By Anne Kurian-Montabone

On October 22, 2020, Pope Francis appointed Monsignor Olivier de Germay Archbishop of Lyon, confirmed the Holy See, following the announcement of the Conference of Bishops of France (CEF). He succeeds Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who resigned last March 6.

Since 2012, Monsignor de Germay has been Bishop of Ajaccio, . “I received a call from the Nuncio the day of my 60th birthday! namely, September 18. I then met with him in Paris, where he announced to me that the Pope had appointed me Archbishop of Lyon,” he said in a press release.

Monsignor Michel Dubost will continue to be Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese until Monsignor de Germay’s installation, which will take place on Sunday, December 20, in Saint John the Baptist Cathedral.

“I have everything to discover of that beautiful diocese, of which I already feel the human and spiritual richness,” added the new Archbishop of Lyon. “I count on the faithful of this diocese to help me discover it. I also count on their prayers!”

Ordained priest on May 17, 1998 for the Archdiocese of Toulouse, Monsignor de Germay was Vicar and then parish priest of Castanet (1999-2006); Diocesan Chaplain of the Guides of France (1999-2001); Dean of the “Banlieues-Sud” area of Toulouse (2003-2006); Episcopal Vicar  (2004-2012); Parish priest of Beauzelle (2006-2012); Professor of Sacramental Theology and of the Family at the Catholic Institute of Toulouse (2008-2012); and Dean of Blagnac (2009-2012).

Within the CEF, Monsignor Olivier de Germay is a member of the Commission for Catechesis and the Catechumenate as well as the Church working group and Bioethics.

“I will not leave Corsica without a real heartbreak!” he said in a message addressed to Corsicans. “I have received and learned a lot in the course of these eight years spent on the Isle of Beauty. Corsican culture is steeped in Christianity and secularism is lived here without tension. I thank the Corsicans for their warm welcome, for their prayers, which have carried me, and for their patience with me!”

Monsignor de Germay’s Predecessor, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, withdrew from the office of the government at the end of his trial — where he was acquitted — for non-denunciation of the sexual abuse of minors. The Primate of the Gauls, appointed Archbishop of Lyons in 2002, was questioned since 2016 for “non-denunciation” of the sexual aggressions of Father Bernard Preynat, a priest of his diocese, who abused some 70 minors in the context of scouting in the 70s and 80s (at the time of Cardinal Albert Decourtray, whose immediate Successors were the Archbishops Jean Balland and Louis-Marie Bille). On March 7, 2019, the Cardinal was found guilty “of non-denunciation of ill treatment of a minor between 2014 and 2015: and given six months suspended prison sentence. He appealed the sentence, as well as to the Lyon Public Prosecutor, who obtained the release. In virtue of the presumption of innocence, Pope Francis did not accept the Cardinal’s resignation during the time of the trial.

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