Church in France shaken by cardinal’s admission of abuse | Tech US News

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A French cardinal has admitted that he behaved “shamefully” with a young girl 35 years ago.

On Monday, November 7, the Church in France was rocked by a new revelation of abuse. Retired Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard has admitted that he behaved in a “reprehensible manner” with a 14-year-old girl 35 years ago.

In a statement, the 78-year-old cardinal said he was stepping down from his church functions and was available to cooperate with the justice system and church authorities.

On Tuesday, the French prosecutor’s office in the city of Marseille announced that a preliminary investigation into “aggravated sexual assault” had been launched.

“My behavior necessarily caused serious and lasting consequences for this person. I explained this to her and asked for her forgiveness. I renew my plea for forgiveness here as well as to her entire family,” the cardinal’s statement read. “It is because of these actions that I decided to take time to retreat and pray. Finally, I ask for the forgiveness of those whom I have hurt and who will live through this news as a real test.”

Cardinal Ricardo’s statement was read by the current president of the French bishops’ conference, Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort of Rheims, at a press conference at the bishops’ plenary assembly in Lourdes.

The Vatican has not yet responded to the revelations and it is not known whether it was aware of them before Monday.

Who is Cardinal Ricard?

Cardinal Ricard has been an important figure in the Church in France in recent decades. Since 1993, the bishop served as president of the French Bishops’ Conference for two terms, from 2001 to 2007.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed him a cardinal in 2006, thus enabling him to vote for the future pope in the event of a conclave. As he is less than 80 years old, he is still a voter for the time being, unless that right is revoked. He retired as Archbishop of Bordeaux in 2019, at the normal retirement age of 75.

As a cardinal, he was also a member of several Vatican dicasteries, including the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees abuse investigations.

One of 11, a year after a comprehensive report

The cardinal’s revelations come at a complicated time as the Church in France and its faithful grapple with several revelations of abuse.

At the beginning of October there is a French Catholic magazine Famille Chrétienne has revealed that in 2021 the Vatican found the Bishop Emeritus of Créteil Michel Santier guilty of spiritual abuse for sexual purposes in the 1990s. As a result, he effectively retired from his role two years earlier than expected, at 73. However, the reason for his resignation and the Vatican sanction were never made public, and he continued to participate in some diocesan events.

During Monday’s press conference, Archbishop Moulins-Beaufort explained that 11 current or retired French bishops have faced allegations of abuse or mismanagement by government or church authorities.

In October 2021, after more than two years of work, the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE) published a report summarizing its findings on abuses in the Church in France.

cardinals

Only a small number of cardinals have faced abuse lawsuits. In 2015, Pope Francis accepted Scottish Cardinal Keith M. O’Brien’s renunciation of his rights and privileges as a cardinal after O’Brien resigned following sexual abuse allegations against priests and former priests. He died in 2018.

Australian Cardinal George Pell has served a prison sentence after being found guilty of sexually abusing minors. However, he was later acquitted of the charges.

In April of this year, the Pope decided not to investigate the Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet for the accusation of abuse of a woman, as there was not enough evidence.

The most high-profile example of a cardinal was Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in the United States. He resigned his cardinal position in 2018, and Pope Francis dismissed McCarrick from the priesthood in 2019. His civil lawsuits are still ongoing, but he is now 92 years old.

Pope Francis - cough

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