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The Boston Globe

World

British cardinal resigns amid scandal, to skip papal conclave

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Britain’s highest-ranking Catholic leader, recused himself on Monday from taking part in the conclave to elect the next pope after being accused of improper conduct with priests — an unprecedented first head to roll in the mudslinging that has followed Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to resign.

O'Brien also resigned as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, though the Vatican insisted that Benedict accepted his resignation purely because he was nearing the retirement age of 75 — not because of the accusations. But O'Brien himself issued a statement Monday saying he would skip the conclave because he didn’t want to become the focus of media attention at such a delicate time for the Catholic Church.

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