carnet de route
A special lunch  
An odd trial  
Celebrating 50 years of the Cuban Revolution  
Geneva, the hometown of Calvin  
A special lunch  
rendez-vous I went to an old people's home. A stooping woman, a cane in her hand, was waiting for me and was satisfied to see that I had not missed the appointment. For some time now, she had wanted to invite me for lunch. Her husband, a doctor, affected by the Alzheimer's disease, had died. She had to resolve herself to go to an old people's home.
I found the place pleasant, well laid out and decorated with plants. « When it is only for a visit, it looks good, she told me, but when you stay here, it's different. »
At the restaurant, a table had been reserved for us. « I usually eat alone. It is better this way. At first, I used to eat next to a person who was talking, but she was talking to herself. Another woman did not hear what I had said. I am learning what it is to be dependent. I now come for the second serving. There are less people. »
At the next table, a man was reading a newspaper while eating. I saw a woman that was alone, a sad-faced woman. She was waiting to be served. There were many people in the restaurant but it was difficult to communicate. People see each other all the time but they do not meet. How to grow old without becoming old?
« Here, everyone is for himself. I talk to practically no one. I live alone all by myself and the days are long. And yet the other day, while taking a coffee, the woman next to me asked me: « What does believing in God mean for you? » « I was so surprised that I did not know what to say. »
« Does your family come to visit you? »
« My children come to see me from time to time but I have problems with them. I feel a lot better with my grandchildren. I would like to see them without their parents. »
The food was excellent and so was the service. We were the only ones left in the dining hall.
Before leaving this woman asked me: « what does believing in God mean for you? » « For me, believing in God, is believing in the human being. »
haute en page  
An odd trial  
The Association "Droit au logement" (Having a home is a right) was condemned to a fine of 12,000 Euros for the installation of tents for badly housed people, at the heart of Paris. This was a nuisance to a free circulation on the street. The trial on appeal has just been held.
I was called as a witness. The courtroom was crammed because a great number of militants from the Association were there. The judge was kind and asked me to speak.
campement à la Gare « Since the beginning of the Association 20 years ago, we have many times made camps to accommodate families in the street. » I gave as example the camp installed on Quai de la Gare in 1991 where we had accommodated 37 families. I remember the visit of Abbé Pierre to the families, in the middle of July, when it was very hot.
« For 20 years, we have made combats that I thought were just and noble. Thousands of families were given new accommodation. »
« For 20 years, we have gone through difficult times. » I gave as example of the occupation of an empty building on Dragon Street at the heart of Paris. It became an event!
« It is the first time in 20 years that the Association has been condemned. »
I told him how surprised I was:
« How is it possible to sanction an association that is helping families with no accommodation? Public opinion is not mistaken. It did not understand. If the authorities had done as they had promised, it would not have been necessary to install tents in the street ».
dans la rue
The judge kindly said to me: « you can choose to stay in the room or leave. You are free! » Laughs in the audience.
Defense asked for the release. Court was adjourned for further deliberation.
haute en page  
Celebrating 50 years of the Cuban Revolution  
révolution cubaine I have a lot of admiration for what has happened in Cuba in 1959. The Cuban people lived a great moment of its history, regaining honour and dignity by acquiring their rights so often flouted in the past.
This revolution was a happier moment. Then came the difficulties as well as the embargo from the United States.
The 50 years of the Revolution are celebrated by the Cuban embassy at UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
Many people crowded into the grand hall for the reception. Suddenly, I found myself face to face with the papal nuncio, who is the diplomatic representative of the Pope in France and I told him: « I am angry with the Church of Rome. It has made a series of blunders. What discredit for the Catholic Church! ». The papal nuncio answered me: « What the Pope wanted to say was not very well understood ».
I interrupted him. « Do not use this argument with me! As the papal nuncio, submit this question to the Pope and his councillors. Their interventions were a disaster. What a mess! I am ashamed. The papal nuncio kept silent. He was visibly annoyed
That made me thirsty. I decided I would take a drink at the buffet.
The 1959 Revolution remains the founding event for Cuba. The ambassador inspired himself from the great ideals of the Revolution to enlighten the future of the Cuban people. I think about the ideals of the French Revolution: "liberty, equality, fraternity". What have they become today?
The Cubans love their country. They are proud of their history. The future belongs to them.
Cuba libre
haute en page  
Geneva, the hometown of Calvin  
I was invited to preach in several local churches and to give a conference in a town hall room close to Geneva. There were many people attending these meetings.
Of course I was asked about some topical questions. The recent announcements from Rome continue to disturb and confuse the people. The excommunication launched by the Archbishop of Recife in Brazil and approved by a cardinal in Rome, is too much. Christians feel angry and show their indignation.
After upsetting the Moslems at Ratisbon, the Indians at Apparrecida, the Jewish several times (prayers for the Holy Friday, highly praise for Pope Pius XII) at their turn the Christians are scandalized. For them the decision of Benedict XVI to terminate the excommunication of 4 fundamentalist bishops of Bishop Lebevre was found inappropriate. Such a merciful gesture would be more credible for them if it were also applied to the theologians forbidden to teach, to the priests forbidden to celebrate mass, to remarried divorced couples not allowed to take communion...
However these Christians do not want to leave the Church. It is their family. They continue to like it.  
maturité des chrétiens I appreciate this maturity that makes them show their disagreements to the authorities although they stay faithful to the Church. The priests, as their pastors, make these expressions possible and encourage them to have a free speech.
The local churches are showing their vitality. I was astonished to see that.