Cardinal acquitted of abuse coverup

The French appeals court has acquitted Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of charges that he failed to report sexual abuse crimes committed by notorious pedophile” and defrocked priest, Bernard Preynat.

Barbarin’s troubles began in 2017 when he was charged and later convicted for not reporting the abuse of a minor. He received a six-month prison sentence for this.

His was the most high-profile case of a senior Catholic cleric being tried and sentenced for sexual abuse coverup.

Although he has been acquitted, Barbarin may still face many years of legal action against him.

The victims who accused Barbarin of covering up Preynat’s abuse are planning to appeal to France’s highest court, the Court de Cassation.

They may also take the case to the European Court of Human Rights. In either case, a final decision over Barbarin’s guilt or innocence may not be made for several years.

Lyon is an important diocese in France, overseeing more than 1.2 million Catholics.

At the time of his conviction, Barbarin presented his resignation to Pope Francis.

Francis refused his resignation due to the “presumption of innocence,”. However last June he appointed Bishop Emeritus Michel Dubost of Evry-Corbeil-Essonnes to oversee the diocese while Barbarin maintained the title of Archbishop of Lyon.

Despite being acquitted, Barbarin has again presented his resignation to the pope.

“For the Church in Lyon, it’s time to open a new chapter,” he said after his court hearing.

“Once again I will present my resignation as archbishop of Lyon in the hands of Pope Francis.”

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the Vatican and the French bishops “reaffirm their closeness to all the victims of abuse, in their suffering, and to their families and communities.”

“The Holy Father, who continues to follow closely the unfolding of these painful events, will communicate his decision at the appropriate time.”


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