Pierre Vignon, the priest who speaks to Cardinal Barbarin



He left the rank. Pierre Vignon, priest of the diocese of Valencia and canon army (the internal court of the church), breaks the silence in a destructive petition online Tuesday. With a biting tone, he asks Cardinal Barbarin to resign after many "Errors" in the management of cases of sexual abuse. "To take your resignation as cardinal and archbishop would of course be a social death, but what personal assumption in return? You would finally be at the height of the event", he dares. Before he invited his fellow brothers and "All members of the Church are aware of the importance of the damage inflicted on victims of abuse" sign. A coup de tabac in the diocese of Lyon, shocked by several pedophile scandals since 2016.

Piracy. Archbishop and Cardinal Philippe Barbarin are summoned by victims for non-termination in the case of Father Preynat, accused of having attacked at least 70 Scouts of Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon (Lyon Metropolis). He must be summoned to appear in Lyon's Correctional Court on an indefinite date. As revealed by Mediapart Barbarin is accused of having treated predatory priests in all five cases and has been negligent in the management of three other cases. For Father Vignon, "We have to end the culture of coverage". To end with inertia. His reaction comes in a context characterized by pedophilia scandals in the United States and Chile, "Monstrous" According to him.

Inspired by the last letter from Pope Francis calling on the faithful to mobilize against sexual aggression, the pastor decides to take the pen. Stop to attract the wrath of the church. Addressing the primacy of Gaul, "Not to be considered [son] accomplice " he asks Philippe Barbarin "Public and easy to give [sa] resignation of Cardinal and Archbishop of Lyon in the shortest possible time ". An ultimatum launched when you enter piracy. It takes courage in an institution where the leader is considered infallible.

Sixty, a gray beard and the benevolent eye behind strict glasses, Pierre Vignon is one of those who do not bow. "I have to be unconscious or reckless, but I feel like I've done my homework," he explains it release the day after the publication of his petition. This spirit of resistance, he says to hold his family from the Vercors: "My father received the Legion of Honor under the resistance and an uncle priest received Jean Moulin in 1943." He is careful not to anticipate the justice of people: "Even if it is erased, the cardinal will be blocked to the end by these stories, while it was enough to take a step towards the victims", regrets there.

For twenty-five years, Pierre Vignon has mainly worked with sexually abused people, at the interdiocesian official level, a cemetery: "In my department I receive complaints from victims, I have read expert reports about predatory priests and I have learned these problems." "Revolted by injustice", he expects strong deeds. Admittedly, he acknowledges a number of recent efforts by the Catholic Church, which he believes are minimal. On their side, the associations of victims, such as the liberated Word or the Help to the victims of religious movements in Europe and their families (Avref), await the opening of the archives, the compensation of the victims or the establishment of a special court in the Vatican.

This speech is not unprecedented. Two years ago Father Patrick Royannais denounced the bankruptcy of the system and the "Pose" of the cardinal in a letter called "The deposition of the Archbishop of Lyon". "But this is the first time we have a petition with a man from the church sharing the same inflexibility, we had some support that remained unofficial, this is the first time we hear such strong words in public, underlined with release François Devaux, the president of the liberated Word, the association that helps Scouts victims of Father Preynat.

Tsunami. In just twenty-four hours, the petition of the Avref and the liberated Word collected more than 8,000 signatures. The clergyman has some support from fellow priests, but "It is the flat rest" on the side of his other confreres. Christian Delorme, a column of the Diocese of Lyon, chose to defend Cardinal Barbarin at France Info. "If we follow the logic of the Abbot Vignon, it would be necessary for the pope to resign", he complained. Unfortunately, Pierre Vignon will not disarm. His answer merges: "It is said that Cardinal Barbarin is crucified, but it is Christ who has been crucified, it must not be confused."

For his part, the diocese of Lyon responded by the voice of Mgr Emmanuel Gobilliard. The Auxiliary Bishop of Lyon expects justice to decide and remembers that the cardinal presented his resignation to the Pope in 2016. Refused by the pope. "The spokesperson of the diocese of Lyons did not understand the letter of the pope, deplores Pierre Vignon. We do not do everything to fight against sexual abuse. It is time to enter a culture of vigilance and make life in the church impossible for predators. " Caught in a tsunami of the media, the dissident priest holds a cool head: "If the petition had such an echo, it was because it was expected." What to leave him "In great peace".

Daphne Gastaldi


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