British Cardinal resigns, to skip papal conclave
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
In a file picture taken on April 13, 2005 British Cardinal Keith O'Brien leaves the Paul VI hall at the end a general congregation assembly of Cardinals at the Vatican. Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, has resigned in the wake of allegations of inappropriate behaviour, the Catholic Church said on February 25, 2013. AFP PHOTO / GIULIO NAPOLITANOBritish Cardinal Keith O'Brien will not participate in the Papal Conclave as he has announced his resignation as archbishop in the wake of allegations of inappropriate behavior.
The Vatican has accepted O'Brien's resignation under the Code of Canon Law due to his age, which will be 75 in March.
O'Brien had been due to resign on his 75th birthday next month, but said, "The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today, the 25th of February, 2013."
"I do not wish for media attention in Rome to be focused on me, but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor," O'Brien said in his resignation statement.
No cardinal ever before has skipped the papal conclave due to personal scandal, according to Vatican historians.
O'Brien, who as Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh was leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, denies allegations that he made sexual advances towards priests in the 1980's.