Log-book: January 2001

  With the freemasons  The Adda'Wa mosque in Paris 
  A demonstration in front of the Santé jail in Paris
  An evening discussion with students 
  French Bibliography  Archives of Partenia 
  History of Partenia, Biography of Bishop Jacques Gaillot 





Special Edition

With the freemasons

They are all dressed in black, imposing, straight, grave. They belong to different lodges. Some of them came from far away.
I feel we need to be more familiar, that I need to let me be welcome. That will happen progressively during the discussion, with more humanity between us. The meal will achieve this by bringing some fraternity and joy to the meeting.
During the evening, listening to their questions, I was telling myself: what image of the Church do they have? Likely an image of a Church imposing its power on the people, making them suffering…
As always you make your own personality through the dialogue with others, by meeting the other, I become myself. I need them and they need me. At the end, a freemason confided in me: "You brought me closer to the Church".






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The Adda' Wa mosque in Paris  Mosque 

I am invited every year to attend the daily break of fasting during the Ramada at the cultural center of the Adda'Wa mosque. 300 people gather in a well-decorated room. The meeting presents an ecumenical character not only for the Jews, Christians and Moslems who are attending and also that they are representatives from cultural and political associations.
It is a pleasure to meet again the Rector of the mosque, Larbi Kechat, a long time friend. I appreciate his faith in God, his attitude of respect for the others and his tolerance.
After an excellent couscous meal, the speakers intervene on the theme: "For a responsible citizenship" I chose to speak about those who have no access to a citizenship.
During this friendly evening, I was thinking about those who are afraid of Islam, they sometimes ask me to be careful about it. I would like them to be there to discover another face of Islam, an Islam offering a climate of respect and tolerance easy to live with.





In Evreux or elsewhere I continue to be in a turbulent area. A pedophile priest is a very serious affair and we know that a young boy has been his victim. This young boy was courageous in breaking the wall of silence and went to seek justice. With his family, the diocese of Evreux, I am very saddened. Having accepted this priest from Quebec in the diocese, and having given him the responsibility of a parish, it is normal that I am on the front line. The media took over this affair. With my lawyer we wrote on December 8, 2000 a press release describing how the decision was taken:
"Before deciding to welcome Denis Vadeboncoeur in Evreux, I received some incomplete pieces of information on his short term jail sentence in Quebec.
I put trust in this priest who really wanted to start a new life. With the agreement of his religious superior and my episcopal council, Denis Vadeboncoeur was then accepted into the diocese.
It is only later that I received more detailed information. Nevertheless, looking at his will to be reintegrated and the lack of criticism from his parishioners, I did not think it necessary to come back on my decision to accept him.
These last years, public opinion has been very sensitive about pedophilia. And it is much better. We understand better the damage brought by the acts of pedophilia to the young. Our responsibility has become greater on this matter. My thinking has changed and today I will not take the same decision.




 Derrière le mur de la prison A demonstration in front of the Santé jail in Paris. 

143 prisoners from Basque, Brittany and Corsica are dispersed in 28 French jails. They are separated from each other and far from their families.
This situation breaks the relationship of the prisoners with their original cultural and social environment, they become psychologically isolated. Living far away and having to pay for costly traveling, their families are also penalized.
The United Nations resolutions and the European Council had stated that prisoners should be kept close to their families to maintain and improve their relationships, but nothing is done.
We are facing the great wall of the jail on the other side of the street, displaying our banners. The police are there but leave us alone. On the upper floors, prisoners are watching us from behind bars. Through a loud speaker I speak to them, there is a huge clamor of response. A strange kind of communication but it has the advantage to tell them that they are not forgotten.




An evening discussion with students

Read also the story about "Homosexuality" from May 1998

A Gay association has been set up in a University close to Versailles. It is a premiere. This association organized an evening discussion on homosexuality and religions. Is there a room for homosexuals in religious communities? The lecture room is full. I am with a Protestant minister and the co-chairmen of "David and Jonathan" association of homosexual Christians.
The meeting is very interesting. Every body should listen to what was said. One does not choose to be homosexual: you have to accept it. A homosexual is not at all responsible of his/her sexual orientation that comes to him/her in his/her earliest years. By stating that heterosexuality is the unique expression of a "normal" sexuality has the consequence to make homosexuality a new heresy, a deviance.
The Bible does not speak much about homosexuality but only to severely condemn it.
The Church is blamed for mixed attitudes: keep to the doctrine and be compassionate. One can be compassionate in practice but doctrine should be safe. This way makes people feel guilty.
Homosexuality raises question because it is different. Is it taken into account? Why not recognize that happiness and mutual respect can exist in homosexuality? This evening discussion has to be followed.