The leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has accepted the resignation of Michel Aupetit from the position of Archbishop of Paris for his engagement in a consensual “intimate relationship” with a woman.
This was announced by the Vatican on Thursday December 2 after a French magazine Le Point broke the news of the relationship on November 22. Following the announcement by the Vatican, Aupetit also made a statement to confirm the decision.
“I was, of course, greatly disturbed by the attacks I was subjected to,” reads the statement.
“I ask forgiveness of those whom I might have hurt and I assure you all of my deep friendship and my prayer, which will always be yours.”
The Le Point Magazine reported that the relationship was discovered after the archbishop erroneously sent a love email to his secretary in 2012. At that time, he was the Vicar-General of Paris.
Despite admitting to Le Point that his behaviour “towards her may have been ambiguous, implying the existence between us of an intimate relationship and sexual intercourse,” the Archibishop has firmly denied that anything actually happened between him and the woman.
“Those who knew me then, and who shared my daily life, could certainly testify that I was not maintaining a double life as the article suggests,” Aupetit said in an interview with Radio Notre Dame on November 27.
“I recognize, as I have already said, that I mismanaged a situation with a person who came to me on numerous occasions. I confided this error to my spiritual guide and the ecclesiastical authority was informed.”
Aupetit’s resignation comes on the hot heels of the Catholic Church’s battle with many sexual assault and child abuse scandals more especially in France. According to a report released on October, members of the clergy in France sexually abused approximately 216,000 minors over the past 70 years.
The number of victims of this abuse rises to approximately 330,000 when other victims who are linked to the church such as youth programs and Catholic schools are included.
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