Archbishop Aupetit: Pope Francis asked me to stay in Congregation of Bishops after Paris resignation

Archbishop Aupetit: Pope Francis asked me to stay in Congregation of Bishops after Paris resignation.

Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris. / Ibex73 via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Rome Newsroom, Feb 5, 2022 / 10:47 am (CNA).

Archbishop Michel Aupetit said on Friday he will stay on in his position as a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, after receiving encouragement from Pope Francis.

In an interview with Vatican News on Feb. 4, Aupetit said Pope Francis “renewed his support for me” and again said he thought the former archbishop of Paris had been a “victim of hypocrisy and clericalism.”

“He also wanted to show his confidence by asking me to remain in the Roman Congregation for Bishops, of which, as you know, I am already a member, and where I come every two weeks,” Aupetit told the French webpage of the Vatican’s news office.

The Congregation for Bishops is the department of the Roman Curia responsible for identifying and selecting candidates for bishop, before presenting them to the pope for a final decision.

Aupetit submitted his resignation to Pope Francis in late November 2021 after the magazine Le Point published a report portraying the archbishop as a divisive and authoritarian figure.

The report also raised concerns about Aupetit’s contacts with a woman dating back to 2012, when he was vicar general of the Archdiocese of Paris. The 70-year-old archbishop has said he was not in a relationship with the woman.

Pope Francis accepted Aupetit’s resignation on Dec. 2, but later expressed doubt about the validity of the criticisms against the archbishop.

During an in-flight press conference on Dec. 6, 2021, the pope told journalists he had accepted Aupetit’s resignation because the archbishop had “lost his reputation so publicly.”

Aupetit told Vatican News on Feb. 4 that he and Pope Francis also spoke at length about the situation of the Catholic Church in France, and about the retired archbishop’s plans for charitable projects.

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