Do French clerics carry “get out of jail free” cards? [Opinion]


April 27, 2020

By Keith Porteous Wood

In March, a most egregious infraction of secularism in France passed almost unnoticed. Former priest Bernard Preynat was not imprisoned despite having been found guilty of the sexual violence against minors on a huge scale over decades.

He had been sentenced to five years in prison but was released pending appeal.

Preynat had friends in high places. He enjoyed the protection, in knowledge of his crimes, of the most senior Catholics in France. No less than five successive Cardinal Archbishops of Lyon – Renard, Decourtray, Balland, Billé and Barbarin.

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