Archbishop of Lyon Cardinal Philippe Barbarin
Archbishop of Lyon Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is being pressured to step down from his positionREUTERS/Robert Pratta

The Archbishop of Lyon who was accused of covering up for a priest found guilty in numerous sex abuse cases has finally admitted to "errors in management and nomination of certain priests".

A statement was released following a closed-door meeting of 220 priests to discuss the accusations, which claimed that the church and Cardinal Philippe Barbarin were involved in covering up cases of paedophilia in the area.

"The cardinal recognised that the diocese committed errors in the management and nomination of certain priests," the statement read.

"We failed to fulfill our obligation to investigate and to seek the truth," Yves Baumgarten, vicar-general of the diocese, said during a press conference. Lyon has been at the centre of a shocking sex scandal after complaints surfaced accusing Bernard Preynat of preying on young scouts who were under his supervision over 25 years ago. The priest finally confessed to his crimes and was charged in January.

Now, the focus of the investigation has shifted to Cardinal Barbarin, who has been accused of failing to inform prosecutors about the sex abuse, despite being informed about Preynat's crimes in 2007.

Barbarin has vehemently denied protecting the charged priest and stated that he "never covered up paedophilia". In an article in Le Monde newspaper in March, the archbishop wrote, "We have not always done a good job of managing the cases in the best way.

"We must cooperate fully with the judicial authorities and we must listen to the victims in an open and caring way."

Barbarin is now being pressured to step down, but a majority of the priests who attended the meeting are keen that he continues in his position.