UK's Cardinal Keith O'Brian: The New Pastor Ted?
Scotland’s Roman Catholic Cardinal Keith O’Brien has resigned due to allegations of "inappropriate behaviour stretching back 30 years." A well-known anti-LGBT advocate who was labeled "bigot of the year" by gay rights group Stonewall, part of allegations set against O'Brien include engaging in various sexual acts with fellow priests. With all the rumors leaking out of this scandal, it appears that O’Brien may as well be the United Kingdom’s version of evangelical Pastor Ted Haggard.
In 2006, Haggard also stepped down from his leadership position within the New Life Church after a gay prostitute named Mike Jones claimed to have had an affair with Haggard that included the use of crystal methamphetamine. Jones said that he came out with his story because of Haggard’s stance against gay marriage. The following year, Haggard was said to have come out of three weeks of counseling where he was then deemed as "completely heterosexual." One would be inclined to think that in the midst of hypocrisy, Haggard would have seen his end in the religious world. Yet, in 2010, he announced his will to start up a new church at his home base of Colorado Springs, Colorado. This time Haggard was singing a different kind of tune, calling his new church inclusive to people from all walks of life. To top the entirely bizarreness of his situation off, in 2011 Haggard comes out as a 21 year old bisexual in a GQ interview.
Outgoing Pope Benedict XVI has accepted O’Brien’s resignation — though the cardinal was due to retire the following month. His opt-out leaves the UK with one less representative in the upcoming election for a new pope. O’Brien’s relations with a now married seminarian allegedly resulted in the need for long-term counseling, and the scandal appears to be the latest in a long line of indignities within the Catholic Church under Pope Benedict’s leadership. In cases like that of Haggard’s and O’Brien’s it seems that scandals are more likely to erupt when religious leaders are forced to hold back their true feelings due to the negative attitudes held against homosexuality and the LGBT community in particular.
In relation, O’Brien was cited very recently suggesting Roman Catholic priests should be able to marry. According to O’Brien, it has been difficult for priests to remain celibate.
The papacy’s future currently rests in the hands of a newly elected pope, whose challenge it will be to lead the church back into positive press and spotlight.