Lyon is preparing for the post-Barbarin: "It's time to turn the page"

The Limited Times
March 06, 2020

On January 30, a few hours after being released on appeal in the trial for non-denunciation of sexual assaults on minors under 15 years of age in his diocese, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, had resigned to Pope Francis. The Archbishop of Lyon said he wanted to “turn the page” on the Preynat affair, the ex-parish priest accused of pedophile acts on young scouts. Friday March 6, the sovereign pontiff finally relieved him of his pastoral charge. A year ago, he had refused "out of respect for the presumption of innocence" a first proposal from the primate of Gaul, just sentenced to six months suspended by the correctional court of Lyon (Rhône) in the same case.

Retained in the Palestinian territories by the epidemic of coronavirus, the cardinal could not announce the papal decision himself, but he sent a message to the faithful of Lyon via Twitter.

To my brothers and sisters in the diocese of Lyon,
when Pope Francis relieves me of my pastoral charge
A very big THANK YOU, and a very simple instruction:
Follow Jesus closely
In a serving church,
Fraternal and missionary.
+ PB

- Cardinal Barbarin (@CardBarbarin) March 6, 2020

"To my brothers and sisters in the diocese of Lyon, when Pope Francis relieves me of my pastoral charge, a big thank you and a very simple instruction: follow Jesus closely in a servant, fraternal and missionary church", writes Bishop Barbarin .

"He should have left earlier"

In Lyon, this resignation, which was expected, is variously appreciated by Catholics. "Cardinal Barbarin should have left earlier," said Mathilde, sixty, a member of the Lyons church. "Many of us have been shocked and disgusted by Father Preynat's actions and by the silence of his hierarchy," she said. The image of Lyon has been damaged by this affair. Hopefully this is a new start for the diocese, it is time to turn the page. ”

Others, like Jacques, 74, want to show unfailing support for their cardinal, who has been sorely tested by the multiple revelations made in recent years in the Preynat affair, named after the former priest, who awaits the judgment of the Criminal Court of Lyon for March 16 and who recognized in January during his trial sexual assaults on young scouts in his charge.

"Philippe Barbarin assumed everything with dignity, including the faults that were not his, believes the retiree, he can leave without having to blame himself. In any case, Jacques intends to attend the Mass of Thanksgiving organized on May 15 at the Saint John Primatial in honor of Cardinal Barbarin and in his presence.

"This resignation is not a sanction"

Arrived in Lyon in 2002, Philippe Barbarin will undoubtedly have left his mark on the city. Archbishop Michel Dubost, apostolic administrator of Lyon, who announced the pope's decision in the absence of the cardinal, said how much the latter was attached to the city: "He loves Lyon very much, and for him, this resignation is a relief in same time as a tear. "It is a period that I do not wish anyone with the discovery of unbearable things," he recalled, stressing that the cardinal was leaving "without condemnation".

"This is a page that turns," also recognizes Bishop Dubost with the certainty that Philippe Barbarin will continue to serve the Church. Maybe in Rome. “I am sure that the Pope will entrust him with a mission. This resignation is not a sanction, the pope has a great friendship for him ”.

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In Lyon, a new cardinal should be appointed within three months, with the heavy task of restoring confidence in a diocese traumatized by the Preynat affair and restoring the greatly degraded image of the Church.


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