A disgraced Scottish prelate who admitted to sexual misdeeds has resigned from his cardinal's post.

The Vatican said Friday Pope Francis accepted 77-year-old Keith O'Brien's resignation from "the rights and privileges of a cardinal."

In 2013, O'Brien resigned as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh and recused himself from the conclave of cardinals that elected Francis as pontiff two years ago.

Once Britain's highest-ranking Catholic leader, O'Brien left the archbishop's post after unidentified priests alleged in newspaper reports he acted inappropriately toward them. O'Brien eventually said his sexual conduct had "fallen below the standards" expected of a priest and apologized.

Although O'Brien stepped down from the archbishop's post, he remained a cardinal until the latest resignation, following what the Vatican said was a "long period of prayer."