(CNN) -- A Scottish cardinal who had earlier challenged allegations of sexual impropriety -- claims that once again shined an international spotlight on alleged sexual abuse involving Roman Catholic clergy -- reversed course Sunday and apologized.
"I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal," Cardinal Keith O'Brien said in a statement.
Until days ago, O'Brien was the archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh.
He has been dogged by allegations he abused four men studying to be priests in the 1980s.
"In recent days certain allegations which have been made against me have become public. Initially, their anonymous and non-specific nature led me to contest them," O'Brien said.
"To those I have offended, I apologize and ask forgiveness."
O'Brien, 74, also apologized to "the Catholic Church and people of Scotland."
He did not explain exactly what "conduct" he was referring to.
Read the rest here.
What floors me about useless gestures on the part of the guilty is that they presume that such a gesture is sufficient to expunge the crime. Notice that I said, "CRIME," not "sin." Sin is a bullshit concept, a transgression against a non-existent god, whose will and nature varies with the wind, most typically the wind coming from people such as Keith O'Brien. What he forgets, too easily, I think, is the brand left on his victims by the actions he took on them. That brand in many cases is hard and deep and takes many years to anneal and to allow the one branded to lose the untoward influence of it.
For such injuries, an apology is like prayer: inappropriate, ineffective and impotent.
To state publicly what he did would be to have to unblinkingly confront himself with what he did, Pat, and I'm not certain that many of these so-called "holy men" have the wherewithal to actually DO that. It would mean they would have to recognize the screaming contradiction between the station they have worked to achieve and the perfidies they have committed from that station. They would have to admit that the holiness which was supposed to sanctify their every action was ill-equipped to deal with the baser aspects of their own humanity, mostly because there is no holiness. They would have to acknowledge that, for all the prayer and worship and study, that they are no one special, and just as flawed and human as their charges are.
The entire catholic environment teaches that priests are more than men, indeed, one step removed from godhood. How many such men, so trained and indoctrinated and immersed in such a milieu, have the strength to admit that the whole thing is a lie? Such an acknowledgement would dismantle their entire reality, I suspect, so it's no wonder they can't truly grasp this nettle.
That may be an excuse, but that's all it is. It doesn't change the fact of their crime or their culpability for it.
there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal
Interestingly, when I read that I instinctively thought he was claiming to have never sexually assaulted a young man. I guess my idea of "standard sexual conduct" for a priest involves the rape of young men.