pope francis barbarin
© Vatican/EPA
Pope Francis receives Cardinal Philippe Barbarin in Vatican City on 18 March 2019.
Philippe Barbarin, the French Roman Catholic cardinal convicted this month of failing to report sexual abuse allegations, said on Tuesday that Pope Francis had turned down his offer to resign.

"On Monday morning, I put forward my resignation to the hands of the Holy Father. Invoking the presumption of innocence, he declined to accept this resignation," said Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, in a statement.

Barbarin is appealing against the verdict that he failed to report abuse claims.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Vatican's spokesman, Alessandro Gisotti, said the Vatican remained close to sexual abuse victims and the French faithful "who are living in a particularly painful moment".

Barbarin, 68, is the most senior French cleric caught up in the global child sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic church.

On 7 March a Lyon court ruled that Barbarin, a cardinal since 2003, was guilty of failing to report allegations of abuse of boy scouts committed by a priest, Bernard Preynat, in the 1980s and 1990s. He was given a six-month suspended prison sentence.

After the ruling, Barbarin said he would go to Rome to tender his resignation to the pope.

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

Barbarin's lawyer has announced plans to appeal against the conviction, which was hailed by abuse victims as ushering in a new period of accountability in the French Catholic church.

It comes as the pope seeks to restore trust in the church following a slew of abuse scandals that have spanned the globe, from Australia to Chile and the US.

Less than a week after Barbarin's conviction the Vatican's former number three, the Australian cardinal George Pell, was sentenced to six years in prison by a Melbourne court for his "brazen" sexual abuse of two choirboys.