Vous êtes iciA Respectful Appeal to The Bishops of France: “Have no fear!”
A Respectful Appeal to The Bishops of France: “Have no fear!”
The proposal for "Improved Civil Unions" as an alternative to "same-sex marriage" divides and weakens the Catholic response
A Mobilization against All Odds
The grassroots mobilization last November 17 exceeded all expectations, as the demonstration gathered from five to seven times more participants than police and organizers had anticipated. Calculations by the Figaro newspaper – supported with photographs -- indicated that in Paris, where 20,000 protesters were expected, the actual figure rose to between 100,000 and 120,000 marchers.
The next day, the demonstration sponsored by Civitas was also a great success, bringing together 20,000 people despite unexpected competition from the event the day before and the bad press it was given by some networks more worried about being accused of "integrism" than with the unity of the movement against the project of distorting the nature of marriage.
The secret of this success was not lost on anyone: the mobilization of parishes and movements of Catholic inspiration, with the unofficial support of the episcopate.
The Rector of the mosque of Villeurbanne, Azzedine Gaci -- who marched in Lyon alongside Cardinal Barbarin - complained to the magazine Famille chrétienne that Muslims “mobilized little or not at all.” “Most Muslims do not feel concerned,” he said, “and do not see the consequences this will have on their daily lives." For their part, the Jews were unable to attend the Marche pour tous ("Demonstration for all") because it took place on a Saturday.
The expectation now is that these parades are only a prelude to the January 13 event, a demonstration that will rival in numbers the historic 1984 march in defense of free schools. In fact, pollsters note there has been a shift in public opinion towards growing opposition to pseudo same-sex marriage and especially to the adoption of children by same-sex couples.
[RECENT UPDATE, January 14, 2013: The success of the two Parisian demonstrations supporting traditional marriage – at least 650,000 protesters attending the "March for all" rally and more than 50,000 in the rally organized by Civitas – has confirmed the January 13th rally as one of the largest-ever demonstrations in the history of France.]
As happened thirty years ago, a profound France is waking up. She is reacting and is perfectly able to force the government to abandon its plan.
This may happen on two conditions, however: 1) that same-sex marriage meets with a united opposition; 2) that the goal set by the leaders of the mobilization is clear and meets the aspirations of the grassroots, 90% of whom are Catholic.
In this sense, part of the responsibility lies with the bishops of France as a whole, or at least with the leading figures of the French episcopate.
Let them give one strong guideline with a bold goal and all those who uphold the essential principles of Christian morality will set out as one man toward the same target and will strive until the movement attains is goal.
But if this guideline is soft and shows a willingness to retreat, Catholic activists – whether practicing or not – will show less energy and coordination in the battle. A wave of apathy and defeatism will permeate the pro-family sector and pave the way for capitulation, sealing the coffin of a force of reaction whose potential no one could deny.
Among the Bishops, Many Timid and Divergent Stands
This concern is relevant because the successes obtained so far are due to the mobilization of Catholic grassroots despite the delays and diverging positions of their pastors. Some think that the comment by Bishop Jean-Pierre Cattenoz - "The ‘Marriage for all’ [slogan] has at least united the bishops, I was recently told” – shows that the people who inform him take their desires for reality.
The bishops’ differences are about the strategy to respond and also – disgracefully – about the underlying attitude of some representatives of the Catholic Church facing the homosexuals’ claims to have their practices legally recognized and socially accepted.
A minority of rather young bishops clearly see that France and the West are facing an ideological escalation even more pernicious than Marxism in its time.
In early August, Most Rev. Olivier de Germay, Bishop of Ajaccio, described the situation with precision in an editorial:
"We are under the impulse of an ideological current that will not stop there. The next stage has begun to unfold with gender theory. They want to convey the idea that sexual differences are only biological and are unrelated to a person’s profound identity. Everyone can choose his or hers sexual orientation...regardless of his sex. Therefore, it will be prohibited (as indoctrination) to give a boy a male-oriented education or a girl a female-oriented one. To do so would run counter to an almighty individual freedom that claims its emancipation from nature....”
For these bishops, open resistance is the most appropriate strategy to face such an ideological offensive. In fact, Bishop de Germay adds, "the announced deconstruction is not inevitable. History has shown that society possesses a capacity to respond to disaster situations. We all must therefore mobilize."
