The Diary of Father Congar
A priest, friend of mine, read the theological diary of Father
Congar when it was just coming from the press. He wrote to me:
" It is distressing, can this come back?"
I started to read these horrendous passages written during the
dark hours of the Roman Church (1946-1956). The Curia and their
devoted servants were humiliating the Dominican priest without
letting him know what exactly his fault was. Father Congar was
reduced to silence. He had to experience exile, solitude, and
disarray. The letter that he wrote to his mother for her 80 birthday
is distressing: "They practically destroyed me as much
as they could. All That I worked for has been removed from me:
ecumenism, teaching, lecturing, preaching the priests and collaboration
with the newspaper Temoignage Chretien. They did not get my body
and in principle neither my soul, I was never asked anything.
But the personality of a man is not limited to his own skin and
to his soul, more so when this man is an apostle of the doctrine,
that is his action, his friends, his relationships, his normal
way to communicate. They removed all that from me, they had no
respect for all that and they profoundly wounded me. They reduced
me to nothing and then they destroyed me".
How much this man has suffered from the Church, this Church to
what he had devoted his life! A short while after his death in
1995, a Dominican friar said to me: " Father Congar wrote
to you when you were dismissed by Rome.
I believe he would have appreciated to have an answer from
you" Unfortunately this letter never reached me, I will
never know its content!
The orchard of Spain
- I went to Murcia, capital of the region and the orchard
of Spain. I was still remembering the drama that recently happened
there: the tragic death of twelve people from Equator crammed
together in a delivery van.
After a lecture during the Cultural Week on Immigration, I met
immigrants without a legal permit, a majority from Equator, they
had occupied a church. They were appreciating very much my visit;
probably they could see that I considered them like brothers
not like problems. Although without a legal permit they keep
their dignity. They asked me to bless their food that was generously
offered to them.
In Molina, twenty kilometers away, about fifty immigrants were
also occupying a church. They knew that the new Spanish law on
immigration was condemning them to become illegal persons or
to be expulsed. They were becoming illegal.
I said" It is not you who are dangerous, it is
the law that is dangerous!" They well received my message!
With the help of the population, and in relationships with other
foreigners taking a refuge in the churches of Barcelona, they
decided to resist.
Sunday morning, in the sunshine, there is a demonstration in
front of the Saint Dominique church in Murcia. One can read on
the banners: "Papeles, para todos" (a legal
permit for all).
Before leaving, I left a message: "when we struggle together
we often win"
A secular spirituality
I met in Cannes the masons from different lodges of the Cote
d'Azur. To accommodate the number of people, the room in the
basement was installed with audio-visual presentations. I was
given the theme of my speech: "Does Man needs a religion?
As often the questions are much more informative. Not believing
in God does not mean necessarily that you are not having some
spirituality. Not belonging to a Church does not mean that you
have no belief. One can reject dogmas and so-called revealed
religions without given up some transcendence; a transcendence
without God. It is a secular spirituality, it is a wisdom built
on values that respect the dignity of the other man.
After the meeting we had a friendly and happy meal together.
It is late when the "Worshipful master" lead me to
his home in the countryside. The Bay of Cannes offered its magnificent
landscape to feast our yes, the mimosas were in full bloom
In the Court
On the train to Montpellier, there was sitting in front of
me a wonderful comedian.
Both of us were going to the trial of Jose Bove (speaker of a
Farmers Union: Confederation Paysanne) and his followers.
This comedian will play the part of Punch in a Punch and Judy
show, where Judy is accused of devastating a field of popcorn.
They will play for the public on the esplanade in front of the
Corum. They will make a mockery of the trial, a joke against
the powerful ones!
I went rapidly to the law courts closely surrounded by the police.
A liturgy was going to start with the hearing of the witnesses.
What a free speech! Every body could recognize the amount of
experience, of struggles and of suffering of these people. For
instance a women from Mauritania spoke about distressed peasants
deprived of their possessions, who struggle to live without the
possibility to organize themselves and to fight: the revolt of
the Farmers Union give them some hope she said.
The right is some thing that needs to be built, even
transformed. History tells that struggles, revolts have allowed
the evolution of the right towards a new right. Yesterday it
was the right to have a home, now it is the right to eat healthy
food, the right of the people to be able to feed themselves.
A great moment will be the speeches for the defense by the six
lawyers. They will recall that Justice is to respect the right
and it is also giving the right to those who are deprived of
In the given circumstances, the accused persons conducted a legitimate
action. Jean-Jacques Rousseau had said: "If the people
make the promise to abide by, they destroy themselves and they
lose the quality to be people"
Outside, the Carnival against the global economy is ready, with
a joyful crowd. Of course Mister Punch is sure to have a great