It’s a dark week for Catholics in France and around the world as the Vatican faces yet another sexual abuse scandal.
The Archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, stands on trial for failing to report the sexual abuse of minors by Father Bernard Preynat, a member of Barbarin’s diocese whose record of abuse was on file as early as 2002. Barbarin is accused of covering up a reported more than 80 incidents of abuse, and only removing Preynat from his position in 2015 following a direct order from the Vatican. The Archbishop claims to have done nothing wrong and that he urged victims to speak out against Preynat, who is to be tried separately later this year. But considering that Barbarin was officially informed of Preynat’s wrongdoing as early as 2014, things aren’t looking good for Lyon’s top clergyman.
This is only one of many sex scandals to hit the Catholic Church in the last few years, but it may turn out to be the largest in recent French history. Pope Francis is set to hold a conference next month to address the handling of cases like these within the Church, in what one can only hope is a step towards eradicating this kind of toxic culture within the Vatican.