This lucid and courageous vision of things is far from being shared by all members of the episcopate. Immediately after the election of François Hollande to the presidency, Stéphanie Le Bars, head of Le Monde’s religious section, commented on her blog:
"Without engaging in open warfare and in order to avoid judging people’s intentions, for the time being the largest part of the Catholic hierarchy has rather strived to send messages to the entourage of Francois Hollande without the assurance of being heard."
Which Model to Follow? The German or the Spanish?
In its Special Report on the government’s plan to open marriage and adoption to same-sex couples, La Croix explained the choice the French Episcopate had to make: "Avoid a Spanish-like scenario. When employing this expression, all the French bishops are thinking about the same strategy...
Hence, negotiation rather than confrontation. Indeed, two months later we see Cardinal Vingt-Trois take the initiative of sending a single national prayer to all dioceses to be read in churches on the 15th of August.
The prayer had the advantage of not swerving too far away from the aspirations of the Catholic activist base. Delphine de Mallevoüe, a journalist at Le Figaro, observes:
"For the French episcopate, this National Prayer is a measured way to reaffirm its values and place Catholic belief once again into the political debate. This is also a way for them not to let their voices be smothered by fundamentalist Catholic groups which take radical positions facing the new majority [government]’s desire to legislate on issues contrary to Catholic beliefs...says a priest of the diocese of Paris.”
This national prayer –very moderate in tone as it limited itself to asking God “that every child can grow up with a father and a mother" -- does not appear sufficient to some prelates willing to engage more fully in the debate.
The first to speak out was Philippe Cardinal Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, after a meeting with [Interior] Minister Manuel Valls on the RCF radio station: "This is a rupture in society," the Cardinal explained.” It will have innumerable consequences. Later they will want to have ‘couples’ with three or four people. Perhaps one day the prohibition of incest will be dropped," he added.
Facing an outcry from the politically-correct left, some bishops took his defense, but most remained silent, while others publicly voiced their disapproval. Cardinal Barbarin thus felt obliged to declare that his remarks had been distorted. Le Journal du Dimanche went so far as to suggest that "this is a divisive question among Catholics, and the statements by the Primate of Gaul are annoying even in high places. The Archbishop of Lyon had already stood out by sounding the alarm and had commented on the August 15th prayer in harsher terms than his Parisian counterpart, a bishop says. Thus, he seeks to consolidate his position as the leading figurehead of the opposition to homosexual marriage.”
But several bishops then came out in favor of a great national debate prior to the parliamentary discussion of the bill, modeled on the debate on bioethics legislation.
Statements by individual bishops began to multiply.
An Agency of the Bishops Conference Calls for “Improved Civil Unions”!
At this point we note that a majority of bishops lean toward an intermediate strategy to avoid confrontation with both the government, on the one hand, and with the powerful homosexual lobby on the other hand, while at the same time preventing a massive switch of Christian grassroots to the “integrist” side. In fact, the Civitas association had already launched a mobilization around a petition supported by many signers, and most importantly, had announced a demonstration for Sunday, November 18.
The intermediate formula first consisted in promoting a letter-writing campaign to MPs and politicians. Several diocesan sites invited the faithful to write letters in large numbers in order to gain some traction, thus endorsing the methods used by Avenir de la Culture.
But they also needed to find, along with this intermediate strategy, an intermediate goal that would enable negotiations with the government and with members of parliament and meet less hostility from the media.
The formula was quickly found: "instead of marriage, let us offer improved civil unions!"
What should one think of this formula? On the social and fiscal planes, the civil unions law [known as PACS – French acronym for Civil Solidarity Pact] recognizes a series of benefits to those who have signed up. If there is no question of contesting the rights held by homosexual persons as individuals, the same is not true in relation to the rights they would have as couples.
Thus, to speak of "improved civil unions" is a complete incoherence. Far from improving the situation, it aggravates it instead by proposing a formula even more harmful to society.
Bishop Gerard Daucourt was the first to publicly express what he probably thought very discreetly to himself for some time, and several of his colleagues with him. He did so before the microphones of France Inter radio. Reacting to the statements by Cardinal Barbarin on the foreseeable sequels of same-sex marriage (with an opening to multiple unions and incest), the Bishop of Nanterre first criticized the "precipitation" of the Primate of Gaul and then of the Church’s past:
"This has very serious consequences. Because we know that the persons primarily concerned are homosexuals, who have suffered so much and who have been condemned by the Church and by a number of people in the Church for centuries. So I understand the reactions, if you will. One cannot speak with such haste....I think this is terrible for people who have already suffered discrimination on the part of the Church and for many others who are still partly [discriminated]against ....”
