Resignation in midair

And suddenly the phones started to vibrate. By turning the cellphones back on when the plane’s wheels had barely touched the tarmac at Larnaca, the airport in Cyprus, those on the papal flight saw that something had happened. The answer came quickly: while the Pope, his retinue and 77 journalists from around the world flew between Rome and Cyprus, in view of the 35e apostolic journey of Francis, the Archbishop of Paris, Mgr Michel Aupetit, had resigned.

It is an understatement to say that the news surprised. No one, neither in Rome nor in Paris, and even less in Cyprus, expected Francis to accept the resignation of the Archbishop of Paris so quickly, who had “handed over his office” to the Pope less than 10 days earlier. . The Pope, who usually takes his time to take heavy decisions, obviously proceeded differently, relying on the elements which had reached him for several months on the governance problems of the Archbishop of Paris, revealed by the recent resignation of two Parisian vicars general.

In Rome, the decision was announced by the bollettino, somewhat the equivalent of the Official newspaper, published daily at noon. A time when Pope Francis began to greet journalists on the plane. Naturally without saying a word about what had just been published by the Vatican a few minutes earlier. And nourishing the feeling, two hours later on landing, of a gap stronger than ever between the journey which was just beginning and the news of the resignation, coming from Rome, towards which all eyes were already turned.


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