Lyon, France, Mar 7, 2019 / 03:50 am America/Denver (CNA).
French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, was found guilty Thursday of failing to report to authorities the alleged sexual abuse of a priest in his diocese. He was given a six-month suspended prison sentence. The cardinal has announced that he will resign his diocesan position.
French tribunal president Brigitte Vernay declared Barbarin guilty March 7 “of non-denunciation of ill-treatment” of a minor, according to AFP. Barbarin was not present in court for the verdict.
Five other archdiocesan officials on trial with Barbarin were acquitted March 7. Barbarin was also expected to be acquitted after even the prosecutor of the case argued there was no proof of the cardinal’s legal wrongdoing and therefore no grounds for conviction, the Associated Press reports.
The cardinal will appeal the verdict, according to AP. Barbarin’s lawyer, Jean-Felix Luciani, said Thursday about the conviction that "this is a decision that is not fair at the juridical level." Implying hope in the success of an appeal, he stated: "We hope that at the next step, justice will be done."
In a press conference after the verdict March 7, Barbarin told journalists that he will soon meet with Pope Francis and intends to submit to him his resignation as Archbishop of Lyon.