Bishop plays cat and mouse with Francis

For almost a year, the fate of Strasbourg Archbishop Luc Ravel, France, has been in limbo, writes (April 5).

• Ravel has been absent from public events since a June 2022 apostolic visitation, the apparently damning conclusions of which were never published.

• The visitation focused on Ravel's management and exercise of episcopal authority.

• In late 2022, Ravel was told in Rome that Francis wanted to remove him.

• Ravel refused, as Strasbourg is under an 1801 concordat; he even played President Macron against Francis.

• An angry Francis gave Ravel an ultimatum to resign by the end of February 2023.

• Ravel waited until the last day and then submitted an ambiguous and unusable letter.

• So, Rome came up with a trick: Ravel would remain archbishop on paper, but auxiliary bishop Kratz would take over as an apostolic administrator.

• But Ravel thwarted these plans: in March he excluded Kratz from the episcopal council, on the pretext of an abuse case that Kratz had allegedly neglected.