ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM MOROCCO
National Catholic Reporter
March 31, 2019
By Joshua J. McElwee
Editor’s note: This story was updated March 31 at 4:20 p.m. to include additional comments from the papal press conference
Pope Francis has indicated he will reconsider his decision not to accept the resignation of a French cardinal convicted of covering up sexual abuse after the prelate’s appeal is heard.
In a press conference aboard the papal flight back to Rome after a two-day visit to Morocco, the pontiff also admitted that Lyon Cardinal Philippe Barbarin may be guilty, but asked for the continued observation of presumption of innocence during the appeal.
“In classic global jurisprudence there is the presumption of innocence during the time that the case is open,” the pope said.
“When the second court gives its sentence, we will see what happens,” he said. “Maybe he is not innocent. But there is the presumption.”
Barbarin, who maintains his innocence, was convicted by a French court earlier this month of covering up for the notorious abuser Fr. Bernard Preynat. The cardinal, who received a six-month suspended sentence, met with Francis in Rome March 18 to hand in his resignation, which the pope refused.
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