Laurent Ulrich

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Laurent Ulrich
Archbishop of Paris
ChurchCatholic Church
AppointedApril 26, 2022
InstalledMay 23, 2022
PredecessorMichel Aupetit
OrdinationDecember 2, 1979
by Albert Decourtray
ConsecrationSeptember 10, 2000
by Louis-Marie Billé
Personal details
Born (1951-09-07) 7 September 1951 (age 72)
Previous post(s)Archbishop of Chambéry–Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne–Tarentaise,
Archbishop of Lille
Alma mater
MottoLa joie de croire
(The joy of believing)
Coat of armsLaurent Ulrich's coat of arms

Laurent Bernard Marie Ulrich (born 7 September 1951) is a French prelate of the Catholic Church who became Archbishop of Paris in May 2022.

Ulrich has been a bishop since 2000 and was Archbishop of Lille from 2008 to 2022. He was vice president of the Bishops' Conference of France from 2007 to 2013.

Early life and career[edit]

Laurent Ulrich was born on 7 September 1951 in Dijon. He earned a master's degree in philosophy at the University of Dijon, attended Saint-Irénée University Seminary, and obtained a Licentiate in theology from the Catholic University of Lyon. He was ordained a priest on 2 December 1979[1] by Albert Decourtray, Bishop of Dijon.[2]

He was Deputy Parish Priest in the Beaune sector (1980-1984) and Deputy Dean (1984-1985); Episcopal Vicar in charge of ongoing formation, sacramental and liturgical pastoral care (1985-1990) and since 1986 also for lay people and religious who are pastorally engaged; Vicar General and Delegate for the Apostolate of the Laity (1990-2000).[1] In 1988 he founded Radio Parabole, a Catholic radio station for Burgundy. He headed Radio Chrétienne francophone (RCF), the French Catholic radio network, for many years.[2][3]

In 2000, he published a collection of his lectures as L’Enseignement de l’Église sur les questions sociales (The Teaching of the Church on Social Issues).[4]

Pope John Paul II named him archbishop of Chambéry and bishop of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne-Tarentaise on 6 June 2000.[5] He received his episcopal consecration on 10 September[1] from Louis-Marie Billé, Archbishop of Lyon. He took his episcopal motto, la joie de croire (the joy of believing), from the writer Madeleine Delbrêl. At the time he was one of the youngest French bishops.[2]


On 1 February 2008, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him bishop of Lille, allowing him to retain the personal title of archbishop.[6] When the diocese of Lille was raised to the status of an archdiocese on 29 March, he became its archbishop,[7] and he was installed there the next day.[8]

Between 2013 and 2016, responding to the urging of Pope Francis, he organized a provincial synod for his archdiocese and its two suffragans, Arras and Cambrai.[3][9] Pope Francis included him among the papal appointees to the 2015 Synod on the Family.[10] There he was elected reporting secretary of one of the French-language discussion groups.[11] At one point he addressed the problem of mediating culturally specific concerns and universal norms: "The Church is united but there are cultural differences within it.... We cannot detach ourselves from Catholic unity or from the people that have been entrusted to us: we will need to hone our acrobatic skills."[12]

He was awarded the rank of chevalier in the Legion of Honor on 12 May 2017.[8] He said that it represented the nation's recognition that a bishop's work does not serve a separate part of the population but the entire community, that "the Church's commitment to the service of the most vulnerable communities and the integration of the most diverse components of society make a positive contribution to social cohesion". He also called it a healthy recognition of the Church's right to contribute to public debate.[13]

He has advocated on behalf of migrants. In 2015 he said: "One cannot be Catholic, that is to say universal, and xenophobic." During that year's electoral campaign he called for the rejection of the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the National Front party, particularly its "hate speech" and "aggressive vindictiveness".[14] In November 2021, he joined a prayer service at Dunkirk for a group of migrants who died at sea attempting to cross the English Channel.[15]

In 2019, he closed Lille's archdiocesan seminary provisionally for lack of candidates.[2]

Testifying before the French national commission on sexual abuse in 2021, he provided his interpretation of the causes of priestly sexual abuse:[16]

I think that we must put first the relationship of authority and the feeling of impunity that results from it. It is not so much celibacy as the ability to manage impulses, by being trained in it, that counts. The training courses of the past did not make people sensitive to this aspect of managing sexual urges.... Clericalism ... leads to abuse of authority. The question of power is everywhere and always decisive.... I think that part of the deviations observed comes from the fact that, in the Church, priests were the only ones assuming all the power and all the authority.

