Emeritus Archbishop Aupetit says Pope Francis expressed confidence in him by keeping him in this important Vatican office.
Two months after his resignation, the former archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit, was received by Pope Francis on February 3, 2022. In an interview with Vatican News the next day, he confided that the Pope had shown his “confidence” in him by asking him to remain a member of the Congregation for Bishops.
“Pope Francis renewed his support for me after my resignation,” Archbishop Aupetit told the Holy See’s official media outlet. The 70-year-old submitted his resignation to the Pontiff on November 26, following publications questioning his governance and mentioning an affair with a woman in 2012. The Pope accepted it on December 2, but later expressed doubts about the validity of the allegations.
“He repeated that he considered me a victim of hypocrisy and clericalism,” the archbishop said.
On the plane back from Greece, Pope Francis spoke against the “gossip” about Archbishop Aupetit’s private life, which had undermined his authority. He said he was forced to sacrifice the Archbishop of Paris “not on the altar of truth, but on the altar of hypocrisy.”
According to Archbishop Aupetit, during his “warm” exchange with the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church wanted to show “his confidence,” and asked him to remain a part of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, a mission that requires him to come to Rome every two weeks.
This strategic office, composed of 25 members, is responsible for considering the appointment of bishops throughout the world and making recommendations.
“We spoke at length about the situation of the Church in France, which worries the Pope, and that of the Diocese of Paris,” said the former Archbishop of Paris.
Other topics discussed during the meeting included Archbishop Aupetit’s plans to support initiatives such as young professionals living with street people in organizations like Lazare and the Association for Friendship.
The archbishop said he is also involved with the “Maison de François,” near Toulouse, where families live with vulnerable people; and with Misericordia, which works with children in the cities. These missions “touch the Pope very much,” said Bishop Aupetit.
Since his resignation, Archbishop Georges Pontier, archbishop emeritus of Marseille, has assumed the role of apostolic administrator of the Parish Archdiocese until Pope Francis appoints a new archbishop.