Britain's top Catholic cleric Cardinal Keith O'Brien - dubbed the Cardinal of Controversy - lived up to his name today when the Pope pushed him into early retirement after accusations of "inappropriate acts."
Cardinal O'Brien, 74, tendered his resignation as archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh last November.
The Vatican accepted it "for later" - but the Scottish Catholic church said today that "the Holy Father has now decided to accept the said resignation definitively."
Cardinal O'Brien, who was once tipped for pope, is facing allegations by four priests that he behaved "inappropriately" toward them in the 1980s.
He remains a cardinal and is obliged to help choose the next pope but will not travel to the Vatican for the conclave to pick Benedict's successor. In a statement issued by the Scottish church, Cardinal O'Brien said: "I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me."
Cardinal O'Brien was a trusted lieutenant of previous pope John Paul II.
Before he became a cardinal in 2003 he was a "liberal" on issues such as sexuality and priestly celibacy but became a hardliner. Last Friday, however, he gave his backing to married priests.
The Observer said three priests and a former priest in Scotland had reported Cardinal O'Brien to the Vatican over allegations of behaviour stretching back 30 years. A spokesman for the cardinal said the claims were contested.