THE ARCHBISHOP of Paris has resigned over what has been described as "ambiguous behaviour" with a woman.
Michel Aupetit offered his resignation to Pope Francis after details of a relationship he had in 2012 emerged in Le Point magazine earlier this month.
He said in a statement that he was offering to resign “to preserve the diocese from the division that suspicion and loss of trust are continuing to provoke.”
Aupetit detailed that he has a consensual, intimate relationship with a woman, but said he didn’t have sexual relations with the woman.
“I ask forgiveness of those I could have hurt and assure you all of my deep friendship and my prayers,” he said in a statement.
He said he was “greatly disturbed by the attacks against me.”
The Vatican said in a statement that the pope accepted Aupetit’s offer, and named Monsignor Georges Pontier to serve in the archbishop’s place.
At 70, Aupetit is five years shy of the normal retirement age for bishops.
His resignation follows on from the publication in October of a major investigation which found that French clerics sexually abused more than 200,000 children over the past 70 years.
The pope has refused to accept resignations from other prelates caught up in scenarios that many would see as more scandalous.
In recent times, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the archbishop of Munich and Freising, offered to resign over the Catholic Church’s mishandling of clergy sexual abuse cases, but the Pope refused to accept it.