Peer’s ‘compassion’ for Cardinal Keith O’Brien

Leading peer and QC Baroness Helena Kennedy has spoken of the “huge compassion” she feels towards Cardinal Keith O’Brien after his admission that his sexual conduct had “fallen beneath the standards” expected of him.

Lady Kennedy said it was “torture” for the Roman Catholic Church to force priests who wanted to have a sex life to be celibate as she called for reform of the Catholic Church.

“I feel very sad for Cardinal O’Brien because here was a man who quite clearly had wanted to have a sexual life and felt that it was a failing for him to want to have a sexual life and that he was going against his commitment to celibacy,” she said.

“It is terrible to torture people by expecting that of them and I just feel huge compassion for him. I do not like the idea that there might be an issue of being predatory but I do not want to make a judgment on that.

“But he himself has said that he was involved in sexual activity and I feel very sad that that was something that he had to in some way bury, then give expression to then feel shame and guilt and presumably is absolutely covered with guilt now. I feel very sad for him and for his victims.”