It’s an unexpected announcement, especially so quickly and as the Pope has taken off on a five-day trip to Cyprus and Greece. Thursday, December 2, among other appointments and resignations, the official bulletin of the Holy See announced that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation presented by Mgr Michel Aupetit, Archbishop of Paris. At 70 years old, that is to say five less than the theoretical retirement age of the bishops, he will thus have remained a little less than four years at the helm of the diocese of the French capital. Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Georges Pontier, Archbishop Emeritus of Marseille, to act as apostolic administrator.
→ INVESTIGATION. Bishop Aupetit resumes his charge, the great discomfort of the diocese of Paris
In a statement, the outgoing archbishop assured that he had “With a heart deeply at peace” although he was “Greatly disturbed by the attacks to which (he was) the object”. “I ask forgiveness from those I could have hurt and assure you all of my deep friendship and my prayers”, he assures in this text published on the website of the Parisian diocese under the title “The Lord gave, the Lord took away. May the Name of the Lord be blessed! “.
Tensions in the diocese of Paris
This decision of the Pope follows a letter sent to him by Bishop Aupetit barely a week ago. If the letter sent Thursday, November 25 was to remain confidential, its existence had been revealed by Le Figaro the next day. Confirming the existence of the letter to The cross, Bishop Aupetit had however refuted the term resignation. “Resignation would mean that I abandon my charge, he insisted. In reality, I am placing it in the hands of the Holy Father because he was the one who gave it to me. “
The one who is now Archbishop Emeritus of Paris justified this initiative to ” preserve the diocese ”. It followed the publication, Monday, November 22, of a severe article from the weekly Point. Bishop Aupetit was accused of having managed “Brutally” a number of files, ranging from the closure of the pastoral center of Saint-Merry to restrictions on the celebration of the liturgy according to the missal of Saint Pius V, including the dismissal of the director of Saint-Jean de Passy. Proof according to the weekly of these tensions, the departure a few months apart of two vicars general.
A very quick decision by the pope
In addition to these tensions on the government of the Parisian diocese by Mgr Aupetit, Point claimed that the Archbishop would have had an affair with a consenting adult woman. The weekly mentioned an email sent by mistake to its secretary in 2012. If the archbishop had “Refuted with force” accusation, he admitted that he may have behaved “Ambiguous, thus suggesting the existence between us of an intimate relationship and sexual intercourse”.
→ FACTS. Bishop Michel Aupetit: “I handed over my office to the Pope to preserve the diocese”
Anyway, this resignation questions, especially by its speed. As his entourage repeats, Pope Francis does not like to act in haste and especially not under media pressure. When Cardinal Philippe Barbarin was accused of not having denounced sexual abuse – which French justice released him – and submitted his resignation as Archbishop of Lyon, it was not accepted by Pope Francis . He waited for the end of the judicial process, that is to say several months, for in finerelieve Cardinal Barbarin from his office.