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France: A beautiful meeting

on 11 Apr, 2018
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Paris (France), 04/10/2018, Sr. Véronique Margron.- « We aim together through our directives, for the common ends which are dignity and meaning ». Thus, ended the talk of the chief of the State, yesterday evening, under the magnificent gothic vault of the Bernardins.

It was really dignity and meaning which was the question at the beginning of the evening: Samuel, affected by autism, and his brother Florent, companions and partners, supported by the Arche and the Christian Office for handicapped persons (OCH). Martine, who knew the hell of the street, and Marine, the young Prostitute, the two of them “roommates” and six other women, thanks to the “Association pour l’amitié” (APA), Vanina and Charles, friends through a by-chance meeting because of St. Vincent de Paul Society.

It is the faces of these most vulnerable who wish to live and find their place, that the Church of France wished to show yesterday evening, when they welcomed the President of the Republic. It is the face of a kindhearted and charitable humanity which is confronted with our cruel, broken and stressed world and society which are tempted by oversimplified ways and withdrawals. The Church was not there to promote herself but to make place for those for whom she tries to be the voice, like a potter’s hands in the clay. In the name of her God who welcomes each and every one, she gives witness to what is greater than herself: the transcendence of every person.

This is a profoundly reconciling Church which makes hers « the joys and hopes, the sorrows and anguishes of the men of our time. » This is the Church of Pope Francis, a village hospital which believes in our nation, as Mgr. Pontier, president of the CEF (Bishop’s Conference of France) repeated to us many times. The Church did not ask for anything for herself; neither status, nor positions nor assistance, only respect for who she is, and what she always offers for the life together, respecting strictly the Republic and the separation between the Church and State.

It was with words of great honor that E. Macron responded. There was a great freedom and uniqueness in his tone and it was a very present, real and profound word. It was a talk which, by its power, honor those who receive it. For our society which is definitely multi-cultural and our Republic which is secular, the chief of the State demands three gifts from the Catholics in France. The secular wisdom which is our tradition. Not so much that of our certitudes, but the humble and tenacious wisdom of our questions, incertitude and our unconditional study, always in favor of what is humane. The gift of our commitment at the service of our country, even in politics. Finally, the gift of our freedom “which does not wait for anything”, to use the very words of the chief of the State. Freedom to be and to speak in season and out of season, to propose a faith, a path, a meaning and a logic with full respect for the conscience.

It was a very good evening, the success of which could be spoken of, even more, by the quality of the dialogue and the joined work at the service of all and for the meaning of our existence.

RCF (French Christian Radio) Editorial of April 10, 18, Sr. Véronique Margron op, President of CORREF