Monday, February 4, 2013

Across the Channel GLBT Series 2013


France is different, known for its food and wines, beautiful countryside, and the French Revolution (1789) with its principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, which changed the world. The French think differently. They love ideas.



For about a decade the French Catholic Church has not raised its voice much in public life. But that changed in August.


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.
Surprisingly 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.

The 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 generation.
On November 17 hundreds of thousands marched through the streets of Paris and a dozen other cities supporting traditional marriage.
The uprising was led by a gossip columnist Frigide Barjot, the socialist Laurence Tcheng from a movement called The Left For The Republican Marriage, and an atheist homosexual Xavier Bongibault, founder of a movement called More Gay Without Marriage.
The feminist philosopher Sylviane Agacinski, wife of a former socialist prime minister, strongly criticised those who claim sexual differences are not founded in nature, but simply ways of thinking, cultural constructs.
The Chief Rabbi of France, the mufti and even the foreign spokesman of the Russian Orthodox Church joined the fray to defend marriage.
All the parties know what is at stake.
Cardinal George Pell is Archbishop of Sydney

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