Scotland's archbishop contests "inappropriate behavior" claim
February 25, 2013 -- Updated 1020 GMT (1820 HKT)
Cardinal Keith O'Brien contests the claims against him "and is seeking legal advice," the Scottish Catholic Media Office told CNN.
- Cardinal Keith O'Brien is accused of "inappropriate behavior" with priests
- O'Brien "contests these claims and is taking legal advice," his archdiocese says
- Pope Benedict XVI has been informed of the allegations, a Vatican spokesman says
(CNN) -- Scotland's Roman Catholic archbishop is contesting accusations of "inappropriate behavior" with priests, claims leveled as Cardinal Keith O'Brien prepares to join the conclave that will choose a new pope.
British newspaper The Observer reported Sunday that three priests and one former priest have leveled allegations against O'Brien that date back 30 years. The Observer did not recount details of the claims or identify any of O'Brien's accusers, but said one of the priests alleged "that the cardinal developed an inappropriate relationship with him."
O'Brien did not attend Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh on Sunday, but the Scottish Catholic Media Office told CNN that the cardinal "contests these claims and is taking legal advice."
Pope delivers final Angelus prayer
Vatican denies 'false news reports'
Key moments in pope's resignation
Rumors swirl around pope's resignation
His accusers took their complaints to the Vatican representative in Britain and demanded O'Brien's resignation, The Observer reported. At the Vatican, Father Federico Lombardi, a spokesman for the church, told reporters that Pope Benedict XVI has been informed of the allegations.
The Irish-born O'Brien is scheduled to retire on St. Patrick's Day, his 75th birthday. But in a message to the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh last Sunday, he said he expected to take part as the College of Cardinals gathers in Rome to pick a successor to Benedict, who has led the worldwide church since 2005.
The accusations against O'Brien follow a buzz in Italian media about claims that gay clergy may have made themselves vulnerable to blackmail by male prostitutes, setting off speculation that a brewing scandal may have triggered Benedict's resignation. The Vatican vehemently denied the allegations Saturday, with Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone criticizing a rash of "often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories" as the cardinals prepare for their conclave.
Benedict announced his resignation on February 11, saying that at 85, he was too weak to continue his duties. He leaves the papacy on Thursday, becoming the first pope to step down since 1415.
CNN's Hada Messia and Per Nyberg contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
The Web is set to change our lives over the next decade. This will also question the use of personal data and balancing new powers with ethics.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 0111 GMT (0911 HKT)
The image of the Shinkansen bullet train streaking past Mount Fuji is a powerful part of the iconography of the resurgent post-war Japan.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 2023 GMT (0423 HKT)
Imagine the delight at unwrapping your Christmas present in 2043 and discovering you've been gifted a trip around the Moon.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 0727 GMT (1527 HKT)
A new political party claiming to champion ordinary Indian voters makes a startling electoral debut.
Few words in Hungarian, including place names, are easily recognizable to foreigners.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1744 GMT (0144 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see in news reports, taken by CNN teams all around the world.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1234 GMT (2034 HKT)
Walking into one of Yayoi Kusama's infinity rooms is like walking into a completely different universe.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1529 GMT (2329 HKT)
Meet Tony Allen -- famous for helping create Afrobeat by fusing different beats and patterns.
December 8, 2013 -- Updated 2116 GMT (0516 HKT)
Fans converged on the site where Paul Walker died to pay tribute to the actor. CNN's Paul Vercammen reports.
He was imprisoned for life but that did not quiet him. Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president, and an icon and inspiration.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1002 GMT (1802 HKT)
Watching digital artist Kyle Lambert's stunning photo-realistic iPad paintings emerge from a blank screen is an awe-inspiring experience.
Today's five most popular stories