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Health concerns prompted early resignation, French bishop explains

April 25, 2013

As the Vatican announced the early resignation of a French archbishop, the prelate reminded his flock of health problems that have troubled him for several years.

On April 25 the Vatican announced that the Pope had accepted the resignation of Archbishop André Lacrampe of Besancon under the provisions of #401-2 of the Code of Canon Law. That canon provides for the resignation of a bishop who has proven unfit to continue his ministry "because of illness or some other grave reason." The canon has sometimes been cited to explain the abrupt resignations of bishops accused of personal misconduct.

In the case of Archbishop Lacrampe, however, the resignation was clearly a result of health problems. The French prelate-- who at the age of 71 is still 4 years short of the ordinary retirement age-- recalled that in 2006 he had been forced to suspend all activities for two months because of illness, and at that time he withdrew from a leadership post in the French bishops' conference. A new setback, and a doctor's orders to curtail his work, prompted him to ask the Pope to accept his resignation, he disclosed. Archbishop Lacrampe did not specify the nature of his illness.


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