Excluded by Pope Francis, Father Mercier, priest of the Abbey of Tarasteix, responds by assuring that he left the Catholic Church on his own in March 2021, which, according to him, makes his dismissal “meaningless”.
It is by a decree dated December 9 that Pope Francis himself recorded the exclusion of Jean-Claude Mercier, priest of the Abbey of Tarasteix, from the Catholic Church. Targeted by accusations of rape and embezzlement, the latter reacted with a press release in which he stipulates that he left the Catholic Church in March 2021 of his own free will. “I notified by mail to Monsignor Brouwet, predecessor of Bishop Micas, that I was leaving the Roman Catholic Church, who took note of my declaration of leaving the Catholic Church by mail to my lawyer dated April 27, 2021. I have since joined the Little Apostolic Old Catholic Church, which is separate from Rome, so the Roman Catholic Church cannot dismiss me from a clerical state that I left by my own free will 21 months ago. . It does not mean anything.”
“This dismissal does not make sense”
“Last week, the vicar general of the diocese Pierre Jamet came to the abbey of Tarasteix to have me sign a document, explaining to me that this was the normal procedure following my leaving the Roman Catholic Church, and that if I signed this document, the diocese would remain discreet about me. I retract from any signature of document emanating from the diocese of Tarbes and Lourdes in 2022. This signature was extorted from me under psychological pressure, this document does not has no value, especially since it does not bear my exact name.”
Harassment and slander
To explain what he considers to be relentlessness, Father Mercier underlines that he has been “a victim of slander for several years, they are trying to smear my reputation. I am not naive, I am 80 years old today, I am worn out by all these hardships and I see the vultures circling around the Abbey of Tarasteix which, thanks to our constant care, has acquired a very significant real estate value.”
There remain the accusations which have weighed, for a long time, on Abbé Mercier, whose personality is very controversial. The Tarbes prosecutor’s office confirmed the opening of a preliminary investigation for rape, following a report from the independent commission on sexual abuse in the Church (Ciase). “Several people, linked together, are determined to smear me by all means, in particular online harassment. I am the scapegoat for other turpitudes. I am accused of all kinds of things, without proof. that today, I have had no judicial conviction, nor indictment.
“Save the Abbey of Tarasteix”
Pursuing his reasoning, Father Mercier operates a small reversal: “In truth, I did not wish to leave the Catholic Church, calumny obliged me to do so, to save the abbey of Tarasteix. This place has a spiritual and must not fall into the hands of men with greedy hearts. I remain a priest of the Catholic Church in the bottom of my heart and despite all these trials, my heart is in peace and I remain firm in the Faith, because I know that God will not abandon me and will allow Tarasteix Abbey to remain a place dedicated to prayer and Christian meditation.”
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Tarasteix: Father Mercier says he left the church of his own free will
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