It is not expected that the Vatican will take any further action to punish Cardinal Keith O’Brien following his admission of sexual relationships with four priests and a seminarian. The Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh was forced to resign from his post early by Pope Benedict XVI after admitting that his “sexual conduct [had fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, an archbishop and a cardinal.”
The Vatican is only keeping a loose “watching brief” on O’Brien’s case, and that he is not likely to be asked to give up his rank unless Pope Francis I hands over the rank to a new cleric. The senior clerics in the Vatican no longer believe that there is any need for any further investigation given that O’Brien has admitted his behavior and apologized.
Once source close to the Roman Curia stated anonymously that “When an investigation takes place people expect some kind of public result of the investigation, but there is just no way there is going to be some kind of public examination and a published report on this matter. The Church doesn’t work that way.”
Starting last September, priests came forward to state they had been either sexually harassed or had sexual relationships with O’Brien. In total, five priests came forward to say that they had been involved with O’Brien. O’Brien’s stepping down resulted in Great Britain having no voice in the selection of Pope Francis I.
The five priests were asked to keep quiet about O’Brien’s actions, but they went public fearing a coverup by the Holy See. This is not surprising given the fact that the Vatican has been known to hide what it finds difficult, distasteful or damaging to their public face.