Errors admitted as French cardinal brings in new anti-abuse measures

A French cardinal being investigated for his handling of allegations of clerical sexual abuse has admitted mistakes and introduced new anti-abuse measures.

Following a three-hour meeting with 220 priests, during which testimony from at least one abuse survivor was heard, Lyon archdiocese issued a statement on behalf of Cardinal Philip Barbarin.

“The cardinal has accepted the archdiocese committed errors in managing and nominating certain priests and has reiterated how important it is for victims of sexual abuse by clergy to see their right to truth and justice recognised,” the statement said.

According to the statement the assembled clergy had “unanimously determined to reinforce the struggle against paedophilia in the Church” by strengthening clerical formation and “establishing new criteria” for future appointments, as well as a “college of experts” to meet twice monthly to analyse the cases of accused priests.

Prosecutors began investigations after claims the cardinal failed to discipline a local priest, Fr Bernard Preynat, who was charged this January with “sexual aggression and rape of minors” while running a Catholic Scout group at Lyon’s Saint-Luc parish between 1986 and 1991. Cardinal Barbarin initially said he first heard of Father Preynat’s alleged offenses in 2014 but has since said he heard of them six years earlier. 


Priests charged for kidnapping bishop

Three priests are among 14 people Indian police have arrested for the kidnapping and beating of a Catholic bishop.

Bishop Prasad Gallela of Cuddapah in southern India was attacked while traveling home after celebrating Mass at Karunagiri Shrine on April 25. “They hit me and punched me, resulting in injuries all over my body. I did not resist,” he said in an interview. 

They kept asking him about the financial transactions of the diocese, he said, and demanded five million rupees (€65,400), saying as he helped many others he should help them too. He was released early the following day about 88 km from his diocese.

The principal suspect is Fr Raja Reddy, hitherto considered a friend of the bishop, but believed to be upset at having recently been denied a new position in the diocese.