(Editor's note: Cardinal Keith O'Brien, 74, of Scotland [pictured at left], the highest ranking Roman Catholic Church clergy in the United Kingdom, resigned last week and later admitted to having inappropriate relationships with three priests and a seminary student. Peter Tatchell, head of the human rights organization the Peter Tatchell Foundation in the U.K., comments on the matter.)
Cardinal O'Brien's confession falls well short of what we expect from a spiritual leader. I urge him to show true remorse for his homophobia and hypocrisy by saying sorry to the gay community for the hatred he has stirred and the harm he has caused - and by publicly repenting his homophobia.
He should make amends by dropping his opposition to marriage equality and by beginning a new affirmative ministry to gay Catholics.
By his own admission, the Cardinal stands exposed as a hypocrite. He preached against homosexuality in public while seeking its delights in private.
Cardinal O’Brien’s admission of sexual contact with men torpedoes the credibility of the church's bigoted stance against homosexuality. It also undermines the campaign against same-sex marriage.
It will be very difficult to take the opponents of marriage equality seriously now that this senior spokesperson has admitted that he did what he preached against.
The Cardinal is a troubled man. I pity and sympathize with him. I hope he will receive supportive counseling to help him deal with his decades of deception, and enable him to come to terms with his obvious self-loathing and deeply repressed homosexual desires.
Keith O’Brien is not the only deceiver. Other leading voices against marriage equality are also homophobic hypocrites. They are at risk of similar exposure as frauds.
There are several senior Catholic clergy who are guilty of the same dishonesty. They are also two-faced.
An estimated 40% of Catholic clergy are gay, including Cardinals. Studies documented by Father Donald Cozzens in the US suggest that 23% to 58% of priests have a homosexual orientation, with the figure being closer to 60% among younger priests.
Recent revelations in Italy have alleged gay senior Vatican clerics and their involvement in gay bars, clubs, saunas, online chat rooms and male prostitution services. Given their denunciation of homosexuality, how can they live with their conscience?