When we mention the name of Monsignor Jean-Pierre Ricard who was Archbishop of Bordeaux from 2001 to 2019, the faces are serious and the eyes are shifty, on the forecourt of the Saint-André de Bordeaux cathedral. Where he presided over emblematic masses during his term, those of the faithful who agree to react to the confessions of the cardinal during the conference of bishops of France, are few. The 78-year-old clergyman admitted on November 7 to having had “reprehensible behavior” towards a 14-year-old teenager, thirty-five years ago in Marseille.
“The institution is not up to the task”
For Pierre, who sings every Sunday in the choir of the Bordeaux cathedral, this confession “curiously happens when the facts are prescribed” and he is of the opinion, as certain figures of the Church have suggested, to withdraw his title of cardinal to take a strong symbolic measure vis-à-vis the victims. On this point, Marc, another parishioner who came to attend the service this Sunday, recalls that this decision is the sole authority of the pope.
“It’s a big problem in the Church, the institution comes first and does not do enough for the victims,” continues Pierre. When the institution manages it is not up to it, so it is up to the courts to take care of it. An investigation has been opened by the public prosecutor of Marseille in this case but no complaint has been filed for the moment. If Pierre continues to invest himself in his parish, he says that his wife is upset by these affairs and that she has taken some distance from the Institution, even if her faith is intact.
Marc was also marked by the revelations of the cardinal: “I am flabbergasted, it is deeply shocking and I hope that the Church will clean up, he reacts. It’s true that we’re a little tired of these multiple affairs, but I know the history of the Church well and there have already been very difficult periods that have been overcome. » A hurried parishioner simply says « we are at a turning point, fortunately things are moving » before rushing into the religious building.
Before the beginning of the office, the parish priest read a letter from Archbishop Jean-Paul James addressed to all the Catholics of the diocese of Bordeaux. The benches are sparse and the atmosphere very heavy when reading the document, the words of which resonate in the great nave. “Both of them express their anger, their disappointments, their weariness,” he says. Some speak of betrayal, of a trust that cannot be restored. These reactions are so legitimate when we think, when we carry in our hearts, the terrible ordeal experienced by the victims. Yes, the ordeal is great, very great for you and me. I want to repeat to you the determination of the bishops and therefore mine to shed light on these dark affairs. »
After issuing a press releasethe diocese of Bordeaux did not wish to answer the questions of 20 minutes.
An author, whose book had been prefaced by Monsignor Ricard, angry
It was to be a guarantee of wisdom for his first novel “Arthur, the little prince of Armenia”, published on September 19 by Sigest, an independent publisher, but this taints its release. Antoine Bordier, the author, had asked Monsignor Jean-Pierre Ricard to preface his work “without the shadow of a doubt vis-à-vis him”, he confided to 20 minutes.
“He asked me for forgiveness but I asked him to make a press release to restore the notoriety of my book which was undermined, knowing that I was in the middle of a promotional campaign”, regrets Antoine Bordier. He feels betrayed by the clergyman who “has lied to everyone”. The preface by Monseigneur Ricard will be replaced by a text by Véronique Lévy in the next edition, the date of which is not yet known.