Cardinal Philippe Barbarin © Pierre-Antoine Pluquet (KNA)
An online petition for Cardinal Philippe Barbarin's resignation has more than 100.000 signatories are found. The primate was found guilty of failing to report sexual assaults in March by a court in Lyon.
Since the guilty verdict, Barbarin has rested his post as archbishop of Lyon. Pope Francis had rejected an offer to resign, citing the "presumption of innocence". Barbarin also appealed.
The final verdict is expected on 30. January to be announced. Both the prosecutor and Barbarin's lawyer pleaded for the cardinal's acquittal in the appeal proceedings. Barbarin reiterated during trial he does not consider himself "guilty" over failure to denounce one of his clergymen.
Petition launched in 2018
A priest from Valence had launched the petition for the cardinal's resignation in August 2018. The initiative was accompanied by a letter addressed to Barbarin. The initiator, Father Pierre Vignon, invites his "confreres" as well as "all those members of the Church" to sign the petition "who are aware of the importance of the damage to the victims of abuse".
Barbarin had already been investigated in 2016 for failing to report sexual assaults by the same priest. At the time, the prosecutor's office closed the case after a few months. There had been no indication that the cardinal had committed a crime.