Log-book: October 2000

  An organization against expulsion  At Lourdes 
  First Letter to the Corinthians  Baptism 
  French Bibliography  Archives of Partenia 
  History of Partenia, Biography of Bishop Jacques Gaillot 





An organization against expulsion

Each week, activists are found in Charles de Gaulle Airport to oppose against sending back the illegal immigrants. They inform the passengers waiting for departure to Bamako, Ouagadougou …and start to distribute leaflets. " Some illegal immigrants are going to travel with you, often hidden by a curtain at the back of the aircraft, they will be hand cuffed, their mouth will be taped or they will be drugged. We ask you to refuse to fasten your seat belts and to stand up. Never argue with the police. In seeing your determination, the captain will decide to remove these immigrants from the aircraft."
These activists addressed themselves equally to the employees of the Airline companies. The immigration Police (PAF) at Roissy Airport quickly check their identity and protect the places of departure. Thirteen of them will have to appear to the Administrative Court in Aulnay sous Bois under the strange accusation of " unrightfully use of airport area"!
One Sunday morning we found ourselves near the center of Roissy at the moment of the departure of the flight to Bamako-Ouagadougou. There were a lot of African passengers surrounded by their luggage. The ritual of the day starts, distribution of the leaflets, information, slogans sound all around the lounge: "expulse illegal immigrants = assassinate immigrants, Passengers makes a stand = no expulsion"
The group of activists moves on through the different lounges, with banners held high over their heads. The police follow, running to overtake and to protect the departure zone but do not intervene at any time. The passengers listen and receive information with interest. For a lot of them it is a discovery.
These young activists have no real interest in the churches but I admire them for the way they care for these men.






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At Lourdes

The Bishop of Lourdes invited me to chair the international mass. It was an occasion for me to show the ecclesiastic communion. In the Basilica underground there is a crowd on this special day.
I have lost the habit of wearing a ceremonial miter with a staff among the Bishops. At my side is an Italian Bishop, Mgr. Bertone, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He gave me a smile; he was surprised to see me there. " I am often where nobody expects me". "Do you want to say to the cardinal Ratzinger that I have met you and that I have celebrated with you?" " Certainly" "I am able to tell you that I appreciate what you have done"
The procession starts to move, the liturgy unfolds in beauty, and in different languages and symbols that every body can see thanks to the giant screens.
In the evening in spite of the threat of a storm, I would not like to miss the procession of the people holding candles. It is always some thing that I enjoy when I am in Lourdes. The people are joyful and get together to march with lighted candles into the night. The children are happy. All is simple and full of meaning.
A popular celebration understood by all, that would please Mary….




First Letter to the Corinthians

In the car that I took to go back to Paris, the driver, a companion who took my side in many struggles, told me: " A publisher asked me to make a preface for the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians. He wants to publish in parts the texts of the New Testament with a preface for a low price"
My companion is a scientist who admits without hesitation that he is an agnostic. " I had never read before the First Letter to the Corinthians. After reading I felt very disappointed. The manner of which St Paul was exerting his power, what he was saying about the women…. I have done a preface of six pages severe enough" After listening I was surprised. This letter remind me of the famous chapter 13 about charity" If I have not love, I am nothing" And specially the exceptional experience that Paul had of the mystery of God" The Spirit of God sees at the heart of all things and even the depths of God. Nobody knows what there is in God except the Spirit. Then we are grateful of the gift that God gave us"
My surprise was to see that a publisher does not address to a Bible specialist. I overcame my first reaction. What we believe was ours, does not belong to us. The Bible belongs to humanity, like Jesus himself. We do not have the monopoly. Even if Paul is provoked that will not stop the word of God to follow his course and to attract people. 





Somewhere in the High-Alps, a young couple tend their goats and two cows, they make cheese. Living close to nature, the quality of life is important for them. They are very active in the Farmers League.
She would like to baptize her two children, he does not agree, he does not want to force them, but a woman can be very persuasive.
Then he insisted that I came for the baptism. Family and friends are now mounting the hill where there is an old chapel at its summit. The sun is shining its brilliance; the Ecrin Mountains offer to us a marvelous spectacle. The young couple greets the guests and gives thanks to the vicar who is very happy to be with us. In the small chapel we are packed close to each other. I don't feel like following all the ritual, every thing goes naturally, the words are easy and meaningful, the symbols are easily understood. This atmosphere of friendship and prayer takes even the young baptized children. We descend the hill, happy for what we have celebrated together. A roast lamb is waiting for us; happiness does not cost much.