London: Britain's most senior cardinal Keith O'Brien, who was forced to resign last week, is expected to face a Vatican inquiry after admitting his sexual conduct had at times "fallen beneath the standards expected of me".
The inquiry into the former head of the Catholic Church in Scotland is not likely to begin until after a new Pope is chosen - a process starting later.
On Sunday, Cardinal Keith O'Brien apologised and admitted that he was guilty of sexual misconduct throughout his career in the Roman Catholic church.
O'Brien was forced to resign after the Observer disclosed three priests and a former priest had alleged improper behaviour dating back to the 1980s.
According to the Guardian, in a statement issued on Sunday, the 74-year-old stated that "there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal".
O'Brien's much wider admissions are a significant rebuff to some senior figures in the Scottish church who had repeatedly downplayed the allegations disclosed in the Observer, calling them unsubstantiated, non-specific and anonymous, the paper said.