Vatican orders cardinal to leave Scotland over abuse

Disgraced British cardinal Keith O'Brien has been ordered to leave Scotland for a months-long spiritual retreat following abuse allegations against him, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

O'Brien, who had already resigned as head of the Church in Scotland "will be leaving Scotland for several months for the purpose of spiritual renewal, prayer and penance," it said.

The Vatican statement said the decision was taken "for the same reasons he decided not to participate in the last conclave and in agreement with the Holy Father" -- Pope Francis.

The Vatican did not say where O'Brien was going.

O'Brien stepped down in February and said he would not take part in the conclave that ended up electing Francis, following claims that he had made sexual advances towards priests in the 1980s.

O'Brien admitted his misconduct in March after the claims emerged, apologised and asked for forgiveness and retired from public life.