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Future Scottish cardinal yields to Vatican pressure

Despite official denials, an unprecedented public profession of faith made by Scotland's cardinal designate is being widely interpreted as the result of unprecedented pressure from the Vatican.

Catholic World News reports that Archbishop Keith O'Brien of St Andrews-Edinburgh made a sworn public affirmation of his orthodoxy in his cathedral last Tuesday. Pointing out that such professions of faith are common, it describes as "revealing", the exact wording of his profession, in light of his recent statements questioning Church teaching on matters such as celibacy, contraception and homosexuality.

He said: "I accept and intend to defend the law on ecclesiastical celibacy as it is proposed by the magisterium of the Catholic Church; I accept and promise to defend the ecclesiastical teaching about the immorality of the homosexual act; I accept and promise to promulgate always and everywhere what the Church's magisterium teaches on contraception."

After his appointment to the College of Cardinals was announced, Archbishop O'Brien indicated that such teachings should be the subject of open discussion. A spokesman for Archbishop O'Brien said that he had not been ordered to make such a public profession, but informed sources at the Vatican confirmed that the statement was the result of "consultation" with Rome, facilitated by the apostolic nuncio.

Officials in Rome, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that it had been a "mistake" for Pope John Paul II to select the outspoken O'Brien as a cardinal, rather than the more orthodox Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow.

Catholic World News

O'Brien makes U-turn on gays (The Scotsman 11/10/03)
Scotland's Cardinal to Defend Teaching (The Guardian/AP)
Comment: Cardinal-elect's oath requires a leap of faith (The Scotsman 13/10/03)
How the red hat turned to the east (The Scotsman 29/9/03)
O'Brien in challenge to Catholic traditions (Edinburgh News 30/9/03)

14 Oct 2003