Last week, French Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard admitted in a public letter that he had abused a 14-year-old girl 35 years ago.

Now, the Vatican confirmed they have opened an investigation into Ricard.

Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said November 11:

“As a result of the elements that have emerged in the last few days and the statement made by the cardinal, in order to complete the examination of what happened, it has been decided to initiate an ‘investigatio praevia.'”

Bruni said the person “best suited” to conduct the investigation “with the necessary autonomy, impartiality and experience is now being evaluated, also in view of the fact that the French judicial authorities have an open file on the case.”

He also explained the Vatican customarily waits for civil authorities to close their case before beginning any canonical proceedings.

In late October, the Marseille public prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into Ricard.

In his letter, Ricard said his behavior “caused serious and lasting consequences for this person” and that he asked for forgiveness from her and her family.

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