All he had to do was wait five days. And then, after returning from what ended up being an extremely important Dec. 2-6 visit to Cyprus and Greece, he could have easily made the official announcement.
Instead, Pope Francis shocked almost everyone when he decided to relieve Michel Aupetit of his duties as archbishop of Paris on the very day the papal trip began. It fell like a bombshell.
And because it dominated headlines throughout Europe and the world, it nearly torpedoed one of the pope’s main objectives for making the trip to the two Mediterranean countries — to prod leaders of the Old Continent into finally addressing their deplorable refusal (or inability) to forge a coherent and compassionate policy on immigration.
But worse than stepping on his own message before he even stepped off the plane in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia, the pope ensured that he would have to publicly explain — during the customary press conference at the end of the trip — his reasons for accepting the 70-year-old archbishop’s resignation five years before the ordinary retirement age.
Aupetit had returned “his office” to the pope’s hands just 10 days earlier after the French magazine Le Point reported that he had had a consensual relationship with an adult woman in 2012, a year before he was named an auxiliary bishop of Paris.
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