Barbarin elected to step back from the governance of the diocese, leaving the day-to-day management to his vicar general, Fr. Yves Baumgarten.
Archbishop of Lyon since 2002, Barbarin was accused of not reporting instances of abuse to judicial authorities between July 2014 and June 2015, in a case involving Fr. Bernard Preynat, who has been accused of abusing dozens of minors in the 1980s and early 90s.
At the time of his conviction in March last year, five other archdiocesan officials on trial with Barbarin were acquitted. Barbarin's conviction was widely expected to be overturned after the prosecutor in the case argued there was no proof of the cardinal's legal wrongdoing and therefore no grounds for conviction.
In 2017, the cardinal told Le Monde that he did not conceal allegations against Preynat, but said that his response to the allegations had been "inadequate." He said he opened an investigation against Preynat after becoming aware of the allegations against him and removed him from ministry in 2015.
Barbarin's trial also made headlines when, in October 2018, the French court issued a summons to Cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to testify in the case. The Vatican invoked diplomatic immunity, saying that as a minister of Vatican City State, Lardaria is protected under international law.
The court summons had involved a letter Ladaria sent to Barbarin, advising him to take disciplinary action against Preynat, "while avoiding public scandal."