March 18, 2019 / 11:11 AM / 3 months ago

Convicted French cardinal meets pope after saying he would resign

FILE PHOTO: Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, walks inside the courthouse during a break on the last day of his trial, charged with failing to act on historical allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts by a priest in his diocese, at the courthouse in Lyon, France, January 10, 2019. REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot/File Photo

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Philippe Barbarin, the French Roman Catholic cardinal convicted this month of failing to report sexual abuse allegations, met Pope Francis on Monday after saying he planned to resign as archbishop of Lyon.

The Vatican’s daily list of papal audiences confirmed that the meeting took place but gave no details. It did not say if the pope had accepted any resignation.

Barbarin, 68, the highest-profile cleric to be caught up in the child sex abuse scandal inside the French Church, was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence on March 7.

Barbarin is appealing against the verdict. But after the hearing, he said he planned to travel to the Vatican and hand in his resignation.

The court in Lyon ruled that between July 2014 and June 2015 he covered up allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts in the 1980s and early 1990s by a priest who is due to go on trial later this year.

Barbarin has denied concealing allegations that Father Bernard Preynat abused dozens of boys more than a decade before he arrived in the Lyon diocese in 2002. Preynat has admitted sexual abuse, according to his lawyer.

The trial put Europe’s senior clergy in the spotlight at a time when the pope is grappling with criticism over the Church’s response to a sexual abuse crisis that has gravely damaged its standing around the globe.

Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Alison Williams and Andrew Heavens

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