The Diocese of Créteil in France confirmed last week that its former bishop had been credibly accused of sexual abuse and ordered to live a life of “prayer and penance” by the Vatican last year.
Bishop Michel Santier retired in January 2021 at the age of 73, two years before the age at which bishops are required to submit a letter of resignation to the pope.
Seven months prior, in June 2020, Santier had told Catholics in his diocese he would be retiring early for “health reasons,” according to a report by La Croix.
But the real reason for the early retirement — confirmed by Créteil’s new bishop, Dominque Blanchet, in a press release Oct. 14 — was that Santier was credibly accused in late 2019 of committing sexual abuse as a priest more than 20 years prior.
Blanchet’s press release, read also at Masses in the diocese over the weekend, was published after the French Catholic magazine Famille Chrétienne reported on the disciplinary measures against Santier on Oct. 14.
Famille Chrétienne reported that Santier was ordered to lead a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican in October 2021, 22 months after he was credibly accused, in December 2019, of committing sexual abuse against two adult men in the 1990s.