BY RAPHAEL SATTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS
LONDON -- The cardinal who until recently served as Britain's highest-ranking Catholic leader on Sunday acknowledged having engaged in unspecified sexual misbehavior and promised to play "no further part" in the public life of the church, a statement that comes at an awkward time for the Vatican.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigned Monday from his position as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh after a newspaper published unnamed priests' accounts of unspecified inappropriate behavior.
O'Brien initially rejected the claims, saying he was resigning because he did not want to distract from the upcoming conclave of cardinals that is due to pick a successor to Benedict XVI, who resigned the papacy Thursday. O'Brien also said he would not attend the conclave.
But on Sunday, the Catholic church in Scotland issued a statement quoting O'Brien as saying that there had been times "that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal."
"To those I have offended, I apologize and ask forgiveness," the statement continued. "To the Catholic church and people of Scotland, I also apologize. I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic church in Scotland."