Pope Francis has rejected the resignation offer of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who was convicted of failing to report sexual-abuse charges. The French Roman Catholic cardinal said Tuesday that Pope Francis had turned down his offer to resign, but had suggested he stand aside “for a while.” Barbarin is the highest-profile cleric to be caught up in the child sex abuse scandal inside the French Church. He was convicted of covering-up allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts in the 1980s and early 1990s by a priest, and was handed a six-month prison sentence. Barbarin is appealing his guilty verdict.
The Vatican acknowledged in a statement that the pope did not accept the resignation offer and will let the cardinal decide what is best for his diocese. “The Holy See is keen to reiterate its closeness to the victims of abuse, to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Lyon and of the whole Church of France who are experiencing a particularly painful moment,” the Vatican statement said.