by Graeme Scott

CARDINAL Keith O’Brien’s shock resignation is something that the Catholic Church could well have done without at this time.

The Church is in turmoil following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and is moving into a period of great uncertainty.

However, the swiftness with which the Vatican appeared to move after the allegations surfaced surrounding the Cardinal’s alleged inapproriate behaviour dating back to the 1980s, should allow the new pontiff to make a new start, but with a massive job on his hands.

Pope Benedict has worn the look of a man weary and burdened with the seemingly unrelenting scandal which has engulfed the Church. I, for one, was not really that surprised when he decided to step down.

Clearly at the age of 85 it has all become too much for him.

His resignation comes amid rumours of intergroup strife within the Vatican and of more paedophile revelations yet to emerge.

Little wonder then that Catholics have become disenchanted with their Church and look on the hierarchy with disdain.

People I know who regularly attended Mass are now missing from Sunday worship because they are disgusted with the way in which the Church has dealt, or should that be not dealt, with controversy after controversy

There is a huge burden of responsiblity on the cardinals’ conclave to elect a pope who will signal a new way ahead for Catholics across the globe.

IN other news this week, the fortunes of the North Sea oil and gas industry could not be brighter, it would seem.

Oil companies are planning to spend nearly £100 billion on projects in UK waters. Thousands of jobs are being created in what is the biggest investment in the sector for more than 30 years.

It’s a far cry from two years ago when Chancellor George Osborne was slated for his tax-raid on the industry which it was claimed at the time would be the deathknell for investment.

Eventually, a fairer tax balance was restored and progressively the picture for the North Sea has become much brighter, culminating in this latest announcement.

Politicians and energy experts say that an activity survey by the industry body, Oil and Gas UK, shows that the offshore sector would be key to guiding Scotland and the UK out of recession.

Spending in UK waters has been steadily increasing from £8.5 billion in 2011, to £11.4 billion in 2012 and £13.5 billion this year.

An encouraging scenario for the many who rely on the North Sea for their livelihoods. It’s worth bearing in mind that not only will thousands of jobs be created through the latest investment, but tens of thousands will be kept in work.

CONGRATULATIONS go to Ellon Academy who have secured their entry in the Guinness World Records for a third time.

The school staged the largest Superman Dance and earned the record-breaking accolade. Not only did they become world beaters, but more than £7,600 was raised for school funds. Well done.