Cardinal Keith O'Brien should stay away from Scotland for the good of the Catholic Church, according to his successor.

Monsignor Leo Cushley, who is taking over as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, said that although he is a free man, it would be "wiser" for Cardinal O'Brien not to return.

Cardinal O'Brien stepped down in February after three priests and a former priest made allegations of inappropriate behaviour against him.

He issued an apology, saying "there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me".

Following his resignation, he stated that he would play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland and has since left the country for a period of "spiritual renewal and reflection".

Mgr Cushley, speaking on BBC Radio 4's Sunday Programme, said: "He is a free man in a free country so he can come back if we wants but the Holy See will be the ones to ask him to do whatever it is they intend.

"We all have our own opinions about that and what would be best for him, what would be best for those who have been affected his actions, what would be better for the local Church."

He continued: "What can I say? I think it's not impossible for Cardinal O'Brien to come back to Scotland, of course it's not impossible, but personally speaking I think it's somewhat unlikely that he would return to Scotland.

"Looking around myself, it would probably be wiser and more helpful for the future of the church here if he were not to be back in the country."

The former member of the Vatican's diplomatic team was also asked for his views on the Scottish independence referendum.

He said: "When it is something that is strictly political we tend to leave that up to people as citizens and voters."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.