But the worst comes next:
“When it comes to a homosexual union, I 'm quite willing to listen, to recognize, to follow up on. I know a number of homosexual couples...I do not want it to be called marriage, that's all....
"Now we have the PACS [civil union’s legislation], so I believe we can improve it. Voila, I'd rather be in that line.... I do not want a frontal opposition, but that we talk and explain ourselves to one another.”
The clear words of Bishop Daucourt were expressed two weeks later in a more academic and restrained language by the Famille et Société Council of the French Bishops Conference (CEF) presided over by Most Rev. Jean-Luc Brunin, Bishop of Le Havre, and having as members Most Revs. Boivineau (Annecy), Coliche (auxiliary of Lille), Jacolin (Mende), Kratz (auxiliary of Strasbourg) and Maillard (Bourges), assisted by Fr. Gildas Kerhuel, Deputy Secretary-General of the Bishops Conference, Sister Genevieve Médevielle, professor of moral theology, and four other lay specialists.
The document, titled "Expanding Marriage to Persons of the Same Sex? Let Us Open the Debate!" was written to serve as an argument for the use of dioceses, parishes and Catholic movements. The majority of dioceses have actually posted it online and distributed it in several ways. Some bishops have even refrained from personally speaking out in the debate, limiting themselves to giving this document to their flocks.
Is It So Certain that the Vatican Supports the Strategy Chosen by the French Bishops?
According to La Croix, on Saturday, November 17 Benedict XVI gave his support to the strategy implemented by the French episcopate to oppose "marriage for all." The paper takes as evidence a passage from Benedict XVI speaking...
Now then, the document – which reflects the consensus of the "moderate majority" of the French episcopate – manifests a clearly worrisome turnaround: motivated by pastoral care, it encourages the faithful to take an attitude of open and positive tolerance toward couples living in homosexual cohabitation. And it encourages the government to grant them – as if it were a right -- legal recognition going even beyond PACS.
Despite some minor moral condemnations of homosexual acts, the document states from the outset that there can be no debate on the merits -- the claim of homosexuals to have a legal framework for a relationship bound to last in time -- "when applications by homosexual persons are disqualified a priori."
After the now obligatory regrets that "for a long time, homosexual persons were condemned and rejected" and "have been the object all kinds of discrimination and ridicule," the document states that "today, this is no longer tolerated” because "the law prohibits all discrimination and all incitement to hatred, particularly on account of a person’s sexual orientation, and we should welcome this development."
These two preliminary considerations do not come without surprise as they run counter to what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith established in its solemn declaration, “Some Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons” of 22 July 1992, signed by Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Benedict XVI:
“There are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account, for example, in the placement of children for adoption or foster care, in employment of teachers or athletic coaches, and in military recruitment.
“There is no right to homosexuality which therefore should not form the basis for juridical claims,” the Vatican statement continues.
The document by the “Famillet et Société” Council of the Bishops Conference goes on to state that "homosexual practices have evolved and the desire to live a stable emotional relationship occurs more frequently today" and one should "take seriously the aspirations of those who wish to engage in a stable relationship."
First of all, it should be noted that the authors take at face value a false allegation which the homosexual lobby employs to justify its claims. Indeed, statistics show that, with rare exceptions, promiscuity and multiple partners are the norm among homosexuals.
Even assuming argumentandi gratiae that these aspirations to engage in a stable relationship are real, that would not justify in any way the part of the speech which follows:
"In her own domain, the Church listens to this request by homosexual persons and may seek a response" to their desire for "a solidarity that goes beyond reducing the homosexual relationship to a simple erotic commitment.”
And what is that answer? "The Catholic Church calls on the faithful to live such a relationship in chastity, but beyond the sexual aspect alone she acknowledges the value of solidarity, care and concern for the other that may occur in a lasting emotional relationship."
The formulation of these two passages appears to be carefully vague: in principle it condemns sexual relations between persons of the same sex and issues a theoretical call to chastity while insinuating that a stable emotional bond in these homosexual relationships would be a lesser evil.
