The comment raised eyebrows, since it implied that Francis was willing to act on mere gossip. It also suggested that Francis blamed some in the French clergy for exposing Aupetit’s sins while hiding their own.
Moulins-Beaufort said Francis paid tribute to Aupetit’s pastoral efforts and “just told of his sadness from the situation and from the decision he had to make.”
Aupetit has lashed out at the French media coverage of his downfall, which in the past week has included an unsubstantiated allegation in the Paris Match tabloid of another inappropriate relationship with a consecrated virgin. During his farewell Mass last week, Aupetit recalled that one headline had said he had “lost himself because of love.”
“It’s true, it’s true,” he said to applause from the pews. “The archbishop of Paris lost himself because of love … for Christ.”
Sylvie Corbet in Paris contributed.
This article originally appeared here.