UK’s most senior Roman Catholic steps down

Another vociferous marriage equity opponent (and closet case) bites the dust!

By Mure Dickie

Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic priest has pulled out of the conclave to elect the next pope, citing concerns about media attention after he was accused by fellow priests of inappropriate behaviour.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the 74-year-old leader of the Scottish Catholic Church, was to have been Britain’s only representative in the election for the successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Keith O'BrienThe cardinal has contested the accusations from three serving and one former priest, reported in the Observer newspaper at the weekend, that he committed “inappropriate acts” dating back to the 1980s.

In a statement on Monday, Cardinal O’Brien did not directly refer to the accusations, but asked for God’s blessing on fellow cardinals who will choose a new man to lead the Catholic church after Pope Benedict steps down on February 28.

“I will not join them for this conclave in person. I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me – but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor,” Cardinal O’Brien said.

The statement also announced the pope had “definitively” accepted Cardinal O’Brien’s resignation, which had been tendered months previously because of his age, saying the decision had been made on February 18 because of the “imminent Vacant See”.

A Vatican spokesman said: “I do not enter in the merit of the [circulated news]. I only stand by the communication of the decision,” and refused to comment further.

Cardinal O’Brien will reach the episcopal retirement age of 75 in March.

It was not immediately clear if the announcement of the decision had been affected by the allegations from the priests from the diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, who had demanded the cardinal’s resignation.

The Scottish Catholic Church said at the weekend that he contested the allegations and was taking legal advice.
In Monday’s statement, he said he had valued the opportunity to serve as a priest in Scotland and overseas.

“For any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologise to all whom I have offended,” he said.

Cardinal O’Brien stepped back from some of his responsibilities last year in the run-up to his retirement. He had been an outspoken opponent of same-sex relationships, opposing Scottish government proposals to legalise same-sex marriage.

Stonewall, the gay rights charity, last year named him its “Bigot of the Year”, sparking complaints from the Catholic church.

In an interview with the BBC last week, Cardinal O’Brien said priests should be allowed to marry and have a family, as many struggled with celibacy.

Complete Article HERE!

US Catholic bishop with secret family, Gabino Zavala, quits

A Catholic bishop who fathered two children has stepped down.

Pope Benedict has accepted the resignation of Gabino Zavala, an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, the Vatican said.

The Archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose Gomez, wrote in a letter to worshippers that Bishop Zavala told him in December that he was the father of two teenage children.

The children, who are minors, live with their mother in another state.

Archbishop Gomez said that the archdiocese was offering the family “spiritual care,” as well as funding to help the children with college costs.

In his letter he described the news as “sad and difficult” and said Bishop Zavala had been living privately and not participating in ministry since resigning.

Bishop Zavala is 60 and was born in Mexico. He has campaigned against the death penalty and for immigrants’ rights.

The Vatican did not spell out the reason for Bishop Zavala’s resignation in its statement, but made reference to canon law which allows bishops to step down before normal retirement age if they are ill or unfit for office for some other reason.

The Pope has shown no sign of relaxing the Roman Catholic Church’s rule on priestly celibacy, which has been in place since the 11th Century.

In March 2010 he described celibacy as “the sign of full devotion, the entire commitment to the Lord and to the ‘Lord’s business’, an expression of giving oneself to God and to others”.

Priests are not allowed to marry but married Anglican priests who convert to Catholicism are exempted from the celibacy rule.

Two days ago Pope Benedict appointed an American married priest to head the first US structure for Anglicans converting to Roman Catholicism.

Complete Article HERE!

Accused of being gay, Spanish priest challenges Church to measure his anus

WITH no apparent evidence other than a photograph of Spanish priest Andrés García Torres hugging a young Cuban seminarian, the Catholic bishop of Getafe has leapt to the outrageous conclusion that there is something gay about two topless men in a warm embrace.

According to this report, the bishop now wants the priest to abandon his parish in the Madrid dormitory town of Fuenlabrada, undergo a psychiatric cure, and take an HIV test.

Torres responded by saying he intends going to Rome to show that he is being expelled from his parish unfairly.

The priest, who insists that her and the 28-year-old with whom he was photographed on a trip to Fátima are just good friends, and threw down this challenge:

Let them measure my anus and see if it is dilated.

He said his mum hadn’t stopped crying over what has happened.

Locals say that the priest is a very humane person, dedicated to helping others. More than 1,000 signatures have been gathered in his support.