France: Card. Barbarin (Lyon), “Not reporting the facts might have been a mistake; if I am convicted, it is fine”

(Foto: AFP/SIR)

“I knew absolutely nothing about the world of courts and justice. What is beautiful and powerful about the French justice system is that the picture is clear and you have to listen to others”, in this specific case to the victims, although “I had already met with dozens of them, as well as with their relatives and children”. In an interview with KTO, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, referred back to the trial. “For my part, I was grilled for three hours and I answered all the questions about what I had done in a clear and transparent way”. The goal was “not to say that I did well, but what I did and why”. As for the decision to appeal the sentence, he explained: “I have this right in France”, I follow the advice of lawyers and prosecutors, “and even the Pope agrees”. The cardinal, who still maintains his innocence, reiterated: “I explained what I did, how I did it and why I did it. I am not saying that I did well. I acknowledge that I have made mistakes, but not those I am accused of”. He recalled that when he met with one of the victims in November 2014, who “told me about his sadness for not having reported the facts, I proposed to look into whether there were more young victims, something that this person did”. But none of the two had thought that it was up to the cardinal to report the facts and “the prosecutor in the first instance acknowledged that the victim was in a position to do it”. And he added: “Not reporting the facts myself might have been a mistake, and if I am convicted, it is fine”. The article of the penal code under which the public prosecutor and the court delivered two different verdicts can be interpreted in different ways, “if it is interpreted against me, like in the last sentence, then so be it”, the cardinal calmly said. But since there is “a discrepancy between what the prosecutor said and what the Court said, which is normal”, the decision was taken to appeal the sentence.