O’Brien, the only British Cardinal eligible to attend this year’s conclave, stepped down in February after reports emerged accusing him of “inappropriate behavior” with priests under his charge. The Scottish cleric denied the allegations but tendered his resignation on the grounds that he didn’t want to disrupt the ceremonies of the upcoming conclave. “I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me – but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his Successor,” he said in a statement. But his absence in the Italian capital is not enough to dispel a cloud of scandal that has hung over the Vatican for decades.
Notorious Cardinals: A Rogue’s Gallery of Powerful Prelates
For centuries, the Vatican's mighty prelates have wielded far more than spiritual power.