Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Only 51 years old: Auxiliary bishop resigns – cover-up or health?

The Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Strasbourg, Gilles Reithinger, has resigned. 

Pope Francis has accepted the 51-year-old's resignation, the Vatican press office announced on Wednesday without giving a reason. 

Reithinger was confronted with allegations of a cover-up. 

The Archdiocese of Strasbourg spoke of health reasons.

Archbishop Philippe Ballot, interim administrator in Strasbourg since May 2023, explained on Wednesday that Reithinger had already informed him of health problems at the time. 

"This situation did not allow him to fully exercise his episcopal office." 

Reithinger had therefore decided to offer his resignation to the Pope, the Apostolic Administrator said. Ballot asked that this be respected and that no enquiries be made to the clergyman.

Also superior of missionary community

Reithinger has also been the superior of the French missionary community "Missions Etrangeres de Paris" since 2017. His predecessor in this office, Georges Colomb (70), was accused of sexual assault in 2013. Reithinger is said not to have investigated these allegations.

Colomb denied the allegations against him. In June 2023, he offered Pope Francis his temporary retirement as Bishop of La Rochelle

Shortly afterwards, the Pope also appointed the Bishop of Lucon, Francois Jacolin (73), as interim administrator in La Rochelle.

At the end of May 2023, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Strasbourg Archbishop Luc Ravel

Ravel had already offered his resignation on 20 April following months of controversy over his leadership and a Vatican review in June 2022. 

The Pope appointed the Bishop of Metz, Archbishop Ballot, as interim administrator.