Pope Benedict accepts resignation

ROME, Italy (CNN) — Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Scotland’s Roman Catholic archbishop, the Vatican said in a statement released Monday.

The announcement follows weekend allegations that Cardinal Keith O’Brien abused four men studying to be priests in the 1980s. The resignation was submitted months ago, and it was accepted last week, the statement said.

On Sunday, the British newspaper The Observer reported that three priests and one former priest leveled allegations against O’Brien that date back 30 years.

The Observer did not recount details of the claims or identify any of O’Brien’s accusers, but said one of the priests alleged “that the cardinal developed an inappropriate relationship with him.”

O’Brien did not attend Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh on Sunday, but the Scottish Catholic Media Office told CNN that the cardinal “contests these claims and is taking legal advice.”

His accusers took their complaints to the Vatican representative in Britain and demanded O’Brien’s resignation, The Observer reported. At the Vatican, Father Federico Lombardi, a spokesman for the church, told reporters that Pope Benedict XVI has been informed of the allegations.

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