The story of the downfall of Cardinal O’Brien has proceeded at a dizzying pace.

He was accused by three current and one former priests of inappropriate actions. He resigned and will not attend the conclave. The Pope has accepted his resignation.

It sounds like a confession of guilt to me.

The four accusers must have strong evidence, because they can be sued for libel, and in Britain they must prove the truth of their allegation.

He has also been vociferous on his criticism of gay marriage.

Cardinal Groër of Vienna had made strong homeoerotic gestures to almost every student and seminarian he had come in contact with – 1,000+. A former student read Groer’s denunciation of homosexual acts. Groër said that those who committed them would not enter the kingdom of heaven. The student thought that was not what Groër had told him while they had a relationship, and decided to go public – the first public accusation against a cleric in German-speaking lands since the Nazi era.

Pope John Paul let Groër retire as scheduled and received him socially in the Vatican at the very conclave at which the new archbishop of Vienna, Schönborn, was made a cardinal, Schönborn was not happy and told the reporters who informed him of Groer’s presence of in Rome of his unhappiness.

The contrast between Benedict and John Paul in this matter is striking.

O’Brien is not necessarily hypocrite. A person can commit sins and still think they are sins, and advise other people not to commit them. It’s not very convincing, but it is not hypocrisy.

There is another cardinal who has not yet been outed. He has been far more active than O’Brien, but none of his numerous victims will go public, because it would ruin their clerical careers. Rod Dreher is also familiar with that cardinal and writes about him today.