Hit or miss? Cardinal O'Brien follows resignation with apology for impropriety

Cardinal O'Brien, leader of the Scottish Catholic Church, issued a statement apologising for his sexual conduct following his resignation last month.

Cardinal Sin: Apology from O'Brien (Credit: Getty Images)
Cardinal Sin: Apology from O'Brien (Credit: Getty Images)

O’Brien said: ‘There have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.’ Church representatives had contested allegations of O’Brien’s misconduct before they were revealed by The Observer on 24 February.  

How I see it

John Mahony, CEO, Reputation Inc

Cardinal O’Brien’s abrupt resignation, full confession and fall from grace remind us that no-one’s reputation is beyond challenge, and that a legacy of good deeds and community service must be matched with integrity, transparency and openness.

A campaign is aiming to encourage Cardinal Roger Mahony, who it is alleged was protecting sexually abusive priests, not to participate in the vote for the next Pope, which might suggest that a good reputation is increasingly a prerequisite to have a seat at the conclave.

Pope Benedict’s sudden departure, his refusal to publish the findings of a Vatican investigation, the butler debacle and a rush to bring forward the start date of the conclave have the makings of a Dan Brown epic.

When reputation strategies call for a new leader and strategy, major symbolic change is not a bad thing.

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