Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Catholic Archbishop of Paris

The Pope’s decision comes within a week of the 70-year-old archbishop’s request to have Pope Francis decide his future out of a concern to preserve the unity of his archdiocese amid the controversy.

Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris.
Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris. (photo: Ibex73 via Wikimedia / (CC BY-SA 4.0))

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Michel Aupetit on Thursday amid a controversy surrounding an alleged prior relationship with a woman before he was archbishop of Paris.

A statement from the Holy See press office on Dec. 2 said that Pope Francis accepted the resignation submitted by Archbishop Aupetit and had appointed Archbishop Georges Pontier, archbishop emeritus of Marseille, as the interim apostolic administrator.

The Pope’s decision comes within a week of the 70-year-old archbishop’s request to have Pope Francis decide his future out of a concern to preserve the unity of his archdiocese amid the controversy.

Archbishop Aupetit, who was installed in the French capital in 2018, wrote to the Pope after the French weekly magazine Le Point published a report portraying him as an authoritarian and divisive figure.

The report also raised concerns about Archbishop Aupetit’s contacts with a woman dating back to 2012, when he was vicar general of the Paris archdiocese.

Archbishop Aupetit told Le Point that he was not in a relationship with the woman.

He said: “My behavior towards her may have been ambiguous, thus suggesting the existence between us of an intimate relationship and sexual relations, which I strongly refute … I decided not to see her again and I informed her.”

Archbishop Aupetit told the French Catholic daily La Croix that he had spoken to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, about his situation, as well as to Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the apostolic nuncio to France.

“This is not because of what I should or should not have done in the past — otherwise I would have left a long time ago — but to avoid division, if I myself am a source of division,” he said.

Pope Francis conferred on Catholics the lay ministries of catechist and lector at a Mass for the Sunday of the Word of God on Jan. 23.

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