This afternoon, the Holy See Press Office issued the following press release:
“His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, archbishop emeritus of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, for the same reasons he decided not to participate in the last Conclave, and in agreement with the Holy Father, will be leaving Scotland for several months for the purpose of spiritual renewal, prayer, and penance. Any decision regarding future arrangements for His Eminence shall be agreed with the Holy See.”It would be wonderful to think that this is last we will hear of this particular scandal and His Eminence. The problem is that Bishops' Conferences present their like for nomination as bishops. The Nuncios before Archbishop Mennini seemed to have rubber stamped the names handed to them. The sad fact is that there must be questions over those Bishops who are in place and whose nominations were endorsed by Cardinal O'Brien as well as priests and others who were promoted by him.
When one thinks about the murky character that has emerged of Drygrange when O'Brien was on the staff, the logical outcome is that one must ask questions about every bishop and priest who was associated with it.
Before the O'Brien case there was Roddy Wright the now ex-bishop of Argyle and the Isles who "eloped" with one of his mistresses.
The rather terrifying thought is that possibly Scotland is not alone in its moral turpitude, does it touch the other Episcopal Conferences in these islands and further afield?
Pope Francis has been speaking a lot about "careerism" in the Church, the O'Brien case is certainly the most blatant example but should one wonder if it is his code for a certain lifestyle? It seems significant that the involvement of His Holiness is specifically mentioned in the press release and it seems impossible to believe that the misdoings of this Cardinal were not a significant blight on, but more especially within the Conclave.
Spreading rumour and gossip is not useful but it does seem that perhaps the past routes to the Episcopacy are pretty shaky and seem to aid and abet a certain type of Bishop from a certain coterie of clergy.
In Scotland it might be sometime before new Bishops are appointed and presumably they will come from somewhere far removed from the O'Brien stable, and only after a long process of vetting, will the same process go on elsewhere?