Cardinal Philippe Barbarin waits for the start of his trial at the Lyon courthouse, central France, Jan. 7, 2019.
Cardinal Philippe Barbarin waits for the start of his trial at the Lyon courthouse, central France, Jan. 7, 2019.

Pope Francis refused to accept the resignation Tuesday of French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who was convicted of failing to report sexual abuse allegations to police.

Barbarin said Tuesday he submitted his resignation at the Vatican on Monday but the pope "spoke of the presumption of innocence and did not accept" it.

Francis instead asked Barbarin, the most senior French cleric involved in the Catholic Church's worldwide pedophilia scandal, to do what Barbarin believes is is best for the Lyon archdiocese. The 68-year-old cardinal has decided to take a leave of absence and has asked his assistant to assume leadership of the archdiocese.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, walks inside the courthouse during a break in his trial, charged with failing to act on historical allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts by a priest in his diocese, at the courthouse in Lyon, France
French Sexual Abuse Trial Casts New Cloud on Catholic Church
Lyon's archbishop, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin and five other figures are on trial on charges of failing to act against sexual abuse allegations targeting a priest in his diocese. This is the latest pedophilia scandal rocking the Roman Catholic Church before a key Vatican conference on sexual abuse.The sexual abuse allegations date back to the 1980s and 1990s.

Barbarin was sentenced to a six-month suspended sentence earlier this month for failing to report a predator priest to authorities. The priest, Benard Preynat, allegedly sexually abused boy scouts in the 1980's and 1990's.

Barbarin plans to appeal his conviction, which was applauded by abuse victims as the beginning of a new era of accountability in the French Church.

The pope has previously defended Barbarin, saying in 2016 that his resignation before a trial would be "an error, imprudent."