Cardinal Keith O’Brien is to leave Scotland for several months after admitting improper sexual conduct, the Vatican has announced.
The 75-year-old staunch equal marriage opponent resigned as leader of the Scottish Catholic Church in late February over allegations of sexual misconduct involving several male priests.
A Vatican inquiry concluded in April – and no further action against Cardinal O’Brien was taken.
However, on Wednesday the Vatican said that with the Pope’s approval Cardinal O’Brien would leave Scotland “for the purpose of spiritual renewal, prayer and penance”.
The statement said: “His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien … will be leaving Scotland for several months for the purpose of spiritual renewal, prayer and penance.
“Any decision regarding future arrangements for his eminence shall be agreed with the Holy See.”