Archbishop of Paris resigns amid ‘intimate relationship’ claim

Written by By Gilles Michaud, CNN

The archbishop of Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, has resigned over an alleged “intimate relationship” with a woman, the Vatican said.

The 61-year-old former archbishop of Liege was appointed archbishop of Paris in January 2016, but resigned on September 30, before the church ever learned of the existence of the affair, the Vatican said in a statement.

The accusation was first made in 2016 by the archdiocese of Liege in Belgium, CNN reported, but an investigation carried out by the church there found it “unconvincing” and it was only now that the Vatican deemed it credible.

The English-language Belgian Catholic newspaper, the Tablet, reported that a diocesan investigation found that Vingt-Trois was the subject of a number of affairs with women going back 30 years.

While no evidence was found to confirm the allegations, it was “still possible” that “more recent relationships” with women were involved, the Tablet said.

The church decided not to hand over the case to the courts as it was “almost certain that such a situation was simply within the church’s internal affairs,” the church said.

Vingt-Trois had always denied the allegations, the church said.

“It is a painful moment for the archdiocese of Liege, for the pope, the synod of bishops and for the church,” the statement said.

The archbishop is not the first high-ranking Catholic to face the same charges. In 2002, a priest at the diocese of Saint Peter’s in Italy named Maurizio Fico was charged with rape following accusations that he had raped an altar boy in 1991. Fico was eventually cleared after he accepted a year-long suspended sentence for acts “guilty of serious moral conduct,” according to a Catholic publication.

An anonymous whistleblower lodged a formal complaint accusing Fico of having raped a 20-year-old man in 1991, according to Italian media. According to the accusers, the alleged rape took place at the time when Fico was a deacon in charge of the altar boy.

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