Pope francesco accepted the resignation of the archbishop of Paris, monsignor Michel Aupetit. The prelate left the leadership of the archdiocese after some French media revealed that he had an affair with a woman in 2012. Accepting the resignation of Monsignor Aupetit, Bergoglio simultaneously appointed Monsignor Georges Pontier apostolic administrator vacant see et al the direction of the Holy See of the archdiocese of Paris. The man chosen by the Pope, the 78-year-old archbishop emeritus of Marseille, now he will have to work in close synergy with the nuncio to France, Monsignor Celestino Migliore, to ensure a quick and peaceful succession at the top of the archdiocese of the capital. It is certain that the situation in the Vatican has raised considerable concern since, in March 2021, the two vicars general, Monsignor Benoist de Sinety and monsignor Alexis Leproux, they resigned precisely in controversy with their direct superior archbishop.
Monsignor Aupetit is 70 years old and, had he not been overwhelmed by the love story scandal, he would have ruled the church in Paris for at least another five years. Doctor, with an adult vocation, the prelate became a priest at the age of 44. In 2013 Benedict XVI he appointed him auxiliary bishop of Paris. The following year Francis promoted him bishop of Nanterre and then entrusted him, three years later, with the leadership of the archdiocese of the French capital. According to what emerged, the love story took place when Aupetit was not yet a bishop, but only a priest and was vicar general of the Parisian archdiocese, at the time led by the cardinal André Vingt-Trois. In his reconstruction of the facts, however, the prelate has always rejected the accusations: “When I was vicar general, a woman showed up several times with visits, emails, etc., to the point that sometimes I had to make arrangements to distance ourselves . However, I recognize that mine behavior towards him it could have been ambiguous, thus allowing the existence of one between us to imply intimate relationship and of sexual intercourse, which I strongly deny. In early 2012, I informed my spiritual director and, after discussing with the archbishop of Paris at that time, I decided not to see her again and I informed her. In spring 2020, after recalling this old situation with my vicars general, I notified the authorities of the Church ”.
Announcing his resignation, Aupetit explained: “I would like to say that I am deeply sorry for the problems caused in the faithful who have already gone through so many trials since the fire of Our Lady, Covid, the Ciase report (on the pedophilia of the French clergy, ed) and who today find themselves in front of this article in the newspaper Point that concerns me. I trust you that for me too it was a shock to read it and I wondered if there were really so many people who wanted me to leave. The refuge in prayer and the support of numerous Paris priests, seminarians, faithful, friends have given me comfort and have allowed me to hold on in these last days. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for the trust and affection they have given me ”.
The now former archbishop of Paris had also responded to the other attacks that had been directed at him: from governance problems to accusations of negligence. “Of course, – explained Aupetit – it is normal that the decisions that are made can be generated frustrations and cause bitterness, but I never take it myself. I am surrounded by numerous advisers. They are priests, deacons and laity and I have always wished that more and more women could actively participate because I consider their contribution of discernment irreplaceable. But it is also true that although a decision is taken in common, it is necessary that I must assume it and take responsibility for it and with it also the possible discontents it can generate “. And on the love story he explained: “The other very disconcerting fact would be the revelation of one intimate relationship that I would have had as a priest ten years ago, revealed by an email that was sent to my address and shared with my secretary at the time. Anyone who knew me then, and who shares my daily life with me, can certainly testify that I have never lived a double life as the article suggests. I acknowledge, as I have already said, that I have handled the situation badly with a person who has repeatedly expressed himself towards me. I confided this error to my spiritual director and the ecclesiastical authorities have been made aware of it ”. But evidently the Pope’s judgment was different.