The archdiocese said the archbishop of Paris has offered to step down after admitting to having an “unexplained” relationship with a woman in 2012.
Archbishop Michel Aupetit, who has led the Paris Church since 2018, sent a letter to Pope Francis offering to resign following a report in Le Pointe magazine. There was no indication when Francis might act on it; He has refused to accept similar offers from other bishops embroiled in the scandal.
In an article published this week, Le Pointe said that Oupetit had a consensual, intimate relationship with a woman. The report relied on a number of anonymous sources who said that he had mistakenly sent a 2012 e-mail aptitude to his secretary.
Aupetit denied being the author of the email and told Le Pointe that he had not had an intimate and sexual relationship with the woman.
Roman Catholic priests take an oath of chastity. At the time of the alleged relationship, Oupetit was a priest in the Archdiocese of Paris; He was made Auxiliary Bishop of Paris in 2013 and installed as Archbishop of Paris in January 2018.
In an interview Friday with Catholic radio Notre Dame, Oupétit denounced the Le Pointe article as “virulent”.
“Those who knew me at the time and who shared my daily life would certainly tell that I was not living a double life, as the article suggests,” he said. “I admit, as I have said before, that I handled the situation poorly with a person who was in contact with me several times.”
Calling it a “mistake”, he said he decided not to see the woman any more after speaking with then-Paris archbishop Cardinal André Ving-Trois in early 2012.
In comments to La Croix newspaper published on Friday, Oupetit said he did not use the word “resignation” in his letter to Francis, which he said would mean he was “resigning” his act. He said he instead placed the decision in the hands of the Pope.
He is the latest Catholic bishop to do so. The former Archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarian, offered to resign in 2019 after a French court convicted him of failing to report to a pedophile priest. Francis refused to accept the resignation pending the outcome of Barbarine’s appeal, although he accepted it the following year, by which time Barbarin had been acquitted.
Recently, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising, offered to resign over the “devastating” mistreatment of clergy sexual abuse cases by the Catholic Church.
Francis refused to accept this and Marx remained in office.
Only the Pope can appoint or dismiss bishops, or accept their resignations. At age 70, ouppet is five years off the normal retirement age for bishops.
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