Between the evils of selfish promiscuity and a stable mutual relationship, should one then prefer the latter?
Should we consider that it is preferable for a homosexual person to live in cohabitation, a permanent occasion of sin?
Does such an argument not mislead homosexual persons, their own circles and the faithful in general by letting them imagine that, all things considered, the Church no longer regards homosexual relations as sinful? Do the bishops who authored the text remember that Divine Revelation calls such relationships a "grave depravity"?
There is worse. These formulations serve to justify the PACS civil unions as a lesser evil, as the document mentions it in neutral or even favorable terms (for its financial and social benefits).
The paper takes a step further by saying that PACS is not sufficient because "homosexual persons today also demand a more solemn form of union endowed with real symbolic weight, and one which cannot be broken without due process or compensation." This leads them to ask that it be given the same characteristics as marriage and the consequences resulting from it.
The document by the “Famille et Société” Council rejects the claim of the homosexual lobby with relevant and just arguments by saying that this homosexual claim results from the dominant egalitarian discourse which deliberately ignores the difference between heterosexual and homosexual relationships in terms of procreation. In addition, this dominant discourse suggests that it is incongruous to establish a link between marital life and procreation regarding the offspring and life in society.
On these two foundations -- anthropological and legal – the bishops’ document concludes that marriage cannot be a suitable formula to meet the claims of homosexual persons and so-called single-parent families.
But the “Famille et Société” Council of the French Bishops Conference adds that it is up to the political power "to heed the request of a certain number of homosexual persons to benefit from a formal legal framework in order to establish a lasting emotional relationship."
Ten pages of unclear comments thus come to the same claim expressed by Bishop Daucourt in a more direct way: instead of marriage, homosexuals could be granted the benefit of an “improved PACS."
“An Original Solution which Does Justice to Homosexual Couples’ Request for Recognition”
On March 2, 1998, the Permanent Council of the Bishops Conference of France issued a statement titled “PACS: a Useless and Dangerous Bill.” Now an agency of that same Conference sends to all the dioceses of France a paper explaining that PACS is not enough and needs to be improved!
No sooner said than done. A number of bishops who can be assumed to share the views of the “Famille et Société” Council have been promoting the document in their dioceses, individually or collectively, like the ten bishops of Western France gathered around Most Rev. d’Ornellas, Archbishop of Rennes, who invited "the Catholics of [their] dioceses and persons wishing to calmly reflect about this issue to take this document and read it thoroughly."
Others went further and sometimes enlarged the breach opened by the document.
Most Rev. Bernard Ginoux, Bishop of Montauban, has done it in a short and precise style:
"Policy measures for recognizing de facto relationships can be understood, but marriage is not a contract."
Most Rev. Michel Pansard, Bishop of Chartres, asked:
"What recognition are we speaking about? Is it an acceptance, refusing any discrimination and providing people with legal, inheritance and tax benefits?” In a note, he adds: “cf. PACS: Civil Solidarity Pact; a contract between two adults of the opposite or same-sex to organize their life in common.”
In a letter to his flock of October 24, 2012, Bishop Daucourt went back to his idea:
"We reject that [the State] institutionalize as marriage a cohabitation between two persons of the same sex, but we recognize that it may give rights to people who want to live together (PACS is a contract, not an institution)".
Most Rev. Bruno Grua, Bishop of Saint-Flour, added a barb against the Church, replaced below with the majestic plural, "we":
"It is true that in the past we have failed to avoid outrageous stigmatization. Homosexual persons have suffered and one can understand their demands today. But is it really to respect their difference – it is not for us to judge them – to bring them into the institutional framework of marriage, which was not intended for them? This talk about marriage for all does not appear to respect homosexual persons. Does true respect not consist in recognizing different situations, eventually sanctioned in different institutions?”
An “Improved PACS”: A Lesser Evil?
The bishops cannot claim that one must accept a lesser evil (PACS) in order to prevent a greater evil (pseudo same-sex marriage). As a matter of fact, it is one thing...
Most Rev. François Fonlupt, Bishop of Rodez, states:
"This is not about denying the requests that arise and refusing everyone to be recognized and given a place. But there is also the question of how to heed these requests and honor them without ignoring the differences.... What we want and need to sustain in the debate is at the same time to take people and their requests into account while striving to find an answer that is fair to society."
