Pope told of alleged 'inappropriate acts' by top British Catholic
LONDON (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI has been informed about allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, who is due to vote on the Pontiff's successor, the Vatican said on Sunday.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, denies allegations by three priests and a former priest that were sent to Rome a week before the Pope's resignation on Feb 11, the Observer newspaper reported.
"The Pope is informed about the problem and the matter is now in his hands," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told journalists when asked about the report in the British newspaper. A spokesman for Cardinal O'Brien said the claims were contested.
The four claimants, from the diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh in Scotland, reported to Apostolic Nuncio Antonio Mennini, the Vatican's ambassador to Britain, that Cardinal O'Brien had committed "inappropriate acts" going back 33 years, the Observer said. One priest claims he received unwanted attention from the cardinal after a late-night drinking session. Another alleges that Cardinal O'Brien used night prayers as cover for inappropriate contact, according to the paper.