The Catholic Church in Scotland has said the resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien had not been brought forward because of allegations of "inappropriate" behaviour towards fellow priests reported on Sunday.
The Catholic Church in Britain was plunged into crisis on Monday after the resignation of Cardinal O'Brien as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh.
The cardinal – originally from Ballycastle, Co Antrim – has denied the allegations.
Peter Kearney, director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office, said: "When it comes to responding to the allegations I think what he will do is act on his legal advice, and the legal advice at the moment would be to not publicly engage with the detail... of the allegations.
"At this particular point we have to accept that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and the advice would be he will engage in the proper way as and when it's appropriate to do so in the future." The cardinal (74) tendered his resignation to Pope Benedict in November, citing age and "indifferent health". He had been widely expected to step down next month aged 75.
It was announced on Monday he was stepping down as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh with immediate effect.