The Catholic Church of France has decided to sanction one of the priests who has most denounced the problem of pedophilia in its midst in recent years. Father Pierre Vignon, who this summer launched a petition on the Internet to obtain the resignation of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who in January will be tried for hiding cases of abuse of minors by priests under his command, has been set apart on Thursday from his duties. in the ecclesiastical court of Lyon.
The news has been considered a slap by those who struggle to recognize this problem in France, especially because it occurs a few hours after the Conference of Bishops of France opens its annual meeting in Lourdes with a discussion on pedophilia and when is waiting for the sentence in the first trial in almost two decades against a hierarch of the Church, a bishop, for silencing cases of abuse.
"I regret the decision although I accept it. I do not regret anything I said this summer because I said it because of my conscience and my opinion is still the same, "he told the station. France Info the religious after knowing that he has been suspended from his duties as judicial vicar in Lyon. The priest of Valence practiced as such since 2002. But his position was under the jurisdiction of Cardinal Barbarin, one of France's most influential religious, highlights the French press.
After Pope Francis called this summer to mobilize against pedophilia, Vignon launched a petition on the change.org platform asking Barbarin to resign "as a matter of honor" of his duties as cardinal and bishop of Lyon for silencing abuses of the priest Bernard Preynat, chaplain of a religious scout group in Lyon accused of having abused some 70 children between 1970 and 1991. The initiative already exceeds 105,000 signatures, although it has not had any consequence on the cardinal, although now, visibly, about Vignon.
"Among the 12 bishops of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, there is Cardinal Barbarin. So I guess those bishops did not want to upset the cardinal who scraped the ego this summer, "said the religious.
The sanction against Vignon has been assumed by the accusers of cases of pedophilia in the Church as another example of the inability of the latter to face a problem silenced for decades. "We are appalled by the attitude of the Catholic leaders, who show their inability to evolve and stagnate in a deadly clericalism," he said. Libération François Devaux, president of the association Parole Liberée (Liberated Word), created in 2015 and that brings together the victims of Preyrat and that is the main responsible for the uncovering of cases of pedophilia in the French Church and that every time more of it.
The decision of religious leaders in Lyon is known only two days after the prosecutor of Orleans requested an exemplary one-year jail sentence for Bishop André Fort, 83, accused of silencing the abuses of another priest from 1993. In statements to this newspaper, Devaux accused the leadership of the Church, starting with Pope Francis, of not being really interested in clarifying and solving the problem of pedophilia.
Last October, the Vatican prevented the Spanish cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, appeared before the French justice for the Barbarin case, appealing to his diplomatic immunity. According to the instruction in the case, Barbarin asked Ladaria in 2015 what to do in response to the reports of pedophilia against Preynat, and asked him to "avoid any public scandal" when dealing with cases. The trial before a Lyon criminal court for not reporting sexual abuse against Cardinal Barbarin will begin on January 7.