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Pope Francis refuses to accept resignation of cardinal convicted of sex abuse cover-up

Pope Francis meets French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

The cardinal travelled to Rome to present his resignation to the Pope personally

Pope Francis has not accepted the resignation of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin as Archbishop of Lyon.

The cardinal travelled to Rome to present his resignation to the Pope after he was convicted by a French court of covering up sexual abuse committed by a priest. He received a six-month suspended sentence, but is appealing the conviction.

In a statement on Tuesday, the cardinal said: “By invoking the presumption of innocence, [Pope Francis] did not want to accept this resignation.”

However, the statement added that vicar general Fr Yves Baumgarten will temporarily take over the running of the diocese.

Holy See press office director Alessandro Gisotti also issued a statement saying: “I can confirm that the Holy Father has not accepted the resignation presented by Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon.

“Mindful, however, of the challenges currently facing the archdiocese, the Holy Father left the Cardinal Barbarin free to take the most appropriate decision for his diocese. Cardinal Barbarin has therefore decided to step back for a while and ask Father Yves Baumgarten, Vicar General, to take the leadership of the diocese.

“The Holy See wishes to reiterate its proximity to the victims of abuse, with the faithful of the Archdiocese of Lyon with all the Church of France living painful hours.”