Father Jean-Marie Perrin, 71, former priest of the town of Maixe, 10 kilometers from victim Father François Geoffroy’s parish, gave himself up to the police last Monday.
He admitted to pushing Father Geoffroy, 75, to the ground, hitting him on the face and beating him.
Father Geoffroy had been on his way to his car after a meeting at about 11pm on 8 November, and was taken to hospital after where he was ordered to take three days’ rest.
“In the fight I tried to take off the stocking which was covering his face, but there was a second one underneath,” Father Geoffroy said to local paper Est Republicain.
“This was someone whom knew I was in the meeting. In the end he had to give himself up because of an article which revealed the attacker had lost his watch.”
Father Geoffroy seems to be clear on Father Perrin’s motive for the attack: “[Father Perrin] was the priest of Maixe for 30 years before he quit and I was given the parish.
“There were tensions between us, differences of opinion on how to organise the Parish. He was always very rigorous, very rigid, strict, dogmatic.”
Father Geoffroy said he was relieved his attacker came forward not because he could now get justice, but because rumours of who his attackers were started to circulate on the internet.
Users of web forums had started to point the finger at Muslims.