Mourners told Cardinal Keith O’Brien asked for forgiveness

Cardinal Keith O'Brien receives his honorary degree at University of St Andrews, June 2004
Cardinal Keith O'Brien receives his honorary degree at University of St Andrews, June 2004
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Those gathering at today’s funeral for Cardinal Keith O’Brien have been asked to pray for the people he offended when he was alive.

The funeral for O’Brien – the former Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh – has been held in Newcastle.

The 80-year-old had resigned from the role in 2013 after admitting sexual misconduct.

O’Brien died last month in hospital after a fall.

The UK’s most eminent Catholic clergyman, Archbishop Vincent Cardinal Nichols, told the congregation that in his will Cardinal O’Brien asked for forgiveness,

Cardinal Nichols said: “In recent days, the life of Cardinal Keith has been laid bare.

“We all know its lights and its darkness. We need not spend time talking about them even more for he has given us the key words.

“In his last will and testament he wrote: ‘I ask forgiveness of all I have offended in this life. I thank God for the many graces and blessings he has given me especially the Sacrament of Holy Orders.’

“Today, as we prayer for the repose of his soul, we also pray for all those he offended and ask God to strengthen them at this time.”

A requiem mass is taking place at the Church of St Michael in Newcastle.

Cardinal O’Brien will be buried on Friday at Mount Vernon Cemetery in Edinburgh in the grave of his mother and father, in accordance with his own wishes, the church said.

He resigned from his position in February 2013 after three priests and a former priest alleged improper conduct during the 1980s.

Cardinal O’Brien initially contested the allegations, but later apologised, saying his sexual conduct had “fallen beneath the standards” expected of him.

He had been a vehement critic of gay marriage, describing it as “grotesque”, and spoke out against same-sex relationships.

Announcing his death, his successor as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Archbishop Leo Cushley, said: “In life, Cardinal O’Brien may have divided opinion. In death, however, I think all can be united in praying for the repose of his soul, for comfort for his grieving family and that support and solace be given to those whom he offended, hurt and let down.

“May he rest in peace.”

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