Retired bishop replaces Cardinal Barbarin in Lyon

Pope Francis has handed the leadership of the Archdiocese of Lyon to a retired bishop after removing Cardinal Philippe Barbarin from the post.

Bishop Michel Dubost, 77, now has executive responsibility for governing Lyon, whose archbishop is traditionally known as the “Primate of the Gauls”.

He has been appointed as administrator “sede plena et ad nutum Sanctæ Sedis”: this means he has full authority and will report directly to the pope.

Barbarin, 68, was given a six-month suspended sentence in March after he was found guilty of covering up sexual abuse by a priest.

The case against him involved abuse committed by Father Bernard Preynat at Lyon’s Saint-Luc Parish, where he ran a large Catholic Scout group in the 1970s and 1980s.

Although Barbarin did not become head of the Lyon archdiocese until 2002, it was alleged that he had known of the abuse at least since 2010.

He suspended Preynat in 2015. In 2016, Preynat was charged with abuse and rape and is currently awaiting trial.

After meeting Francis in March to offer his resignation, Barbarin said Francis invoked “the presumption of innocence,” and refused to accept his resignation before his appeal against his conviction is heard.

However, he said, the pope did respect his decision “to step away for a while and leave the leadership of the diocese to the vicar general,” Father Yves Baumgarten.


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