More in re: Trial of French Cardinal to Spotlight Church’s Handling of Sex-Abuse Cases – WSJ

Continuing an important development, which is more than Gallicanism revisited, of course.

Rather, it’s another case of civil authorities picking up the clerical-abuse ball dropped by Catholic bishops and cardinals.

Next week’s proceedings will bring up the Vatican’s role in the case by calling into question communications about the issue in 2015 between Cardinal Barbarin [the accused] and Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, the cardinal who heads the Vatican office that disciplines clerical sex abusers.

The trial in a criminal court in Lyon, which starts on Monday, comes as the Catholic Church is under fire over its handling of prelates embroiled in abuse scandals. Victims have blasted the church for failing to punish bishops who have covered up for abusive priests.

Dozens of victims?

The French case relates to Rev. Bernard Preynat, whom prosecutors suspect of sexually abusing several dozen children in the 1970s through the early ’90s at church camps around Lyon, years before Cardinal Barbarin became archbishop.

In 1990, the parents of Francois Devaux, a teenager who attended church camp, wrote to Cardinal Albert Decourtray, then archbishop of Lyon, saying Father Preynat had assaulted their son.

The too familiar transfer:

Archbishop Decourtray suspended Father Preynat for several months and then transferred him to a new parish in a small town 40 miles away from the Lyon suburb. In the Lyon suburb, he had served as a priest for years and headed a boy-scout group. Archbishop Decourtray died in 1994. (emphasis added)

Another accusation, to new cardinal. Letter to Rome. Nothing to police.

In 2014, a man came forward to tell Cardinal Barbarin that Father Preynat had sexually abused him. That prompted Cardinal Barbarin to write to the Vatican to report the problem, Mr. Luciani said, and he removed the priest from parish work. The cardinal didn’t report the allegations to police.

Roman cardinal: Avoid scandal.

In 2015, Cardinal Ladaria, who now heads the Vatican office that disciplines clerical sex abusers and was at that time the office’s No. 2 official, instructed Cardinal Barbarin to take “adequate measures” against Father Preynat “while [predictably] avoiding a public scandal,” the cardinals’ lawyers and a plaintiff involved in the case said.

French cardinal investigated, then isn’t, we don’t know why.

Lyon prosecutors also opened a probe targeting Cardinal Barbarin for allegedly covering up abuse, but dismissed the case in August 2016, the judicial official said. Details of the probe, including the reasons for its dismissal, haven’t been made public.

Then he is again.

However, last year, people who accuse Father Preynat of abuse used a special provision under French law to force the cardinal to stand trial.

Pope Francis objects. Predictably.

In an interview with French newspaper La Croix in May 2016, Pope Francis defended Cardinal Barbarin, saying it would be “nonsensical, imprudent” for the cardinal to resign before civil-court proceedings conclude. . . .

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