French archbishop resigns after parishioners’ protests


Strasbourg Archbishop Luc Ravel.

  • The archbishop in an eastern French city has resigned after complaints about his management led to the Vatican opening an investigation.
  • The results of the investigation have not yet been released.
  • The archbishop was especially resented for removing women and laypeople from different councils in his diocese.

The archbishop of eastern French city Strasbourg said on Thursday he had resigned, after complaints about his management led to the Vatican opening an investigation.

“Since peace is the highest good… I have presented my resignation to the Holy Father, for whom I pray every day,” Archbishop Luc Ravel said in a statement sent to AFP, referring to Pope Francis.

The Vatican in June ordered an inspection of the Strasbourg diocese, the results of which have not yet been released.

But Catholics in the region told AFP earlier this month that Ravel’s top-down style had alienated many parishioners and other Church officials.

“Monseigneur Ravel decides everything all by himself,” said Jean-Paul Blatz, the leader of the Jonas d’Alsace group that has organised protests against the archbishop.

He sees the bishop as a general who gives orders to his priests, who in turn give orders to the laypeople. It’s a very pyramidal view of the Church, but things don’t work like that any more.

Ravel was especially resented for removing women and laypeople from different councils in his diocese as well as installing traditionalist priests with opinions counter to their congregations, Marcel Metzger, a theologian and professor at the University of Strasbourg, told AFP.

Strasbourg is unusual in the Catholic Church, as under a treaty known as the Concordat dating back to Napoleon I, the French government officially appoints an archbishop chosen by the Vatican.

The French church is reeling from a string of sexual abuse scandals, as well as the findings of a 2021 inquiry that suggested 216 000 minors had been abused by clergy since the 1950s.

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