By Benedict Mayaki
Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignation of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin as the Archbishop of Lyon, France.
Cardinal Barbarin had first submitted his resignation to Pope Francis on 18 March 2019. Pending the end of his court case, the Pope did not accept it at that time. Rather, he preferred to allow him to “make the best decision for the diocese.”
On 30 January, Cardinal Barbarin was acquitted of a suspended six-month sentence by a French court in March 2019. He was originally convicted of failing to report cases of sexual abuse of minors by a priest in his diocese to legal authorities.
Until a new archbishop is appointed, Monsignor Michel Dubost has been named the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese in the interim.
Statement from French Bishops' Conference
In a statement signed by the President of the Episcopal Conference of France (CEF), Msgr. Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, the bishops assured the Archdiocese of Lyon of the “fraternal prayers of all French Catholics”. They also assured them that “after the trials of the past months, the diocese of Lyon would pursue the work of truth and reconciliation and renew its missionary impetus with a pure heart.”
The Bishops’ Conference also thanked Cardinal Barbarin for all the work that he has done for the Church as he begins a new phase in his service of Christ and of the Church. They also expressed the hope that the "outcome of the procedures undertaken will contribute to the healing of the victims" and reiterated their "deep sorrow" for what they have suffered.
New page turned
On the website of the Archdiocese of Lyon, Msgr. Dubost encouraged the Catholic faithful stating: “A page is being turned. It is full of extraordinarily rich moments and we must give thanks for them…In a few weeks, we will have a new Archbishop. His coming must be an occasion for renewal in unity.”
Born in Rabat, Morocco, on 17 October 1950, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin was ordained a priest on 17 December 1977. On 22 November 1998, he was ordained bishop of Moulins. Four years later, on 16 July 2002 he was appointed the Archbishop of Lyon by Pope JohnPaul II who also made him a Cardinal the following year, on 21 October.