Mercy focus at disgraced cardinal’s funeral

Mercy and prayers for Cardinal Keith O’Brien and for those he offended were asked for at O’Brien’s funeral last week.

His failings were made public in 2013 when a British weekly newspaper revealed he had made sexual advances to seminarians more than 20 years earlier.

O’Brien admitted and apologised for his actions. In 2015 he renounced the “rights and duties” of a cardinal.

He was the first cardinal to “give up” his red hat since 1927.

He spent his final years living in Northumberland in the north of England.

Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols told mourners at O’Brien’s funeral it was worth remembering O’Brien’s many acts of goodness, courage and simple kindness.

These characteristics should be considered along with his failings, Nichols said in his homily.

“No matter how great or slight our achievements might be, we cannot depend on them. No, we come before God empty-handed so that we can receive the one thing necessary: a full measure of God’s mercy.”

Because the press had made O’Brien’s life public, Nichols said “We all know its light and its darkness; we need not spend time talking about them even more for he has given us the key words.

“In his last will and testament, he wrote: ‘I ask forgiveness of all I have offended in this life. I thank God for the many graces and blessings he has given me, especially the Sacrament of Holy Orders’.”

Nichols continued: “Today, as we pray for the repose of his soul, we also pray for all those he offended and ask God to strengthen them at this time.”

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News category: World.

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