Cardinal Barbarin appeals conviction for hiding sex abuse

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, arrives at his appeal trial in Lyon on 28 November, 2019. REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot

French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is in court this week to appeal his conviction for covering up decades of sexual abuse by a priest under his authority.

Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, tried to resign after he was given a six-month suspended sentence in March for “non-denunciation of sexual violence against minors”.

The 68-year-old was one of six church officials accused of failing to report Bernard Preynat, a priest who has since admitted to abusing Boy Scouts around the city of Lyon from the 1970s to 1990s.

Some of the accusations were outside the statute of limitations and Barbarin was the only church official convicted of covering up the abuse.

Barbarin’s entire career and future hinges on the outcome of his appeal.

In 2016 he admitted to having known about the allegations for nearly a decade. However Pope Francis has refused to accept Barbarin’s resignation until the appeals process is complete.

In July, the Catholic Church pronounced Preynat guilty of sexually abusing multiple Boy Scouts over several years and defrocked him, an unusually strong move that reflects France’s growing reckoning with clergy sex abuse.