French cardinal mooted as possible future pope convicted of covering up child sexual abuse (Source telegraph.co.uk) France’s most senior cardinal has been convicted of covering up child sexual abuse by a priest in the latest blow to the Catholic church over the issue that has tarnished its reputation across the world. Philippe Barbarin, the Archbishop of Lyon, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence by a Lyon court on Thursday for failing to report allegations that a priest in his diocese had abused boy scouts. Barbarin, 68, once seen as a possible future pope, is the highest-profile Roman Catholic cleric in France to become embroiled in a child abuse case. He said after the verdict that he had submitted his resignation from the church and would shortly have an audience with Pope Francis, who rejected his offer to resign in 2016.
He stood trial with five former aides in a case that attracted huge media attention in France after clerical abuse scandals in Australia, the United States, Ireland and Chile. The former aides were found not guilty. Two weeks ago, Australia’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal George Pell, was convicted of abusing two choirboys in 1996.
Barbarin denies any wrongdoing and his lawyer, Jean-Félix Luciani, said he would appeal against the conviction. Barbarin announced on Thursday that he would tender his resignation to the Pope.