Some angry thoughts on O'Brien
Words fail me. The man who has used his position and power to compare me to a slaver and a nazi because I want to marry the (theoretical) person I love has admitted that he used his position and power to come onto young priests which we know, in at least four case, was unwanted.
Well, what he has actually said is:
However, I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.
No, breaking vows of celibacy falls below the expectation I have of Catholic priests. Using your position and power to form unwanted sexual relationships - that's falling below the standards I expect of a human being. You do not get to wave all that away with just:
To those I have offended, I apologise and ask forgiveness.
and then retiring from public life. The responsibilities given to O'Brien's position are not something that can be discarded just because he's now having to face up to actions he took while embracing the very power and privilege that gave those responsibilities.
This is, by the way, just after explaining why he denied the allegations so strongly last week - he claims they were "unspecific" and "anonymous"... did he forget? Did he think that the unnamed priests and ex-priests in the Observer article had not actually put in a complaint with specifics? It's hard to interpret this in any way other than as a lie - especially given the extreme vagueness of his statement.
Johann Hari has already suggested on twitter that we should offer compassion to this "victim of homophobia". On one hand, I would love to agree with him, but on the other, I am seething because of that "apology" and retirement is a final face-slap to us all. No explanation. No contrition. Just a big fat "Screw You!"
His bigot of the year award was well deserved and seemingly the more so now.