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The Archbishop of Strasbourg resigns, after a Vatican inspection of his governance


Expected, the departure of Mgr Luc Ravel must be endorsed by the Pope and by the President of the Republic.

The Archbishop of Strasbourg, Mgr Luc Ravel announced on Thursday that he had presented his resignation to Pope Francis.

Aged 66, a polytechnician by training, religious of the congregation of regular canons of Saint-Victor, member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, Bishop Ravel was appointed to Strasbourg on February 18, 2017 after having been Bishop of the Armed Forces since 2009. "

Peace being the supreme good (...), I presented my resignation to the Holy Father, for whom I pray every day

", writes Bishop Ravel in a press release sent to Agence France-Presse.

I have always acted as closely as possible to the law and to my conscience.

Luc Ravel, resigning Archbishop of Strasbourg

The main reason for this departure is not linked to a scandal but to recurring difficulties of governance, highlighted by a recent canonical investigation carried out by two external bishops, at the request of Rome.

These problems had ended up creating a strong tension between the archbishop and a majority of priests and high officials of the diocese.

Until reaching a stage of crisis such that the situation had not been tenable for months.

Bishop Ravel, who had stood out in the fight against abuse, wrote in his press release: "

I have always acted as closely as possible to the law and to my conscience, having consulted a lot at each decision, to take difficult measures , but which I would later have been criticized for not having taken, given the information in my possession.

The penal implications of a certain number of cases fall within the jurisdiction of the judicial institution.

For the rest, the pontifical secret, which we have to respect, rests with the Apostolic Nuncio


He adds: "

This concern for peace is combined in my heart with the concern for truth and justice that I have always sought with regard to priests, the faithful and in particular victims who I will never forget. Never.

I believe I have acted to resolve the problems in the desire for transparency and respect for confidentiality


Too “authoritative”

Expected, this announcement is not a surprise.

It is not symbolic of the current fragile situation of the Church of France but of a symbiosis which did not occur between an episcopal personality and a diocese.

He is accused from multiple sources, including moderate ones, of having been too "


" in a diocese reputed to be difficult to lead because of its legal specificity where the prefect, for example, formally appoints the parish priests, paid by the State. , on the recommendation of the bishop.

Read alsoThe Archbishop of Strasbourg dismisses a second member of his episcopal council

The composition status of this diocese also gives a strong particularity to the resignation procedure.

This bishop, like that of Metz in Moselle, is legally appointed by the President of the Republic, in agreement with the Pope.

The resignation should therefore follow a parallel course: the archbishop hands over to the Roman pontiff his pastoral charge of the diocese - as a canonical ecclesial mission.

The latter confirms it but without announcing it publicly except to the French authorities.

This would allow the President of the Republic to accept the resignation of the responsibility of Bishop Ravel - as Archbishop of Strasbourg - where he appointed him administratively with the approval of the Pope.

The acceptance of the resignation could be announced, at the same time, by decree in the Official Journal and by formal notice in the Osservatore Romano.

A "diocesan administrator" soon to be appointed

According to several sources, this adjustment which actually follows the reverse procedure of the nomination, would have been found to avoid delay between the republican procedure and the canonical procedure and not to create embarrassment between Paris and Rome.

This relatively unprecedented administrative procedure – Bishop Dorée had resigned for health reasons in 2006, a different case – should take some time.

Without waiting for the name of the successor, a "

diocesan administrator

" responsible for managing current affairs should be quickly appointed.

Several names circulate: Mgr Jean-Christophe Lagleize, former archbishop of Metz, Mgr Bernard-Nicolas Aubertin, former archbishop of Tours, and Mgr Stanislas Lalanne, bishop of Pontoise.

Without waiting for the name of the successor, a "

diocesan administrator

 " responsible for managing current affairs should be quickly appointed.

But, there too, the specificity of the concordat law wants that even the diocesan administrator will have to be formally elected by the chapter of the cathedral of Strasbourg, about ten canons, on the proposal of a candidate whom they would consider suitable for the function or that Rome would have foreseen.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-04-21

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