A January 25th post on the LGBT website Bondings 2.0 has created a cloud of misinformation about the position of the bishops of France vis a vis gay marriage.
The post gives the impression that the French hierarchy has moved away from the hardline anti-gay marriage position of the Vatican and has issued a “recent” statement encouraging dialogue and openness to gay marriage. I wish they had. Unfortunately they haven’t. Not everything posted on the Internet is true and accurate and this little matter of “Bishops in France Release Hopeful Statement on Same-Sex Relationships” is a good case in point.
In September 2012 a study committee set up by the French conference of bishops did indeed issue a statement encouraging an open dialogue about the issue of same-sex unions. On the committee were six French bishops. At the time the committee’s report made little news because it was quickly pushed to the side. That same September the French bishops (there are more than a couple hundred active French bishops in active ministry) began their ad limina visits and Pope Benedict was very firm with them that marriage and the family “must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is in fact injurious to human coexistence as such.” He stressed that the truth about marriage must be promoted in bold and creative ways. The French bishops have consistently followed his admonitions.
On Sunday January 13th 2013 several hundred thousand (at least four hundred thousand and some say eight hundred thousand) demonstrators marched in Paris to protest French President François Hollande’s move to legalize same-sex marriage. Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris was there to greet and encourage the marchers as was Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, who condemned the “violence” of the proposed law that would “change the meaning of a word.”
If “Frigide Barjot,” the provocative self-appointed figurehead for the January 13th march could be believed, many of the anti-gay protesters were atheists, Jews, Protestants, leftwing voters, and homosexuals who are against gay “marriage.” In fact most of the protesters were far-to the right Catholic traditionalists drawn from across France to give the impression that France is anti-gay marriage. The key group behind the protest was Civitas a radically Catholic traditionalist organization led by Alain Escada, a French-speaking Belgian with strong sympathies to the Fraternity of Pius X, founded by the excommunicated Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
Support for same-sex marriage in France is now at about 65%. The Paris protest this January misrepresented French attitudes. Unfortunately, the post in Bondings 2.2 has misrepresented the attitudes of the French bishops, who are more in sync with the Vatican than the people of France.
And so the old institution carries on — more in sync with an increasingly romanticized past than the living and realistic present………..