I have long maintained that those most outwardly homophobic and who verbally attack gays are typically the worse self-loathing closet cases. Indeed, a University of Georgia study founded that it was the homophobes, not the gays, who were most aroused when viewing gay porn. And this rule of thumb seemingly holds true both in and out of religious institutions. One need only recall Virginia Congressman Ed Schrock who had one of the most anti-gay voting records in Congress yet dropped his re-election campaign after it was exposed that he was using a gay hook up site to arrange trysts with men. Now we can add Cardinal Keith O'Brien to this list of self-loathing hypocrites and liars. Until recently, O'Brien was the highest ranking Catholic in the United Kingdom. That is to say that was until accusations were leveled by five past and present priests that O'Brien had engaged in sexual improprieties with them. O'Brien quickly resigned and was barred from participating in the conclave to elect a new Pope. Now, O'Brien has admitted that the allegations were true. One can only wonder (i) how many in the Church hierarchy knew of O'Brien's improper actions and (ii) how many more O'Briens there are among the ranks of the Church's bishops and cardinals. I suspect that the answer to both issues is that many knew and many others have engaged in similar actions. Pink News looks at O'Brien's admission that the claims against him were true. Here are excepts:
In the statement, released on Sunday, the Cardinal apologised, and asked for forgiveness, as well as admitting that, despite previously contesting the allegations, some were true.
It read: “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.
“However, 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.
“To those I have offended, I apologize and ask forgiveness… To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologize.” He concluded by saying that he would retire, and would have no involvement in the Catholic church in Scotland, going forward.
He said: “I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland.”
Also today, one of the priests accusing Cardinal O’Brien of inappropriate behaviour came forward to call for transparency within the Catholic church, which he said would “crush him” if it could, for speaking out.
Last November, Cardinal O’Brien was named ‘Bigot of the Year’ by a gay rights charity due to his staunch opposition to marriage equality.
In 2012, he stated that same-sex relationships were “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual well being” and compared equal marriage to slavery and child abuse.
In an editorial on Friday, British Catholic newspaper The Tablet said:“When Cardinal Keith O’Brien called gay marriage a ‘grotesque subversion’ and ‘madness’ it attracted widespread censure. No wonder the accusations of inappropriate behaviour as a younger man – strenuously denied – were so damning. If true, it made him look a hypocrite. For the church this was a public relations disaster.”
I suspect that the college of cardinals will elect yet another right wing, reactionary homophobe to replace Benedict XVI and that nothing will change within the Church.