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French Catholic cardinal admits he abused a 14-year-old girl

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 11/9/2022 Heather Hamilton

A member of the Vatican’s department that sanctions abuse cases in the Catholic Church has admitted to abusing a 14-year-old girl sexually more than three decades ago.

Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard stated in a letter that it was time for him to come forward about the situation that took place while he was a parish priest in France.

“Thirty-five years ago, when I was a parish priest I behaved reprehensibly with a young 14-year-old girl,” Ricard wrote, per Religion News Service. “My behavior has necessarily caused serious and lasting consequences for this person.”

Archbishop of Bordeaux, France, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Bernard Ricard is seen blessing his titular church - Sant' Agostino - during a ceremony to officially take possession of his church, in Rome, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006. Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard said on Monday Nov.7, 2022 that he had abused a 14-year-old girl thirty-five years ago and is withdrawing from his functions. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File) © Provided by Washington Examiner Archbishop of Bordeaux, France, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Bernard Ricard is seen blessing his titular church - Sant' Agostino - during a ceremony to officially take possession of his church, in Rome, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006. Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard said on Monday Nov.7, 2022 that he had abused a 14-year-old girl thirty-five years ago and is withdrawing from his functions. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)

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“I have decided not to remain silent about my situation and to place myself at the disposal of justice, both on the level of society and on that of the Church,” the cardinal added in his letter that was read by the president of the French Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, at a press conference Monday.

The French cardinal apologized to the girl, her family, and others who were affected by the news. He noted he would be “taking a time to retire and pray.”

Ricard oversaw the Archdiocese of Bordeaux between 2001 and 2019 while heading the French Bishops’ Conference from 2001 to 2007.

Beaufort said Ricard’s letter came as “a shock.”

Over the weekend, Pope Francis affirmed his commitment to bringing past abuse to light.

“We should not be surprised that cases like this come to light,” Francis said. “It is a process that we are undertaking, and we are carrying it out with courage, and not everyone has courage; sometimes there is the temptation to compromise, and we are also all slaves to our sins, but the will of the church is to clarify everything.”

In September, Francis told CNN the church had “zero tolerance” for abuse and that “a priest cannot remain a priest if he is an abuser.”

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Child abuse allegations have riddled the Catholic Church in recent years. A 2021 report estimated that 330,000 children in France alone were sexually abused by priests over the past 70 years.

 

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Tags: Catholic Church, Sexual Assault, Child Abuse, Sexual Assault, News

Original Author: Heather Hamilton

Original Location: French Catholic cardinal admits he abused a 14-year-old girl

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