Outrage over Pope's decision to reject resignation of archbishop convicted of protecting predator priest




 

Catholic campaigners condemned as "shocking" a decision by Pope Francis not to accept the resignation of a French archbishop who was given a suspended prison sentence this month for failing to report the sexual abuse of boy scouts by a known predatory priest.

Tuesday's surprise decision came just a month after the Vatican convened an unprecedented conference of cardinals in which it pledged to get tough on priests who abuse children and the bishops who cover up for them.

French cardinal Philippe Barbarin travelled to Rome on Monday and offered his resignation to Pope Francis.

But on Tuesday the Vatican announced that the Argentinian pontiff had decided to reject the resignation.

While the Vatican offered no explanation, it seems likely that the Pope wants to wait to see the outcome of an appeal that the 68-year-old archbishop intends to launch against his six-month sentence.

But the decision was condemned by groups representing survivors of clerical sex abuse from around the world.

"I'm stunned by this decision. It is shocking and depressing," Anne Barrett Doyle, the head of the US-based organisation Bishop Accountability, told The Telegraph.

"It reveals the Pope's very narrow concept of accountability. It is a reminder to bishops that they have nothing to fear from this Pope. It is a profound and disastrous misreading of what is required to address this crisis."

Just last month, during a four-day conference at the Vatican attended by bishops and archbishops from around the world, the Pope said that "no abuse must ever be covered up, as has happened in the past".

In a statement, Barbarin, the most senior French Catholic to have been swept up in the Church's sex abuse scandal, said: "On Monday I handed over my mission to the Holy Father. He spoke of the presumption of innocence and did not accept this resignation."

Barbarin said that he would step back from his role as archbishop of Lyon "for a little while", allowing his deputy to stand in for him.

Even the Bishops' Conference of France - the country's most senior Catholic body - said it was surprised by the decision, which it described as "unheard of".

Barbarin was convicted earlier this month of failing to act against Bernard Preynat, a priest who has confessed to abusing boy scouts in the 1980s and 1990s. Preynat is expected to be put on trial later this year.

Barbarin became archbishop of Lyon in 2002 and learned of Preynat's abuse of boys but let him remain in ministry until 2015, said Bishop Accountability.

French victims of clerical abuse also reacted with outrage to the papal decision.

"I think that man (the Pope) is going to manage to kill off the church. It's a mistake too many," said Francois Devaux, a co-founder of a victims' organisation.

Faith in the Catholic Church has plunged as a result of its failure over two decades to address sex abuse perpetrated by clergy.

Last week George Pell, the Australian cardinal who was once the third most powerful figure in the Vatican, was sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of abusing two altar boys in Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral in the 1990s.

He also intends to appeal and remains a cardinal, despite being behind bars.

Campaign groups were profoundly disappointed when last month's Vatican conference on combating sexual abuse failed to come up with any new, concrete initiatives to address the crisis.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Trump calls Pope Francis to offer condolences for Notre Dame fire, offers 'our great experts'
Trump calls Pope Francis to offer condolences for Notre Dame fire, offers 'our great experts'

President Donald Trump called Pope Francis on Wednesday to offer his condolences for the Notre Dame fire.

Greta takes climate change campaign to Vatican, meets pope
Greta takes climate change campaign to Vatican, meets pope

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Swedish teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg has brought her climate change campaign to the Vatican, where she met with Pope Francis and carried a sign saying "Join the climate strike."

DC synagogue accused in lawsuit of enabling 'systemic and regular' sexual abuse at preschool
DC synagogue accused in lawsuit of enabling 'systemic and regular' sexual abuse at preschool

Families of eight children say a teacher at a prominent Jewish preschool in Washington repeatedly sexually abused their kids over the past two years.

Parents Accuse D.C. Synagogue of Enabling
Parents Accuse D.C. Synagogue of Enabling 'Systemic, Regular' Sexual Abuse of Preschoolers

GettyA group of parents are suing a prominent Washington D.C. synagogue, alleging one preschool teacher sexually abused eight toddlers for more than two years and the school ignored the warning signs.The 239-page civil lawsuit, filed anonymously by eight parents in Superior Court for the District of Columbia on Monday evening, alleged that the toddlers between the ages of two and four, "were subject to systemic and regular sexual abuse on school property" by an assistant teacher at the Washington Hebrew Congregation.The alleged abuser, Jordan Silverman, joined the preschool in 2016 after a career as a Vermont photographer. Although Silverman is not named as defendant in the lawsuit, he is...

Nations express solidarity with France after Notre Dame fire
Nations express solidarity with France after Notre Dame fire
  • World
  • 2019-04-16 11:41:10Z

PARIS (AP) - Nations expressed solidarity with France after the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral and offered their support for the recovery.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.