The Columbus Dispatch

Paris archbishop resigns over relationsh­ip with woman

- Angela Charlton and Thomas Adamson

PARIS – Pope Francis on Thursday accepted the resignatio­n of the archbishop of Paris, who unexpected­ly offered to step down last week after admitting to an “ambiguous” relationsh­ip with a woman in 2012.

Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit said in a statement Thursday that he offered to step down “to preserve the diocese from the division that suspicion and loss of trust are continuing to provoke.”

The Vatican said in a statement that the pope accepted Aupetit’s offer, and named Monsignor Georges Pontier to serve temporaril­y in his place pending the pontiff ’s appointmen­t of a permanent new archbishop.

The Vatican gave no reason Thursday for why Francis had accepted Aupetit’s resignatio­n, or why the decision had come so quickly after it had been offered.

The resignatio­n comes amid great upheaval in the French Catholic Church.

A report in October estimated some 3,000 French priests had committed sexual abuse over the past 70 years.

Last year, the pope accepted the resignatio­n of French Roman Catholic Cardinal Philippe Barbarin in connection with the cover-up of sexual abuse of dozens of boys by a predatory priest.

Previously, Francis has taken his time considerin­g whether to accept a resignatio­n offered as a result of scandal. In several cases he has rejected the offer outright and told the bishop to remain.

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