Wednesday 20 March 2019

Catholic Abuse News - Carry On Regardless

Pope Rejects Resignation of French Cardinal Convicted of Abuse Cover-Up - The New York Times

Cardinal Barbarin meets Pope Francis
Apparently, the Pope doesn't think covering up for child-abusing priests is that serious. Either that or he feels he can ignore the fact that one of his cardinals, the most senior Catholic cleric in France, has been convicted of the crime in a French court.

In an extraordinary twist to the story I reported on just a few days ago, the Pope has refused to accept the resignation of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon, France, despite his conviction in a French court on 7 March 2019. He has cited "the presumption of innocence" as his reason.

According to the New York Times report on 7 March:

Cardinal Barbarin, 68, was found guilty of failing to report child abuse by the Rev. Bernard Preynat to the authorities from 2014 to 2015, after parishioners accused the priest of sexually abusing dozens of Boy Scouts in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Preynat who is now 73, ran a boy-scout group in the Lyon area for many years in the 1980s and 1990s. Dozens of men say he sexually assaulted them as children. His layers say he admits the offences but point out that the French statute of limitations means that he can't be prosecuted. Barbarin confirmed to the court that he heard "rumours" of the abuses as early as 2010 but claims he only became fully aware from a conversation with one of the victims in 2014. He informed the Vatican but waited another year before he removed Preynat from his post - and he never informed the police.

Barbarin met the Pope on Monday and handed him a letter of resignation but on Tuesday, a Vatican spokesman, Alessandro Gisotti, confirmed that the resignation had been refused. Instead, Cardinal Barbarin will 'step aside' for an unspecified length of time.

In a terse statement on the website of the Catholic Church in the Rhone and Roannais, for the Catholic Church in Lyon, Barbarin said:

Publié le 19 mars 2019

Communiqué officiel – rencontre du cardinal Philippe Barbarin et du pape François le 18 mars 2019
Lundi matin, j’ai remis ma mission entre les mains du Saint Père.

En invoquant la présomption d’innocence, il n’a pas voulu accepter cette démission.

Il m’a laissé la liberté de prendre la décision qui me paraît la meilleure pour la vie du diocèse de Lyon, aujourd’hui.

À sa suggestion et parce que l’Église de Lyon souffre depuis 3 ans, j’ai décidé de me mettre en retrait pour quelque temps et de laisser la conduite du diocèse au vicaire général modérateur, le père Yves Baumgarten.

Cette décision prend effet à compter de ce jour.

Lyon, le 19 Mars 2019.

Philippe Barbarin, Archevêque de Lyon

Translation (Google Translate):

Posted on March 19, 2019

Official Communiqué - meeting of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin and Pope Francis on March 18, 2019
On Monday morning, I handed over my mission to the Holy Father.

By invoking the presumption of innocence, he did not want to accept this resignation.

He left me the freedom to make the decision that seems to me the best for the life of the diocese of Lyon, today.

At his suggestion and because the Church of Lyon has been suffering for 3 years, I decided to go back for a while and leave the leadership of the diocese to the vicar general moderator, Father Yves Baumgarten.

This decision takes effect as of this day.

Lyon, March 19th, 2019.

Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon

The muddle the Vatican is in over these high-profile cases can be judges from the fact that former Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington DC, was summarily defrocked although he has never been charged, let alone convicted. Meanwhile, Cardinal Pell, formerly the Pope's financial controller in the Vatican, number three in the Catholic heirarchy, and former Archbishop of Melbourne, who was convicted and sentenced to 6 years for the sexual abuse of minors, remains on the books, so to speak.

No wonder the emergency meeting called to discuss the crisis of the torrent of abuse and cover-up revelations now coming from the USA, failed to come up with a plan to prevent it in future. The crisis meeting had been called following the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report into the predatory activities of 300 Catholic priest in the state, and the institutional cover up and facilitation within the church that allowed it to continue. This has prompted other similar investigations by state law-enforcement officials and a scramble by bishops to release names to avoid charges that they hid details too.

The meeting was characterised by what looked like an attempt to dissociate the church from the crimes and blame others. A definitive code of conduct aimed at preventing abuse and responding appropriately to it when it is discovered was promised, but has failed to materialise.

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