EDINBURGH—Sources confirmed Monday that Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has stepped down from his position as Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh due to—you’re not going to believe this one—sexual abuse allegations.
According to reports, O’Brien resigned amid the surfacing of claims that he, a high-ranking member of the church, had made—huge shocker here—inappropriate sexual advances toward numerous male subordinates over many years.
Sexual abuse, sources confirmed, in the Catholic Church of all places.
“Cardinal O’Brien has tendered his resignation following, and I know this comes as a bombshell, allegations that he made a series of unwanted physical and verbal overtures directed at young men under his purview,” said archdiocese representative Thomas Heron, referring to claims lodged by four former and current priests that the Scottish archbishop sexually harassed them over several years. “If these assertions are true, then, as difficult as this is to fathom, he used his position of power to lure young men into his residence and abused the high level of trust they had placed in him.”
“Bet you never thought you’d hear comments like these in regards to a highly devout member of the church,” Heron added.
The allegations of sexual misconduct, which, again, have reportedly thrown everybody for a loop, have caused even greater alarm because, surprise, surprise, O’Brien is one of the church’s most strident ideological hardliners, having rigorously opposed homosexuality in all its forms.
Furthermore—and you might want to sit down for this—preliminary reports indicate that the Catholic Church may actually have been fully aware of the accusations against O’Brien, and yet concealed his misbehavior in order to safeguard its reputation.
Thus far, news of the scandal has had an immediate impact on the world’s Catholics, some of whom have been forced to question what they thought they knew about their church.
“Who could have seen this one coming?” said local Edinburgh resident and parish member Lorna Paterson, 48, who told reporters that she would never have believed a cardinal of all people could be implicated in such a disgraceful imbroglio in a thousand years. “This kind of thing just doesn’t happen.”
“Thankfully, it’s just an isolated incident,” Paterson continued.