Here in Argyll and Bute 17 years ago we had a similar crisis when our Bishop, Roddy Wright, left with a married woman.
It seemed then that the Catholic Church in Scotland would not survive either, but over those years painful memories have dimmed substantially.
Keith O’Brien also did a considerable amount in raising Scottish national self-confidence and his waving of the Saltire in St Peter’s Square at his inauguration as a Cardinal in 2003 was surely a seminal moment in this respect.
Nonetheless, as McGinty correctly points out, Mario Conti of Glasgow was an infinitely safer pair of hands and was only prevented from getting the job by the “turn about” mentality between the church in Glasgow and Edinburgh that has existed since before the Reformation.
It is, however, at this time very important for Scotland’s political class to remember that the Catholic Church has not gone away and that it will continue to stand up for the truths of the gospel.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s confessions (your report, 4 March) only underscore the classic notion that homophobia is sometimes manifest of homosexual repression. Despite anger at his hypocrisy, given his well-known anti-gay rhetoric, I feel a little sorry for him.
Born into an age and culture in which the Catholic Church might have been seen as an escape from his sexual discomfort it seems such a waste that, at 74, O’Brien has missed out on a lifetime of love, opting instead, at least publicly, for protestations of Catholic dogma.
The serious issue is that the Catholic Church is in disarray over issues of transparency and accountability and continues to lose what little moral authority it retains in the eyes of some.
Its members’ private views, however out of touch, are their own concern but why should this institution still hold power over public policy and be responsible for the education of large numbers of our children?
Edinburgh Secular Society