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French Bishops: mgr. Éric de Moulins-Beaufort is the new president

Fifty-seven years old, born in Paris, the current Archbishop of Reims, a theologian. This is the portrait of mgr. Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, the new president of the French Bishops’ Conference, who was elected yesterday on the first count by the French Bishops, gathered in Lourdes for their plenary assembly. Along with mgr. de Moulins-Beaufort, the two deputy presidents, mgr. Olivier Leborgne, Bishop of Amiens, and mgr. Dominique Blanchet, Bishop of Belfort Montbéliard, have been appointed as well. All three will take office on 1st July, for 3 years. In France, expectations were high about the name of the person who would lead the Catholic Church at a time that is particularly difficult because of the revelations about sex abuse by clergy. The Bishops opted for a young but strong figure. Born in Paris, ordained in 1991, for three years he had been private secretary to cardinal André Vingt-Trois, then auxiliary bishop and vicar general (from 2008 to 2018), and he was elected Archbishop of Reims on 18th August last year. Mgr. Éric de Moulins-Beaufort is also a widely respected theologian and lecturer: he taught at the Faculty of Notre-Dame and at the Seminary of Paris, so well that he was chosen by the French Bishops as president of the Doctrine Commission. In 2016, cardinal Vingt-Trois entrusted him with the “Tony Anatrella” case. And one of his articles on the “Nouvelle revue théologique” reads like this: “The leaders of all institutions must now speak up and act so that the future generations may learn the truth”. “In writing this, never forget our meetings and our talks with the people who have been abused by clergy or with their families. What these people had to go through to keep on living raises to God as a cry against those who didn’t know anything or didn’t want to see anything”. A profile written about him on the newspaper La Croix this morning mentions what the Archbishop wrote to the diocese, following the cases of paedophilia and abuse that made the headlines. Mgr. de Moulins-Beaufort acknowledges “the revulsion and dejection” that can be aroused by the revelation of “committed and hidden” evil. But he adds: “God does not forsake His Church, quite the opposite: He works to purge it, including the evil that was in it and that it stubbornly persisted in not seeing”. And, about the fight against clericalism: “Christ, not a priest, is our guide”.

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