• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Growing sex abuse scandal rocks French Catholic Church
Cardinal Barbarin at the centre of a sex abuse scandal in France. Photo: AFP

Growing sex abuse scandal rocks French Catholic Church

The Local · 15 Mar 2016, 10:17

Published: 15 Mar 2016 10:17 GMT+01:00

Bishops from across France met in the sanctuary of Lourdes for their annual behind-closed-doors conference on Tuesday, just as a paedophile rocked the catholic church and beyond.

At the centre of the scandal is Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who is being sued as part of an alleged cover-up of sex abuse on boy scouts by a priest in the late 1980s. On Tuesday he categorically denied covering up for any sex abuse.

On Tuesday Barbarin was hit by new allegations that he had covered up for a second priest that was accused of sexual abuse in 2009 relating to incidents that had occurred years earlier.

In an interview with Le Figaro newspaper, the victim said Barbarin was aware of the abuse the priest had carried out, but did nothing.

“It’s not for me to be ashamed,” said the man now aged in his forties. “I do not act out of revenge…but out of a desire to contribute as people are becoming aware of what happened.

“When someone is aware of such facts, they must act, especially if you have the responsibility. Cardinal Barbarin had that power to act.”

On Tuesday French Prime Minister Manuel Valls weighed into the growing scandal and urged a Barbarin to "take responsibility" in the case which has shocked France.

"The only message I have, without ... taking the place of the Church, of the judges -- because an investigation is underway -- is that he must take responsibility, speak and act," Valls told BFM TV.

Asked whether he meant Cardinal Philippe Barbarin should resign, Valls said: "It is his responsibility, but he must also understand the pain."

"I expect not only words, but acts," the prime minister added.

Barbarin is one of several senior officials being sued for the alleged cover-up.

Story continues below…

He is accused of being aware that priest Bernard Preynat had been sexually abusing young boy scouts between 1986 and 1991.

Preynat was charged in January after victims came forward, and prosecutors say he has admitted wrongdoing.

On Monday it was revealed that Preynat's victims had written to the Vatican demanding an audience with Pope Francis.

For his part Barbarin said on Tuesday he had "never covered up paedophilia" and has asked for people to allow justice to take its course and for his presumption of innocence to be respected.

Today's headlines
Aussie TV show accused of staging French burkini row
Photo: Channel 7 screengrab

Was an Australian TV report about France's burkini ban a set up to portray the French as "anti-Muslim"?

Five ways Paris is better than it was 15 years ago
All photos: AFP

Here's how one man says Paris has changed for the better over his last 15 years in the city.

Man in 60s wounds two in France supermarket shooting
Photo: AFP

A police SWAT team has surrounded gunman's apartment.

Paris makes 'history' by banning cars on river bank

The French capital is going green with a vengeance.

France's hospital doctors stage strike to highlight crisis
Photo: AFP

Unions have called for a "massive" walk-out among hospital doctors.

France's last 'real Camembert' cheese fights for survival
All photos: Charly Triballeau/AFP

It's a cheese maker's take on David and Goliath.

PSG's Serge Aurier sentenced to jail for attack on policeman
Photo: AFP

PSG player had attacked a police officer outside a night club on the Champs Elysées.

Paris city chiefs ready to let nudists hang out in park
Photo: AFP

A nudist park in Paris? "We're going to do it," says City Hall.

Hollande calls on UK to help solve Calais migrant crisis
Photo: AFP

The French president knows that immigration is a key issue of the presidential election battle.

Air France plane dumps fuel 'over Fontainebleau forest'
Photo: AFP

The mayor of the famous town near Paris is furious.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
National
France among Europe's priciest for train travel
National
Paris set to make river bank car-free for six-month trial
2,732
jobs available