A communique released by the Holy See stated that Cardinal O’Brien, “for the same reasons he decided not to participate in the last Conclave, and in agreement with the Holy Father, will be leaving Scotland for several months for the purpose of spiritual renewal, prayer and penance.”
Allegations of impropriety on the part of the former Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh were brought to light in the weeks after Benedict XVI announced his resignation from the Petrine ministry.
A week after his resignation as Archbishop was accepted by the Holy Father, Cardinal O’Brien released a statement admitting that there had been times where his “sexual conduct [had] fallen below the standards expected [...] as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.”
“To those I have offended,” he said in the March 3rd statement, “I apologize and ask forgiveness. To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologize.”
The press release from the Holy See stated that the “any decision regarding future arrangements for His Eminence shall be agreed with the Holy See.”