(Paris) Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who retired as Archbishop of Lyon and Primate of Gaul despite his acquittal, announced his future role.
In March 2019, he was sentenced to six months in prison in the first instance because he allegedly did not report a sexual abuse offender, the priest Bernard Preynat, to the state law enforcement agency in good time. The cardinal had suffered media prejudice that seriously damaged his reputation. The appeals court then received the sentence in early 2020 and acquitted the cardinal. However, there was no real rehabilitation because Pope Francis considered it "more opportune", as it was said in Rome, that the cardinal resigned as archbishop of Lyon. Following this "wish", Cardinal Barbarin submitted his resignation request, which Pope Francis accepted in March 2020.
It was only on May 29, months after the acquittal and retirement, that Pope Francis received the cardinal for an in- person interview . In the meantime, the purple bearer had retired to the Holy Land for a long spiritual retreat.
In interviews with CFR and Aleteia Cardinal Barbarin said the first time about his future. To Aleteia he said:
“When I came back from the Holy Land in late May, I went to the Holy Father. We talked a lot about the Middle East. He said he would like me to be available for missions in countries that I know well, like Iraq, Lebanon, or Israel. Otherwise, he gave me the opportunity to do what I want. I had already contacted the Archbishop of Rennes and the Superior of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Saint-Pern in Brittany, where Monsignor Marcus, the emeritus Archbishop of Toulouse, lives. From the beginning of July I will be by his side, but I will also be chaplain to the sisters. In addition, Monsignor D'Ornellas [Archbishop of Rennes] asked me to teach at the Rennes seminary. ”
Cardinal Barbarin had after the publication of the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum aligned birituell training at his seminary in Lyon. The seminarians experience their preparation in both forms of the Roman Rite.
The second cardinal, recently innocent in court, initially convicted but then acquitted, Cardinal George Pell, was also stripped by Pope Francis of all his office. Unlike Cardinal Barbarin, Cardinal Pell has not been received by Pope Francis since his acquittal in April. Sources close to the Pope in Rome speak of a possible ("maybe") appointment in autumn. Francis wanted to let some time pass since the acquittal.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi Image: Vatican.va (screenshot)