Bishop Michel Aupetit said goodbye to Parisians

The entrance procession is accompanied by heavy applause. In full Saint-Sulpice, the largest church in Paris after Notre-Dame, Bishop Michel Aupetit bids farewell to the diocese of which he had been the archbishop for four years for four years, this Friday, December 10, accompanied by a dozen bishops, more than 250 priests and many deacons, but in the absence of the apostolic nuncio in France.

“We came to give him our support”

Pope Francis had accepted his resignation on December 2, ten days after the publication, in Point, of an article questioning his governance, and revealing the existence of an email sent by mistake to his secretary in 2012, when he was vicar general of the diocese of Paris, suggesting the existence of a link with a woman.

→ READ. Resignation of Bishop Aupetit: the diocese of Paris in shock

It doesn’t surprise me that there are so many people, confides a priest. He was much loved by the faithful. “” We came to give him our support and to express our affection to him. Adds a deacon. Governance issues seem far from the concerns that evening, and criticism is aimed more at journalists, accused of relaying rumors, than the Archbishop’s record.

Mgr Georges Pontier, appointed apostolic administrator of the diocese, takes the floor to welcome the assembly, excusing Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, predecessor of Mgr Aupetit, who, tired, could not come as planned. Bishop Aupetit “ love this diocese “He has” served as archbishop during these four years, recalls Bishop Pontier. We are here to thank him and pray for him.

“Lost for love … for Christ”

I am very moved to see you here, begins Mgr Aupetit, greeting the assembly. The unique task of a bishop is unity. The important thing is not to be different, but to be united by Christ. that’s why I’m leaving you today on thanksgiving “.

In his homily, the Archbishop of Paris speaks of the love of Christ, who “ makes you free, but makes you take risks “:” risk of going to eat with sinners, with Zacchaeus, with Matthew and his gang “,” risk of having their feet washed in a woman of bad life in a notable “…” Jesus took the risk of talking to a woman one on one. Why ? To save her and her people “, adds Bishop Aupetit who, the day before, was the subject of an article in Paris Match. Illustrated with photos taken with a telephoto lens, showing him at the exit of a restaurant and during a walk in the forest with a friend, the article suggested that it is about an affair.

→ READ. Resignation of Bishop Aupetit: Paris, a diocese in interim

A journalist wrote “the archbishop of Paris was lost for love”, he continues brazenly, without evading the subject. It’s true ! It’s true, but she forgot the end of the sentence… the full sentence is “the Archbishop of Paris lost himself out of love for Christ” “, he asserts, again triggering applause.

“I hope that it is with the poorest that my mission will continue”

As the mass draws to a close, Bishop Aupetit takes the floor again. “ Thank you for coming in such numbers. I have received hundreds and hundreds of letters expressing their support and especially their affection. I’m not sure I can answer all of them ”, he apologizes, before greeting “ the people I particularly loved, the vulnerable, the poorest. “” I hope it is with them that my mission will continue », He concludes.

The exit procession stretches as the Archbishop of Paris greets those who crowd around him, to the sacristy, which he takes more than twenty minutes to regain. “ He said he would continue to take care of the poor, I hope it will be in Paris, even if he is no longer in the archdiocese », Wants to believe a young man, while a woman asks Mgr Aupetit to dedicate his book to him. Humanae Vitae, a prophecy. Tatiana, parishioner of Notre-Dame-de-Clignancourt, in the 18th arrondissement, wishes to give him back “ a very warm tribute. “” It was he who made my decisive call, as a catechumen », She explains.

→ DEBATE. What does the media treatment of the Aupetit case reveal?

Father Jérémie Bono, vicar at Saint-Joseph-des-Nations, comes out of this celebration comforted. Of course, he felt the resignation of Bishop Aupetit, so quickly accepted by the Pope, who “ didn’t seem very aware “. ” He was let go by everyone. There were some malcontents, it is inevitable, but today we see that the great majority of the ordinary faithful love him, he retains. It marks me more than if it had remained in place. “


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