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Archbishop Aupetit prepares to sue French magazine for defamation

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff

Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris celebrates the annual chrism Mass at historic St. Sulpice Church April 17, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Paris, France, Dec 16, 2021 / 06:35 am (CNA).

Archbishop Michel Aupetit said this week that he is preparing to sue a French magazine for defamation.

In an interview with the newspaper Le Parisien published on Dec. 13, the archbishop said that his lawyer was preparing to take action against Paris Match after it published images of the archbishop taken with a telephoto lens.

The former archbishop of Paris also suggested in the interview that he was the victim of a “cabal,” but said he couldn’t provide proof.

The Paris Match report, headlined “Mgr. Aupetit, lost for love” and published Dec. 8, showed Aupetit walking through a forest near Paris with the Belgian theologian Laetitia Calmeyn.

The 70-year-old archbishop said that he had lunch with the 46-year-old consecrated virgin at a small bistro, followed by a walk in Meudon forest in France’s Hauts-de-Seine department.

“If you can no longer eat with a friend without a paparazzo taking pictures of you, what kind of world do we live in?” the archbishop asked.

Calmeyn told the French Catholic daily La Croix that she was also considering legal action.

Aupetit served as archbishop of Paris from 2018 to Dec. 2, when Pope Francis accepted his resignation.

He asked the pope to decide his future after the magazine Le Point published a report portraying the archbishop as a divisive and authoritarian figure.

The report raised concerns about Aupetit’s contacts with a woman dating back to 2012, when he was vicar general of the Archdiocese of Paris.

Aupetit, who had a late vocation to the priesthood after working as a doctor, told Le Point that he was not in a relationship with the woman.

He said: “My behavior towards her may have been ambiguous, thus suggesting the existence between us of an intimate relationship and sexual relations, which I strongly refute … I decided not to see her again and I informed her.”

Pope Francis indicated to journalists during an in-flight press conference on Dec. 6 that he had accepted Aupetit’s resignation because the archbishop had “lost his reputation so publicly.”

The pope said that the allegations against Aupetit concerned “small caresses and massages that he gave to the secretary.”

But the Vatican’s official transcript of the press conference omitted the word “secretary,” referring simply to “small caresses and massages that he did.”

Aupetit said: “There was no affair. Once, this person had a backache. I gave her a massage to alleviate her condition. I recall that I am a doctor.”

He added: “I believe that he [the pope] has mixed up the elements of the story. My poor secretary has nothing to do with this. I know her husband and family well. I baptized her grandchildren.”

Aupetit celebrated a farewell Mass in Paris on Dec. 10 in which he directly addressed the claim that he was “lost for love.”

“A journalist wrote ‘the archbishop of Paris lost himself for love,’” he said. “It’s true, it’s true. But she forgot the end of the sentence. The complete sentence is ‘the archbishop of Paris lost himself for love of Christ.’”

Asked by Le Parisien if he was the victim of a cabal, Aupetit replied “yes.”

“I have been pointed to people, to networks that have a grudge against me and that have acted. But I have no proof,” he said.

“I have prayed to God not to put bitterness in my heart and I have prayed for those who wish me ill.”


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10 Comments

  1. Aupetit said: “There was no affair. Once, this person had a backache. I gave her a massage to alleviate her condition. I recall that I am a doctor.”

    satan justifies immorality, not those who are of God – when one leaves to serve Christ, all this is left behind, this is just a new twist, “whoever puts his hand to the massage, is not worthy of Me’…such intimacy or familiarity the priest has surrendered and sacrificed to the Beloved…it is not fitting, appropriate, proper or integrated nor integral to being Christ the Chaste celibate – send the person to a doctor who can write a script or do what is necessary, but do not do the doctoring, for ‘you have given this up for Christ’…since when is the doctor a man-suese, especially alone with a patient??

  2. The entire event is another moment of pretend moral concern for Francis, the politician, to manipulate the invincibly gullible.

  3. Pope Francis-
    I wonder if St. Peter or Paul “lost their reputations so publically” also…
    My prayers and support for the Archbishop. It’s a shame that we live in an age when the “look or inference” matters so much. Whats happened to our faith in Christs’ redemptive power and our belief in one another?

    • Yes, it does, johannes. Cardinal Pell was much maligned by the media, especially by the Australian MSM, but he was eventually cleared by the court.

  4. It is a shame that a man who gave up his career as a Doctor to serve God is so maligned for something that in my view was innocent and definitely nothing that deserves his resigning but then from some comments I’ve read and heard said – there are Catholics sadly who while themselves not following the teachings of Holy Mother the Church take great delight in attacking someone with so very little evidence. Surely there is nothing wrong with a man of God spending time with a woman enjoying a meal and having a walk. Priests are human and just because he’s seen in the company of a woman does not mean any breaking of his vows has happened.

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