Most Rev. Philippe Gueneley, Bishop of Langres, is open to the ‘product’ as long as its label is replaced:
"If one needs to take into account the love that unites two women and the love that unites two men, there is no legal need to call this situation a marriage. We need to find another word.”
Most Rev. Jacques Blaquart, Bishop of Orleans, opines in the same direction:
"Homosexuality is a fact, a reality. Many homosexual persons suffer from rejection and scorn. They are entitled to respect, to the recognition of who they are and the life they lead. But why give the name of marriage to a reality other than that which is constitutive of our humanity, the man-woman couple whose union alone can give life? It is normal that a State recognize and define the rights of persons living a common life under one roof.”
"In French legislation the PACS is far from being an alternative to marriage: it is a contract, while marriage is an institution.... Our society is invited to find an original solution which does justice to the requests of homosexual persons for recognition without jeopardizing the anthropological foundations of society.”
For his part, Most Rev. Vincent Jordy, Bishop of Saint-Claude, asks:
"If all is needed is to accommodate the rights of homosexual couples -- which in any case are a minority – is the PACS not enough?”'
Most Rev. Jean-Charles Descubes, Archbishop of Rouen, and five suffragan bishops of Normandy, have suggested the same idea from the first paragraph of their statement of October 9:
"In order to meet the demands of homosexual persons, our country’s politicians consider revising the legislation on civil marriage and on adoption of children. It is up to the political power to heed this request. However, we say that it would be risky and dangerous to amend the Civil Code on this subject.”
Most Rev. Bernard Housset, Bishop of La Rochelle, chose to quote the conclusion of the bishops in the “Famille et Société” Council:
"An evolution of family law is always possible.... France will honor herself by starting a real social debate and by seeking an original solution which does justice to the request of homosexual persons for recognition without prejudice to the anthropological foundations of society."
Do you think you have seen and heard everything? Think again!
For the Vice-President of the Bishops Conference, the 1998 rejection of PACS was “an error of judgment”
Most Rev. Hippolyte Simon, Archbishop of Clermont-Ferrand and Vice President of the Bishops Conference goes so far as to regret the Church’s mobilization against PACS in 1998-1999.
Make sure you’re sitting down before reading this piece of anthology in an October 8 editorial posted on the website of his archdiocese:
"One should also avoid the ‘all or nothing’ which too often characterizes debates in our country. I think it is necessary to heed what legitimate aspect can exist in the desire to protect the rights of children who are, in fact, raised by a couple of people of the same sex. It must be possible to guarantee the children the right to be cared for and raised by legal guardians without delving into the categories of affiliation.”
"This would therefore lead to a partial adaptation of the PACS provisions. In this regard, people who in 1988 hastened to stand up against PACS may have committed an error of judgment. First it should be noted that this battle has been lost, and PACS was introduced. Of course it would have been better pedagogy to take the applicants at their word and say: You call for PACS. You are right. This is a contract to defend the interests of two adults. But this is not an institution. The difference in effect is that marriage is an institution because it is first made to protect the offspring and therefore the identity of the potential third parties it can engender, i.e. children.
"By refusing the PACS because it could lead to marriage, one has maintained confusion between contract and institution. And today we deprive ourselves of being able to say: You have the PACS and this must suffice, subject to adjustment. Yet that would be the path of wisdom and would ensure the value of marriage.”
The path of wisdom? The declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on civil unions and other PACS mentioned above asserts in the most peremptory fashion:
"Laws in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to the institution of matrimony, to unions between persons of the same sex."
Making the PACS legislation even worse will never be a wise or morally acceptable proposal to Catholic morality. A good goal (stopping "same-sex marriage") can never make right a bad action (irrationally and unfairly giving more rights to same-sex couples), because the end does not justify the means.
Furthermore, this proposal is a belated victory for Bishop Gaillot, who in March 1999 wrote on the website of his "virtual diocese" of Partenia:
"PACS does not refer to principles. It is pragmatic. It stems from experiences of women and men to give equal rights to all couples. We should not look at it as a threat to marriage."
