Pope accepts resignation of authoritarian French Archbishop

controversial French Archbishop

In the wake of escalating accusations of misconduct, the resignation of the controversial French Archbishop, Luc Ravel, has been accepted by Pope Francis

The resignation acceptance was confirmed in an official statement by the Bishops’ Conference of France over the weekend.

Archbishop Ravel’s resignation comes on the heels of an investigation ordered by the Vatican in 2022 into the Strasbourg diocese, which represents about 1.3 million Catholics.

Ravel had served as the archbishop since 2017 and was the subject of an investigation initiated by the Vatican in 2022.

The investigation was prompted by complaints from Catholics residing in the Alsace region.

Ravel’s leadership style, characterised as authoritarian, had alienated numerous parishioners and church officials.

His decision to remove women and laypeople from various councils in his diocese and appoint traditionalist priests with contrasting views to their congregations drew significant criticism.

Furthermore, Ravel faced backlash for dismissing the finance director of the diocese and an auxiliary bishop within the space of little over a year.

Ongoing calls for resignation

Despite his resignation, Archbishop Ravel staunchly defended his six-year tenure, which had been marked by controversy.

However, calls for his resignation had been ongoing, with an online petition garnering over a thousand signatures.

Ravel’s leadership style, which neglected to prioritise communication and engagement with his priests, further exacerbated tensions.

His absence during Holy Week, notably the Chrism Mass with the archdiocese priests, deepened grievances among the clergy, who felt neglected by their archbishop.

In June 2022, the Vatican initiated an investigation into Ravel’s governance, focusing on numerous complaints about his authoritarian behaviour.

However, the findings of the investigation were not released to the public.

Ravel summoned to Rome

Ravel was subsequently summoned to Rome for a meeting with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the former prefect for the Dicastery for Bishops, who requested his resignation and a letter to the French president, as mandated by the concordat.

Ravel did not initially submit the resignation letter, and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Pope’s Secretary of State, summoned Ravel to Rome.

However, citing health reasons, the Archbishop did not attend the meeting.

But, on April 20, Ravel said he had “presented my resignation to the Holy Father,” without giving further details.

“The Holy Father and the President of the Republic [Emmanuel Macron] have jointly accepted the resignation” of Luc Ravel, the Bishops’ Conference of France said in a statement on Saturday.

Francis appointed Philippe Ballot, the archbishop of nearby Metz, as diocese administrator, “awaiting the appointment of the next archbishop of Strasbourg,” the statement added.


Deutsche Welle

CathNews New Zealand


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