Log-book: April 1999
HOMELESS ARE SQUATTING IN AN HOTEL
Around 20 young people squatted in an empty and shabby hotel down town
of Carcassonne. They are homeless, jobless and penniless but they have brought
their animals with them and are full of projects. They want to stay together
and they want to transform the left-over building into a social hotel for
young people living on the street. Under their request I came to Carcassonne
to spend a day with them and to show my solidarity. All those who were concerned
by the project : from the Prefecture (Head of the County) to the Town Hall,
from Associations to ad-hoc Committees, they met together and decided to
set a pilot-committee. During a public meeting, the person in charge for
the young people spoke and presented their project for a social hotel. He
did it with much conviction and accuracy . Why not to be delighted for this
action, if it works that will be a premiere in France.
AT THE FNAC SHOP OF DIJON
Between two trains, I was attending a meeting organized by the retail
sale shop FNAC for the publishing of my last book. The place is friendly:
the room is full, we are all piled up and the discussion very open. Several
questions surprised me and made me think. "How it happens that Christians
leave the Church but keep the Gospel? The Church would be out of date and
the Gospel a topic? The Church would not accept those who are drop outs
but those ones found themselves at ease with the Gospel. Isn't it strange?
I learned by experience that the Gospel is abrupt and the words of Jesus
hard to follow. Isn't the Gospel a subject of division?
MEETING AT RETINE (Belgium)
The evening meeting is well organized, almost 700 people are there. During
the discussion I feel the suffering endured by the priests or laymen from
the Church. There is no aggressiveness but a deep disappointment. It is
good that this suffering can be expressed in front of everybody, truthfully
and with friendly understanding. At the end I felt some kind of hope among
the people. Hope build up through bad times and conflicts when the future
seems to be closed, doesn't it?
AT THE COLLEGIATE CHURCH OF DINANT (Belgium)
We are full of admiration for the collegiate church erected between the rocs and the river Meuse. The assembly take seat and by its presence fulfill the beauty of the place. In presence of the Bishop of Namur, I speak about the drop outs. A question could not escape to be raised this evening: why the Vatican contacted the British government to drop the action against General Pinochet?
The lack of understanding by and the disapproval of many Catholics for
this intervention is a sign of the desire for a Church more credible, that
is to say a Church genuine in every situation. The Church at Rome never
spoke to defend the memory of the victims during 17 years of dictatorship
AT THE PALAIS DE CHAILLOT THEATER
Than a delegation sent by the demonstrators arrived on the stage. Michel Picoli introduced our non-expected demonstration. He read a message in favour of these people from Yehudi Menuhin sent two days before his death. Then a timid young Algerian briefly spoke about their hopeless situation. At this moment I heard only whistles and bad remarks from the spectators: " Enough! Out! No politics here! We came for a show" Of course there were some applause but harmony was broken by the sudden coming of the demonstrators. What would have said Moliere about these people so "avaricious" of citizenship?
PS: Partenia some figures, 1998
Total number of pages presented in seven laguages on the WEB last year: 66 430
Total number of visitors last year: 114 000
Increase of visitors last year: 22'000
Month average of visitors: 9 500
Number of e-mail messages received by Bishop Jacques Gaillot: 2 500
Number of e-mail messages received by the Webmaster: 1 460
Active Forum members form October 1 to December 31, 1998: 393