The former leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien has admitted that he failed to follow God’s teachings after facing accusations of inappropriate gay sexual conduct with fellow clergymen. A Scottish newspaper has claimed that the Cardinal has been asked by Rome to leave the UK.

In March, he admitted that his “sexual conduct” with four fellow priests had been “below the standards expected” of him. Earlier this week, the Vatican announced that it would not take no further action in relation to the admissions.

In 2012, he stated that gay relationships were “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing” and compared equal marriage to slavery and child abuse.

Now speaking to the Scottish Sun, Cardinal O’Brien, who is still technically the UK’s highest ranking Catholic said: “I’m just trying to do my best to live a good Christian life myself now. Many people have been helping me to go back on the right path and that’s what I have to do.

“But I haven’t always managed to live that in my own life.”

He added: “I have been supported in a number of ways by many good Christian people and many people of no religion at all who realise I have said sorry to anyone I have offended.

“If Christianity is about anything at all, it’s about forgiveness. That’s what I have to do as a cardinal priest – just forgive the wrongdoer and help them go back on to the right path again.

“It has been quite a difficult time for me, quite a humbling experience for me. It’s very difficult for them.

“That is why I have apologised for being a teacher who has not been able to live up to the teaching of the Church.

“We know what’s against God’s law. Consequently, we should try to live by God’s law. I’ve apologised for my failures in that respect.”

The Scottish Herald has reported that the Vatican has informed Cardinal O’Brien that he cannot retire in Scotland as had been planned.