loudest, O'Brien was a force against all things gay. Not only was he the Catholic Church's most outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage (which looks to become law in Great Britain soon); he compared homosexuality to drug addiction, alcoholism and homelessness.
"If there's an area where the Church hasn't been seen - frankly because it's not present - it's in that area of compassionate, pastoral outreach to people who are struggling with same-sex attraction, or they're confused about it and would love the chance to talk to someone in a compassionate, pastoral context," O'Brien once said, in what now appears to be a textbook case of self-denial. "If you've got a drug, or alcohol problem, or homelessness, then we seem to be able to step in and offer you support, help and options. But when it comes to human sexuality, it just isn't there at the moment."
O'Brien "lost everything because he was a hypocrite," Amy Philips wrote in British national newspaper the Daily Mirror. "And a nasty one, too. Almost exactly a year ago Keith O'Brien went on the radio and said if gay marriage were to be legalized, 'further aberrations would take place and society would be degenerating even further than it already has into immorality.'"
"Whatever the details of O'Brien's actions, they appear to reflect a nauseatingly familiar pattern within the church's ranks," noted Mary Elizabeth Williams in Salon.
Williams said O'Brien pointed up the "coercion, secrecy and abuse of power" endemic in the church's highest ranks. "They reveal the sad and sickening hypocrisy of the men within the church who'd use their influence to attack others and thwart the progress of human rights, all while indulging their own desires."