This morally unacceptable proposal seriously jeopardizes the success of the resistance at a critical time
These considerations place us before a very serious situation. If a large number of bishops, by conviction or tactics, adhere to what Bishop Simon lamented had not been done, then an unprecedented chasm will open up between the mass of the faithful and their pastors, some agreeing to follow the policy, always doomed to failure, of "giving in a little in order to not lose everything," and others rightly seeking to continue the fight without making any concession to the homosexual lobby and to its gender ideology.
This fragmentation of the troops would jeopardize the ultimate success of a mobilization against pseudo homosexual "marriage" and any eventual fiasco would fall on the shoulders of the French bishops, who failed to unite themselves around a winning strategy in line with the sentiments of the faithful.
Anthropologists, lawyers, psychiatrists… but especially bishops!
This incomprehensible material transgression doubles as a formal retreat which consists in depriving the debate of its moral and religious dimension; for destabilizing marriage is an anthropological question that interests everyone and not only Christians and their representatives.
This is a cause for serious concern at a moment when we are witnessing a final onslaught of the Cultural Revolution against the institution of the family. If this revolution does not meet with a strong opposition, only ruins of Christian civilization will remain and no forecast is pessimistic enough to describe what is in store for the future of our country, of ancient Christian tradition.
The Bishop of Saint-Denis, Most Rev. Pascal Delannoy, has acknowledged that "many Catholics expect some clarification on this issue in order to better understand what is at stake and to pertinently express their beliefs."
Under these conditions, the first duty of the bishops as Pastors of the flock is actually to enlighten the consciences of Catholics shaken by the "dictatorship of relativism" and its hazy ideologies and media hype. This clarification must be made by addressing the issue from the data of Revelation, adding to it human data as well, never the opposite.
This obligation of the bishops to illuminate people’s consciences in the light of Faith also extends to non-practitioners, to believers of other religions and even to non-believers.
Bishop François Jacolin found the right words to say it: "The Gospel is meant for all men and concerns every man. This is why the Church must intervene in today’s debate about extending marriage to same-sex couples.... I believe that the light of the Gospel and the light of human reason join together to counter the false generosity and true cowardice of a world without a compass..... Christ is the Light of nations: these are the first words of the conciliar Constitution on the Church."
No different were the words of Cardinal Barbarin in his August 14 interview with Le Figaro:
"At other times they criticized the Church's silence. But if her primary mission is prayer, and I hope she will faithfully fulfill it, she must speak out no matter what currents permeate public opinion. This is the last guideline that Jesus gave us before leaving and promising the strength of the Holy Spirit: You will be my witnesses ... to the ends of the earth!”
Such was also the case with Most Rev. Dominique Lebrun, Bishop of Saint-Étienne:
"The Catholic community is called today to bring the Good News in a way as decisive as in the early times. This requires courage from the bishops, but also - and perhaps even more so – from every family."
Yet it is distressing to note that in the 85 bishops’ statements regarding the proposed "marriage for all" [read ‘same-sex marriage’] bill, except for a few and rare references to the first page of Genesis ("Male and female He created them"), there is NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING religious in the arguments of the French bishops.
Quite on the contrary, most of them are manifestly concerned to make it obvious that they speak in strictly human terms.
"In all this reflection,” Bishop Jean-Louis Cattenoz said, “I did not need to rely on the teaching of the Church but on the realities of humanity. It is in the name of this principle, along with many humanists, that we call for a broad debate." He added: "It is in their capacity as citizens that Cardinal Vingt-Trois and the bishops speak up."
For his part, Most Rev. Michel Dubost, Bishop of Evry stated: "Let us call into this debate psychiatrists and psychologists, philosophers, scholars, and simply avoid pseudo-scientists."
"The Church does not react primarily for religious reasons but for anthropological reasons," adds Most Rev. Yves Le Sault, Bishop of Le Mans.
This stunning lack of Biblical references is sometimes coupled with quotes from Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, statements by Mohammed Moussaoui, President of the French Council of the Muslim Faith in France, or references to the Convention on the Rights of the Child of the United Nations. And all that without ever transcribing a single excerpt from an encyclical or a single word of Benedict XVI or John Paul II, who nevertheless repeatedly spoke out against laws recognizing homosexual unions!
We agree with Bishop Dominique Rey, that "there is a rational argument to develop alongside the Biblical and theological foundations in order to recall the main principles of humanity."
But if this is a side argument, then it is necessary that the central argument focus on morals, both the one derived from the natural law that God inscribed in the heart of every man, and the one which results from Revelation. And here we must recognize that it was the legal, anthropological, psychological, argumentation that occupied almost the entire space.
Should we remind the successors of the Apostles of the words the Divine Master addressed to them: "You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor?” We do not understand how religious references are drastically discarded when it comes first and foremost to defending the fundamental principles of Christian civilization.
In his message to the Catholics of Hauts-de-Seine, Bishop Daucourt stated, as if apologizing for not speaking out:
"On several occasions I have told and written you that if we want to participate in this kind of debate, it is not to defend the beliefs of the Catholic Church, which we do not want to impose on anyone, but because we believe that these beliefs really are at the service of man and of society."
Hence his carefully secular language, like that of the vast majority of bishops when they need to speak out on social issues. Now then, opponents of the Church do not have the same modesty and not only want to shape society according to their ideologies such as "gender" or "human rights," for example, but also to brainwash our children and grandchildren through education programs.
This gives rise to an imbalance in the public space; key management positions are occupied by the standard-bearers of "modernity" while the religious leaders facing them have so deeply “soaked in” secularism and multiculturalism that they only dare to speak in purely human terms even though they are God's representatives.
The Outstretched Hand to Secularism: A Strategy which Has Failed
The religious leaders of French Catholicism still appear to be marked by last century’s Christian Democratic ideology of the Thirties and Forties which operated a Ralliement around the secular republic...
Catholic grassroots are not of the same opinion. They want to see the representatives of their camp speak out on behalf of their Faith. Are we not disciples of a Master who commanded us not to place a candle under a bushel and Who sent us to preach from the housetops?” What better opportunity is there to preach the beauty of God's Law than when it comes to defending family morals against lobbies that place marriage and unions based on intrinsically disordered relations on an equal footing?
Is the message not made partly inaudible by pastoral cowardice?
Catholic grassroots want an uninhibited Church that does not hesitate to enter the fray to defend beliefs and speak out on Christian values with a strong voice.
Arise, Eldest Daughter of the Church!
If the bishops persist in offering the Government and the homosexual lobby "an improved PACS" as an alternative to “Marriage for All” [same-sex ‘marriage’], they will only widen the gap between them and the faithful. Disappointed, some will be tempted to disarm and simply allow the tidal way of wholesome reaction to die at the beach. Instead of making a trumpet call to awaken the faithful and summon them to the struggle, the leading figures of the French episcopate will thus have played the role of the voice that lulls to sleep and the hand that kills off reaction into a disappointed and disillusioned conformity.
On the contrary, if the French episcopate unites around a winning strategy that manifests the Church’s complete opposition to any legal recognition of homosexual relationships (relationships that the Bible regards as a serious depravity, it is well to note), then the road to recovery will open to France.
But this will only happen if the bishops strive to enlighten people’s consciences with moral and religious arguments which they have in abundance and which alone are capable of waking up the sunken cathedral of Faith that slumbers deep down in the souls of hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens.
From struggle to struggle, from victory to victory, the prophetic words uttered by St. Pius X in November 1911 in the middle of his titanic struggle opposing the anti-clerical measures of the French government, will be fulfilled:
“The people who made an alliance with God at the baptismal font of Rheims will repent and return to its first vocation. Her faults will not remain unpunished, but she will never perish, the daughter of so many merits, so many sighs, and so many tears.
A day will come, and we hope it will not be far, when France, like Saul on the road to Damascus, will be surrounded by a heavenly light and will hear a voice repeating to her, “My daughter, why do you persecute me?” And to her response, “Who art thou, Lord?” the voice will reply, “I am Jesus, whom you persecute. It is hard for you to kick against the goad, because, in your obstinacy, you destroy yourself.”
And she, trembling and astonished, will say, “Lord, what wouldst thou have me do?” And He will say, “Rise up, wash the filth that has disfigured you, awaken in your heart those dormant affections and the pact of our alliance and go, eldest daughter of the Church, predestined nation, vessel of election, go, as in the past, and carry my name before all peoples and before the kings of the earth” (Allocution Vi Ringrazio, Nov. 29, 1911).
Excellencies, “have no fear!” (Matt 14:27). “If God be for us, who is against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
Paris, December 8, 2012, Feast of the Immaculate Conception