Pope Francis has granted a respite to cardinal Philippe Barbarin, refusing his resignation pending his appeal trial, but the prelate French immediately put in a withdrawal direction of the diocese of Lyon.
In the wake of his conviction and sentence to six-month suspended prison sentence for not denouncing sexual abuse of a priest of his diocese, Archbishop Barbarin was submitted on Monday his resignation to the pope, but the last one, “citing the presumption of innocence, did not want to accept this resignation,” said the primate of the Gauls in a press release.
Deemed to be close to Mgr Barbarin, the pope argentine has long taken personally the defence of the French cardinal. When the case of lyons had broken out in 2016, he had already rejected a first offer of resignation, believing that it would be “a contradiction, a reckless”, before the outcome of his trial.
François Devaux, co-founder of the association free Speech the lawsuit Barbarin, judge this new support of the pope as “the error of too much”.
“I believe that this man (the Pope) will succeed to kill the Church (…) This shows how we are right and that the problem is intrinsic to the dogma,” he told AFP.
Philippe Barbarin remains, therefore, for the time archbishop of Lyons, even though he announced that he was “in withdrawal for some time”, leaving “the conduct of the diocese the vicar general moderator, father Yves Baumgarten”.
This decision, he says, was taken on the “suggestion” of the pope “and because the Church of Lyon suffers from” that broke out three years ago, the scandal of pedophilia in the diocese of Lyon.
A time evoked in the Vatican, the appointment of an apostolic administrator to Lyon was finally rejected, and the Conference of bishops of France (CEF), in a distance singular, said it was “surprised” that a situation is “unprecedented”.
The president of the CEF, to Archbishop Georges Pontier, said understand, however, that this choice was the result of “a conflict between two requirements, that of “respecting the path of justice” and “care about the property of the diocese of Lyon”.
In Rome, the Vatican has confirmed by press release the decision to the pope, adding that, “aware of the difficulties facing the archdiocese, the Holy Father has left the cardinal Barbarin free to take the right decision” (her withdrawal).
– ex-inspector of the tax department –
Archbishop of Lyon since 2002, a cardinal since 2003, primate of the Gauls (an honorary title conferred to the archbishop of Lyon since the Eleventh century), Archbishop Barbarin is considered to be 68 years as the highest dignitary of the Church of France.
At the end of a trial, became a symbol of the crisis of the Church in dealing with pedophiles, he was sentenced on 7 march to a six-month suspended prison sentence for not having denounced to justice the assault pedophiles charged by the scouts father Bernard Preynat in the 1980s / 1990s and from which he had been informed by a victim in 2014.
The cardinal hammered during the trial to have “never tried to hide, even less to cover these horrific events”. But the judgment considers that it has chosen not to say anything to the French authorities “to preserve the institution” of the Church, thus preventing “the discovery of the very many victims of sexual abuse by the justice”.
His lawyers appealed, and he must therefore wait for the outcome of this second trial to determine the ultimate fate of the prelate.
“We hope that the appeal should be held as soon as possible, in July or in September”, said to AFP Me André Soulier, hailing the decision as pope.
Before Archbishop Barbarin, two bishops have already been sentenced for a similar offence in 2001 and 2018, but for the past three years, the scandal lyonnais became the symbol of the crisis of the Church in the face of pedophilia.
Chosen to lead the current affairs, Yves Baumgarten was ordained a priest in Lyon late in life, at 39 years of age. This Maconnais 54-year-old, a former inspector of the public Treasury, has been curate in Roanne and a priest of Balbigny (Loire) before being appointed vicar general in Lyon in 2014.