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Scottish Cardinal Will Spend Several Months Praying To Atone For Sexual Misbehavior Towards Other Priests

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AP Photo / David Cheskin

Cardinal Keith O'Brien recused himself from the March conclave that elected Pope Francis pontiff after a newspaper reported unnamed priests' allegations that he acted inappropriately toward them.

O'Brien subsequently acknowledged he had engaged in unspecified sexual misbehavior. He resigned as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, apologized and promised to stay out of the church's public life.

On Wednesday, the Vatican said O'Brien, once Britain's highest-ranking Catholic leader, had decided in agreement with Francis to leave Scotland for several months of "prayer, penance and spiritual renewal." A statement says his future arrangements would be decided on in agreement with the Holy See.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.