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Controversial Archbishop takes over Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s role

By John Bingham, Telegraph

A senior cleric who was forced to apologise after suggesting homosexuality can kill has stepped into the post held by Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s until his resignation.

In one of the final acts of his pontificate, Pope Benedict appointed the Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, to run the archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh temporarily.

The Vatican announced that Archbishop Tartaglia, the second most senior Catholic cleric in Scotland, would be the Apostolic Administrator until a permanent successor is found for Cardinal O’Brien.

Cardinal O’Brien stepped down with immediate effect and announced he would not be joining the Conclave to elect the next Pope after allegations of “inappropriate” behaviour with male priests emerged.

He denies the allegations and it in understood he has not been told even who his accusers are.

Archbishop Tartaglia faced a furore last year when comments he made about the death of the Labour MP David Cairns in a speech at Oxford were published.

He suggested that the MP’s death from acute pancreatitis could be linked to his homosexuality.

He said: "If what I have heard is true about the relationship between the physical and mental health of gay men, if it is true then society is being very quiet about it.

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