Vatican not to open canonical process against French cardinal because they see no evidence of abuse

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The Vatican says there is no indication of misconduct or abuse on the part of Cardinal Lacroix, who was accused of having sexually abused a 17-year-old girl in the 1980s. At that time, the cardinal was in his last year of seminary.

This is what the preliminary investigation entrusted in February by Pope Francis to André Denis, a retired Canadian judge, concluded. In a statement, the Vatican explains that, having found no concrete evidence, it will not open a canonical process against the cardinal. The Pope also authorized the judge to publish his reasons.

The accusation against Lacroix is part of a class action lawsuit brought by 147 victims against nearly a hundred members of the Diocese of Quebec.

When it was announced that Pope Francis had ordered an investigation, the lawyers for Lacroix's alleged victim claimed that the cardinal refused to cooperate with the investigation. His reason was that he preferred to go through civil proceedings as a canonical trial did not guarantee independence and credibility.

With the Vatican's ecclesiastical process now concluded, it remains for the Canadian judges to announce their decision, as the two processes are completely separate in juridical matters.

For his part, Cardinal Lacroix has from the beginning insisted on his innocence. He said, moreover, that he was committed to respecting the civil trial.

Archbishop of Quebec, Canada
I would like to reiterate that I categorically deny the allegations that have been made public. To my knowledge, I have never made any inappropriate gesture towards anyone, whether a minor or an adult. My soul and conscience are at peace with these accusations, which I refute. Although my heart and mind are at peace, I must also confess that I am deeply affected, like many of you, by the extent of the damage caused by these unfounded allegations. I am committed to respecting the judicial process of the ongoing class action.

Cardinal Lacroix is one of Pope Francis' closest collaborators. He is a member of the C9, the group of cardinals that advises the Pope on the governance of the Church. In fact, when the allegations came to light, he temporarily retired from his duties as archbishop of Quebec, although he has traveled to the Vatican to attend scheduled meetings of the Council of Cardinals.


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