Podcast: What a prominent cardinal’s admission of abuse means for the Catholic Church in France
At a meeting of the French bishops’ conference, a letter from Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard was read aloud, in which the cardinal admitted that he had “conducted himself in a reprehensible fashion” with a 14 year old girl, adding, “My behavior necessarily caused in this person grave and lasting consequences.”
On “Inside the Vatican” this week, host Colleen Dulle and veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell explain what is known about the case. Cardinal Ricard was up to now a member of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office tasked with investigating abuse cases, though it isn’t clear whether Cardinal Ricard himself ever investigated a case.
The French church is currently reeling from a series of major abuse revelations. First, a report released last fall looked into sexual abuse of minors in Catholic institutions and estimated that up to 330,000 minors had been abused since 1950. More recently, it was revealed that Bishop Michel Santier, who retired as bishop of Creteil in 2020 citing health reasons, was was actually removed by the Vatican for “using his influence over two young adult men for sexual purposes” and abusing the sacrament of confession by holding “striptease confessions.” Colleen and Gerry discuss the lack of transparency in all these cases.
In the second half of the show, Gerry and Colleen discuss Pope Francis’ trip to Bahrain over the weekend, where he attended an interreligious gathering, the “Bahrain Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence.” The hosts view the trip in the context of Pope Francis’ relationship with the Sunni Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, who also attended the meeting and with whom the pope wrote a milestone 2019 document on human fraternity.
Links from the show:
Pope Francis: 'Three world wars in one century: be pacifists!' (Full press conference text)