In October, I wrote about two French priests who had committed suicide after being accused of sexual abuse.
In that story, I briefly touched on Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon. Barbarin was accused of covering up for priests who had committed sexual abuse.
Barbarin was found guilty on March 7th, making him the most senior member the Catholic Church in France to be convicted of crimes relating to the church's sexual abuse scandal.
Cardinal Barbarin was sentenced to a six-month suspended prison sentence over his failure to report allegations of sexual abuse against one of the priests in his diocese.
On Monday, Barbarin met with Pope Francis in order to turn in his resignation. To the surprise of many, though, Pope Francis rejected the resignation.
Alessandro Gisotti, spokesman for the Vatican, confirmed yesterday that Francis did not accept Barbarin's resignation. Barbarin will instead take some time away and his second-in-command, Yves Baumgarten, will lead the Archdiocese of Lyon during Barbarin's leave of absence.
“The Holy See repeats its closeness to victims of abuse, to the faithful of the archdiocese of Lyon and the French church who are living in a particularly difficult moment,” Gisotti said.
Right... "closeness to victims of abuse." Considering that the church's priests are the ones doing the abusing that is a hell of a way to put it.
Barbarin was found guilty of covering up for Reverend Bernard Preynat, who was accused of abusing Boy Scouts in the 1970's and 1980's. Barbarin has an appeal in the works.
Victims of abuse in France were disappointed, to say the least, by the pope's decision.
Bertrand Virieux is both a victim and the co-founder of La Parole Liberee (Lift the Burden of Silence), an association for victims of clerical abuse in France.
Virieux said that he cannot understand how Francis could use "strong words" a few weeks ago that "might have given hope to victims" and then reject Barbarin's resignation. The "strong words" that Vireux is referring to were spoken at a Vatican summit last month. Pope Francis opened the summit with a speech where he called for "concrete and effective measures" to deal with the abuse scandal.
"The daily reality in the church," Virieux lamented, is in stark contrast to the empty words offered by Francis.
This is in character for both the church and Francis. In March 2017, I wrote about Marie Collins, an Irish woman sexually abused by clergy. She was a member of a Vatican panel with the purpose of advising Pope Francis on how to protect children in the church from abuse.
She quit the panel because of what she described as "Vatican stonewalling". She said of her decision to leave, "I have come to the point where I can no longer be sustained by hope."
There was also the conference of bishops in the United States back in November, where they were to vote on two measures designed to address the abuse crisis. Pope Francis canceled the vote, leaving many of those in attendance stunned and disappointed.
Despite the church insisting upon their "closeness to victims of abuse," they remain self-serving, cruelly devoted to themselves over the members of their laity to whom they have done irreparable harm.