French cardinal’s downfall a lesson in how accountability happens

Crux | 3/10/2019 | Staff
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ROME - Charles Collins, the managing editor of Crux, is a smart guy. Recently he wrote a typically perceptive analysis about problems with the idea of using Metropolitan archbishops to deliver accountability for clerical sexual abuse, and so we had him on Crux’s weekly radio show on March 4 to talk about it.

After he got done explaining why the Metropolitan may not be the best way to foster accountability, I asked Charley what Church officials ought to do instead. I can’t remember his exact words, but the gist was, “It doesn’t matter, because grand juries and public prosecutors will do it for them.”

Cue - Days - Cardinal - Philippe - Barbarin

Right on cue, three days later Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France, was found guilty by a French court of failure to report sexual abuse by one of his priests and was given a six-month suspended jail sentence. It’s the third time a Catholic bishop in France has been convicted of a similar offense, and the first time for a cardinal.

Barbarin has said he will appeal the verdict, and he declared in court that “I never tried to hide, much less to cover up, these horrible facts.” Following the verdict, he nonetheless said he’ll submit his resignation to Pope Francis.

Friday - Newspaper - Parisien - Barbarin - Verdict

On Friday, the daily newspaper Parisien described the Barbarin verdict as a “cataclysm” for the French clergy, given that the 68-year-old Barbarin is a member of the Legion of Honor and the Primate of Gaul.

French sociologist of religion Olivier Bobineau described the outcome as a “turning point.”

Tsunami - Bobineau - Bishop - Dignitary - Church

“This is an ecclesiastical tsunami,” Bobineau said. “It means that no bishop is safe. The highest dignitary of the Church in France has come down from his pedestal to face equal judgment and treatment along with his fellow citizens, Catholic or not.”

What’s especially notable about the Barbarin case is what makes it different...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Crux
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