Log-book: April 1998
|Seville||The plagiarism case|
|Partenia: some figures|
What a lot of enchantment this city of Andalusia exudes ! Both during the day and in the evening. When evening comes, the squares of the centre of the town seem to belong to the young who gather there in great numbers, shoulder to shoulder ! It is really impressive !
I was invited to go by the base Christian communities of Seville, and met them in a parish on the outskirts of the town. When these Christians gather together, they find joy in the meeting. When they disperse, they remain linked to each other in a network. They are never alone.
Before sharing the food that they had brought with them, we listened to the Gospel of the day. I admire their way of establishing a connection between the Gospel and life. For them, human life is the place of faith. They invite me to say some words, welcoming someone who has come from other places, as they are keen to hear about different experiences of life in the Church. Before the Eucharist, the assembly shows its generosity by making a collection which they ask me to take to Chiapas.
The Migrant Association received me in their headquarters where many young Moroccans are welcomed. Seville is not far from Morocco. The political authorities are getting harsher with regard those foreigners who are in an irregular situation. In Andalusia alone, in 1997, 17 000 migrants holding no papers were expelled. But many return ! And during 1997, about 100 were drowned or disappeared at sea.
The day closes with a talk at the University, which was followed by a very animated debate. On the following day, it was the turn of the communities of the Malaga region to gather in Antequera (160 kms from Seville). A great moment of joy and of evangelical simplicity.
That evening, a meeting had been arranged with young people from Valenciana, in the square facing the cathedral of Seville. A lot of people are still gathered together. I recall the legend of Dostoievski's Grand Inquisitor . Jesus is there, in this prestigious square, in the midst of the crowd. Everyone recognises him with secret joy in their hearts. There is a murmur of happiness. But the Grand Inquisitor appears and asks him to leave; Jesus should not be there, he made a mistake in appealing for freedom and for responsibility, the people are there to obey. The institution has taken hold of everything. Incense replaces prayer. Rites replace faith. Order is re-established... Jesus remains silent just as he did during his passion. He leaves. Because he is trusting and gives us the freedom to take our destiny into our own hands...It is getting late when I meet the young people of the Valenciana community. But it is never to late for a feast. Especially when in Andalusia.
THE PLAGIARISM CASE
- Soon after your most recent book was published "The last temptation of the Devil", you were accused of plagiarizing a book by an academic from Lyon. What exactly happened ?
The Director of the Publishing House Editions nº 1 asked me to write a book on the place of the devil in society and the role of satanic sects. He asked me to give voice to a man of the Church about these matters. He said that I could be aided by researchers.
In order to prepare this book, I gathered around me a team so as to be able to approach the universe of the devil about which I was ignorant. This book is the result of enthusiasm but also of dread. Our starting point was a sense of indignation over the profanation of the Carpentras cemetery...
That is how I expressed myself in the first chapter, page 17, of my book. But an indelicate researcher supplied me with some documentation which in fact was not his, thus abusing my confidence. It had been plagiarized.
What dispositions did you take ?
I accepted all interviews requested by the media and explained exactly what had happened. And, at once I demanded that a radical decision be taken: I asked that the book should stop being sold and retrieved from the book shops at once, so that public opinion could be correctly informed.
Could you give us more information on your books ?
There are books which I personally wrote entirely on my own, which in fact is the easiest way for me. That was the case with "Faith without Frontiers" which is made up of my contribution to a retreat I gave to priests in Algeria.
Others are the result of an interview. That makes things more complicated when I have not previously met the person who interviews me. That was the case of the book "I take the freedom" when the journalist led me down unexpected paths and asked me to deal with matters that were of no interest to me.
Then there are books that are the result of team work. These are the most difficult ones for me. Thus for "The last temptation of the devil" I asked for the printing to be postponed because I was not satisfied with the work. It is not easy to produce work together with people who hold a variety of different outlooks and styles.
I would like to ask you a frank question. What do you do with the copyright income of your various books ?
In every case, the money goes to human rights organisations and to Partenia.
Looking back, what do you think of all this "affair"?
One can stop a book from being sold but one cannot stop the word. Before an obstacle, the word bounces up, opens way, and gives rise to other words. This event has meant that I have heard unexpected and strong words.
Looking at this from a wider angle, plagiarism publicly poses the question of the role of editors. Nowadays, these count more and more on helpers who do not have the time to carry out a proper research task.
The fact remains that this affair has thrown discredit on me and on the other books I have written. But this episode has not halted the way. Another book is already being prepared. And I will still be sufficiently audacious to sign it.
This interview was prepared by the Partenia team.
PS: Partenia some figures, 1997
Total number of pages published monthly on the WEB last year: 175
Total number of pages presented in seven laguages on the WEB last year: 63'875
Total number of visitors last year: 92'000
Increase of visitors last year: 22'000
Monthly average of visitors: 7'660
Number of e-mail messages received by Bishop Jacques Gaillot: 2'300
Number of e-mail messages received by the Webmaster: 346