Paris archbishop who had 'ambiguous' relationship resigns

Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit prior to bless the city of Paris during the Holy Thursday celebration in front of the Sacre Coeur basilica, on April 9, 2020 in Paris. The archbishop of Paris said Thursday Dec.2, 2021 that Pope Francis has accepted his resignation after he admitted to an 'ambiguous' relationship with a woman in 2012. Archbishop Michel Aupetit said in a statement he offered to step down "to preserve the diocese from the division that suspicion and loss of trust are continuing to provoke." (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Pope Francis
    Pope Francis
    Religious leader
  • Michel Aupetit
    French priest

PARIS (AP) — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the archbishop of Paris after he admitted to an “ambiguous” relationship with a woman in 2012.

Archbishop Michel Aupetit said in a statement on Thursday that he offered 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 offer and named Monsignor George Pontier to serve in the archbishop's place.

Aupetit, who had led the Paris church since 2018, sent a letter to Francis offering to resign following a report in Le Point magazine saying he had a consensual, intimate relationship with a woman. Aupetit told Le Point he didn’t have sexual relations with the woman.

The article in Le Point relied on several anonymous sources who said they had seen a 2012 e-mail Aupetit sent by mistake to his secretary. Aupetit denied being the author of the email.

Roman Catholic prelates take vows of chastity. At the time of the alleged relationship, Aupetit was a priest in the archdiocese of Paris.

“I ask forgiveness of those I could have hurt and assure you all of my deep friendship and my prayers,” Aupetit said in his statement. He said he was “greatly disturbed by the attacks against me.”

In an interview last week with Catholic radio Notre Dame, Aupetit said "I poorly handled the situation with a person who was in contact many times with me.” Calling it a “mistake,” he said he decided no longer to see the woman after speaking with Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the then-Paris archbishop, in 2012.

Only the pope can hire or fire bishops, or accept their resignations. At 70, Aupetit is five years shy of the normal retirement age for bishops.

The pope has refused to accept similar offers from other prelates caught up in scandal.

The former archbishop of the French city of Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, offered to resign in 2019 after a French court convicted him of failing to report a pedophile priest. Francis initially refused Barbarin's offer but later accepted it.

More recently, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the archbishop of Munich and Freising, offered to resign over the Catholic Church’s “catastrophic” mishandling of clergy sexual abuse cases. Francis refused to accept it and Marx remains in office.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting