In his most recent
for The Telegraph
Australia), Cardinal George Pell reflects on the recent fight over
marriage in France:
For about a decade the French Catholic
Church has not raised its voice much in public life. But that changed in
On the feast of the Assumption the present Archbishop
of Paris, Cardinal Vingt-Trois sparked a controversy, when he prayed:
"May children and young people cease being simply the object of the
desires and conflicts of adults, so they can enjoy fully the love of a
father and mother."
The fact that homosexual marriage was
on the political agenda caused the reaction.
France's most famous newspaper, Le Monde, published an article by a
leading public intellectual and Catholic convert backing the cardinal.
Public opinion did not expect much other support for the
archbishop, but this came from unexpected sources when, on November 7,
the Council of Ministers approved homosexual marriage.
Minister for Justice let the cat out of the bag when she told the
cardinal that "what is at stake is a reform of civilisation".
He agreed, saying the change would redefine humanity, the roles of men
and women and procreation.
He made no appeal to Bible teaching,
saying the issue touched the nature of human life. Unlike us, who
concentrate on the small number of couples who would enter homosexual
marriages, or the short-term practical consequences, many of the French
from both sides of the fence realise basic issues are at stake. They
know ideas are powerful and will be taught in schools to the next
Read the entire column. The
Cardinal's essay reiterates some of the information found in a December
7, 2012, column by Italian journalist Sandro Magister:
the fall, everything changed. On November 7, gay marriage obtained the
approval of the council of ministers. Cardinal Vingt-Trois protested to
President François Hollande, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault,
and Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira, and made public what he had
objected to them in private.
The archbishop responded to
what the minister had told him, namely that "what is at stake is a
reform of civilization," and said that he too thinks this way, that
the issue is precisely this, of a radical change of the nature of man,
of the sexes, of procreation. And therefore one cannot get carried away
with an act of tyranny of such impact, deciding everything by a majority
with a margin of 1 or 2 percent.
To Minister Taubira, who
told him: "We are not touching the Bible," the cardinal
rebutted that not even he was bringing this into discussion: "It is
a question that concerns man, and this is enough."
this is precisely what is new. Against the law on gay marriage a
resistance is mobilizing that is not confessional, but humanistic, of
men and women with the most varied visions of the world.
Read that entire piece on the Chiesa website.
Cardinal Pell's column opens by stating, "The French think
differently. They love ideas." Perhaps that was meant as a
compliment, but my impression is that some of the French, especially
many of its intellectual and political elites, are infatuated with the
wrong ideas. Besides, the love of ideas is hardly unique to the French;
the essential question is, "Are the ideas good? Are they
humane?" The twentieth century was dominatedand brutally
bloodiedby a popular idea called "communism" (or
"socialism", as Naziism was also a form of socialism). The
West, since the 1960s, has been in love with a combination of
ideasor impulses, reallythat flow from the notion that man
is a materialistic animal whose main drive is the fulfillment of
passions, feelings, and physical desires. Frankly, I don't see the
French thinking "differently" at all; they are merely pursuing
the same politically-correct, anti-human ideologies that are also the
rage in other (mostly western) European countries, as well as in North
America. That said, it is heartening to see signs of Church leaders in
France waking up to the seriousness of the dangers and threats. North
American bishops would do well to pay close attention.