The leader of the Scottish Catholic Church has missed Sunday Mass after accusation of inappropriate behaviour.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien chose to skip Mass after the accusations were levelled against him by three priests and one former priest.

The allegations go back over thirty years against the Cardinal who had previously announced he would stand down next month because of his age.

He is Britain’s only member of conclave, the collection of Cardinals who will have a say in who is appointed the next Pope and is due to take place next week.

But both Mr O’Brien and the Scottish Catholic Church have disputed the claims and have sought legal advice.

Bishop Stephen Robson, auxiliary Bishop at the cathedral at which Mr O’Brien was due to take Mass today, said: “As always in times of need such as this we cannot be saddened by the events of the last twenty-four hours.”

“It is to the Lord that we turn to now in times of need.”

The outgoing Pope has been informed of the allegations and the ‘question is now in his hands’, a spokesman for the Vatican said.

The four complainants informed the Vatican of their troubles on the same week that the Pope announced his resignation.

The allegations include claims of inappropriate approaches on the priests by Cardinal O’Brien after night prayers in the 1980s.

One of the complainants called this contact ‘unwanted behaviour’

Cardinal O’Brien recently hit the news after he was named ‘bigot of the year’ by a leading gay rights charity after being an outspoken critic of plans to legalise same-sex marriage.