Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Laurent Ulrich as the new archbishop of Paris, the Vatican announced April 26.

The diocese has been without an archbishop since Dec. 2, when Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Michel Aupetit for an "ambiguous" relationship with a woman. Archbishop Ulrich will be installed May 23.

In an interview with RCF Hauts-de-France and reported by Vatican News, Archbishop Ulrich, 70, said he was astonished when he heard the news of his appointment from the papal nuncio.

"I fought inside myself spiritually because I told myself that this is not for me and that I am not the right person for this job," he told the radio. "I have never aimed for a position, I have never had any ambition other than to do what the church asked of me."

The archbishop served as a priest in Lyon and Dijon archdioceses. In June 2000, St. John Paul II appointed him archbishop of Chambéry. Pope Benedict XVI named him to Lille in 2008.

The archbishop told RCF Hauts-de-France: "My ministry as bishop of Paris will be a ministry that wants to manifest the friendship of Christ. So I don't know if I will be able to demonstrate that with my qualities and my flaws. I don't know if I will really be able to show this, but it is my deep desire to consider Parisians as my friends."

After an article in the Le Point weekly claimed Archbishop Aupetit mismanaged his archdiocese and had an affair with a woman while he was vicar general, Archbishop Aupetit submitted his resignation to avoid "becoming a source of divisions."

Four days after Pope Francis accepted the resignation, he told reporters he accepted it because Archbishop Aupetit's reputation had been destroyed, making it impossible for him to continue leading the French archdiocese, and he spoke of the sin of gossip.

"A man whose reputation has been destroyed so publicly cannot govern," the pope repeated.

"There was a failure on his part, a violation of the Sixth Commandment, but not a complete violation, because it involved little caresses and massages that he gave his secretary. That's the accusation," the pope responded Dec. 6 when asked by a French reporter.

The French archbishop's actions were "sinful," the pope said, "but it's not among the most serious sins. The most serious sins are not sins of the flesh," but sins like pride and hatred, especially when committed by those who pretend to be "angelic."