He was vice president of the Bishops' Conference of France from 2007 to 2013 and from 2013 to 2019 president of its Studies and Projects Committee, which is tasked with animating the work of evangelization.[17]


Pope Francis appointed him archbishop of Paris on 26 April 2022.[1] On 23 May, he received his crozier from Georges Pontier, apostolic administrator of the archdiocese, outside Notre Dame Cathedral, which was closed for restoration and reconstruction. He then led a vespers service there and entered the cathedral for a moment of private prayer. A Mass to welcome him followed at Church of Saint-Sulpice.[18] A year earlier, when his predecessor in Paris, Archbishop Michel Aupetit, dismissed his vicar general Benoist de Sinety, a prominent figure in the media who had complained of a lack of support from Aupetit while focusing on support for migrants and those most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ulrich assigned Sinety to a prominent Lille parish.[19][a]

He is president of the Council for Catholic Teaching of the Bishops' Conference of France.[17]


Ulrich supports a reform of roman-catholic catechism in sexual morality.[21]


  1. ^ Sinety said he offered his services to Ulrich and was delighted to receive such an important assignment.[20]


  1. ^ a b c d "Rinunce e nomine, 26.04.2022" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 26 April 2022. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d Guénois, Jean-Marie. "Laurent Ulrich est nommé archevêque de Paris". Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  3. ^ a b Hoel, Gino (27 April 2022). "Laurent Ulrich, un archevêque de Paris "Macron-compatible"". Slate (in French). Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  4. ^ Thibon, Thérèse (28 April 2022). "Qui est Laurent Ulrich, le nouvel archevêque de Paris?". Le Pèlerin (in French). Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  5. ^ "Rinunce e nomine, 06.06.2000" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 6 June 2000. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  6. ^ "Rinunce e nomine, 01.02.2008" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 1 February 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  7. ^ "Rinunce e nomine, 29.03.2008" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 29 March 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  8. ^ a b "Mgr Ulrich, archevêque de Lille, nommé archevêque de Paris". La Voix du Nord (in French). 26 May 2022. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  9. ^ "Un Synode? Mise en Oeuvre". Catholique en Nord Pas-de-Calais. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  10. ^ "XIV Assemblea Generale Ordinaria del Sinodo dei Vescovi (4-25 ottobre 2015) - Elenco dei Partecipanti, 15.09.2015" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 15 September 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  11. ^ "Synod15 – Elenco dei Moderatori e dei Relatori dei Gruppi (I sessione "Circuli minores"), 07.10.2015" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  12. ^ "Synod on Family: An exchange between different languages and cultures". La Stampa. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  13. ^ Lieven, Samuel. "Mgr Ulrich : "L'État reconnaît à l'Église le droit de s'exprimer"". La Croix (in French). Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  14. ^ White, Christopher (26 April 2022). "Pope Francis appoints Archbishop Laurent Ulrich to lead Paris Archdiocese". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  15. ^ Magdelaine, Fanny (28 November 2021). "" Que nos frères défunts péris en mer trouvent le repos… "". La Croix (in French). Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  16. ^ Hourdeaux, Anne-Sophie (14 October 2021). "Abus sexuels dans l'Église : comment ces évêques du Nord ont fait face au fléau". (in French). Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  17. ^ a b "Mgr Laurent Ulrich". Église Catholique en France (in French). Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  18. ^ "Le nouvel archevêque de Paris, Laurent Ulrich, a pris ses fonctions". Le Point (in French). Agence France Presse. 23 May 2022. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  19. ^ Sauvaget, Bernadette (1 April 2021). "La démission du curé Benoist de Sinety aggrave la crise au diocèse de Paris". La Libération (in French). Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  20. ^ Hourdeaux, Anne-Sophie (21 September 2021). "Le père Benoist de Sinety, qui a présidé les funérailles de Johnny, s'installe à Lille". Actu (in French). Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  21. ^ Erzbischof: Katechismus-Worte zu Homosexualität nicht mehr zeitgemäß (german), 9 December 2022

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Archbishop of Chambéry and Bishop of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne–Tarentaise
Succeeded by
Preceded by Archbishop of Lille
Succeeded by
Preceded by Archbishop of Paris