France: Card. Barbarin sentenced to six months suspended sentence

The Lyon court handed Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, a six-month suspended prison sentence for not reporting the cases in the period between July 2014 and June 2015.

The 68-year old cardinal was not present in the Lyon court on Thursday to hear his conviction. His lawyer, Jean-Felix Luciani, said he will appeal: “The court’s reasons do not convince me. We will therefore contest this decision,” the lawyer said, adding that the court had been under pressure as a result of documentaries and a film about the case.

At the end of the trial in January the prosecutor had not sought punishment for the cardinal or the five other church officials accused alongside him. 

Barbarin to hand resignation to Pope Francis

In a short speech to the press at the Bishop’s House in Lyon, Card. Barbarin announced he would be going to Rome in the coming days to hand in his resignation to Pope Francis. 

Shortly afterwards, the Bishops’ Conference of France (CEF) released a statement saying it would not comment on the conviction until the cardinal has exhausted his right to appeal. The CEF said it would neither comment on the cardinal’s decision to resign, saying it is a matter of personal conscience and that it will be up to the Pope to do what he thinks appropriate.

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