Log-book: April 2002

  Pius XII and the Shoah  A trial in Pau 
  An Ecumenical meeting in Geneva 
  French Bibliography  Archives of Partenia 




The Bible

Special Edition

Pius XII and the Shoah

le film "Amen"  Having to be questioned about the film "Amen" from Costa Gavras by the radio station Europe 1, I decided to go and see it. The cinema was full. Two young couples seemed happy to see me there. One of them said to me: " I have three bad points against the Church: the celibacy of the priests, its wealth and its passivity towards the excluded persons." 

I appreciated this film which is not a caricature. I could feel how it is difficult to make people aware of the danger. Persons in charge may be accurately informed, they are afraid to face reality. I think that Pius XII was well informed and not only him. But he was a diplomat. A diplomat cannot speak out, cannot invite resistance and preach for the revolt. Diplomacy does not go well with the Gospel.

A diplomat takes time to consult. He contacts the embassies. His speech is moderate, often coded like the Christmas sermon of Pius XII, without a word for the Jews, for the extermination camps. 

images du film

If Pius XII had clearly spoken about the drama of the Jews, Catholics and people of good will would have been made aware of what was going on. Many would have become resistant and tens of thousands of Jews would have been saved.






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A trial in Pau
For the first time I saw Juan Mari Olano, a Basque from the South, handcuffed, he was waiting for his trial inside the court. Instead Professor Schwartzenberg and I were seating in comfortable armchairs. Juan smiled at me. I used to write to him when he was in jail and I was told a lot about him from the Basque activists.

répression  Juan was in charge of an organization to help the Basques in jail for political reasons and to financially help their families. This organization was asking for an imprisonment of the Basques close to where their families were living. Juan was arrested during day time in Bayonne when he was doing his job as usual. 
Why a legal organization for 20 years was suddenly becoming illegal? One could see the consequences of the September 11 attack. The Spanish government was asking his extradition and the court had to make a decision.

The five lawyers, French and Europeans, pleaded against the extradition. But it was known that this trial was political, it was the symbol of the present repression against the Basques.
The lawyers pleaded well and with emotion, but it was too long! The President of the Court was becoming impatient, the Professor fell asleep although the young activists who filled the court room were listening quietly.
The lawyers requested a temporary release for Juan. The jury retired to consider its verdict. We had to wait three quarters of an hour to hear that the temporary release was refused. What a disappointment! 

la prison

menottes  Juan got up, he was handcuffed again, and went back to jail and all the people in the room stood up to applaud him. He was a symbol of their struggle. 

Outside in the street, there were banners and pamphlets distributed to the people. In front of a Basque assembly, I made a speech to underline their determination . Their struggle will be long and difficult but not in vain.



An Ecumenical meeting in Geneva

The Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical communities were celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Ecumenical Center of Meyerin, a city of 20 000 people about 6 km away from Geneva. I was admiring all what I saw and heard. Nothing could replace experience, sharing and actions conducted in common.

célébration oecuménique 

In spite of unavoidable difficulties, the practice of life and prayers in common had irreversibly transformed them.
My evening speech made me full of joy: so many people were listening to my comments on the "Sermon on the mount" In a society invaded by so much violence, how to be initiated to non violence? How to overcome the bad by the good?

The Ecumenical celebration on Sunday morning demonstrated a Pentecost inspiration. I thanks God for what was happening.