Log-book: March 2004

  Working priests Demonstration against the ban of the veil
  The will to succeed  Freedom for Cesare Battisti
  French Bibliography  Archives of Partenia 




The Bible

Special Edition

Working priests

Fifty years ago, on March 1st 1954, it was the brutal condemnation of the working priests. The decision was final and was imposed by Pope Pius X11. It was a tragedy. They were one hundred or so. A little more than half of them decided to stay at work. I know one of them very well who has always been a courageous witness of the Gospel.

compagnons de travail Today, they are few in number. Those who have been there from the beginning wanted to tell the others the importance of their choice. 

Being there with their fellow workers, they have been witnesses to their values: " solidarity at work and in everyday life, a dignity offended in many circumstances but always asserted and most of all, the appeal for justice that is believed to be a right and not a charitable cause that is humiliating.".
These working priests, rejected by the institution, have been a presence in an unfamiliar environment to the Church.
I was touched by their final declaration: " One fact is clear to us: it is the incapacity for the institutional Church to accept other cultures and the will of man to be part, in a free and responsible way, of the construction of the world. After putting away any resentment, it can be said that these years have brought us peace ".






send email


Demonstration against the ban of the veil
The procession was going towards place de la Nation. There were many women wearing their veil. I was reading with interest the inscriptions on the banners. I was listening to the speeches.
" Nobody is being fooled: the law banning ostentatious religious signs at school is above all aimed at the Islamic veil. The issue for the last six months has been only the veil. No matter what we think of wearing the veil and of refusing to take it off at school, this refusal does not justify a serious measure like the expulsion from state school. "

porter le foulard It is even more interesting to hear what the women are saying: " this law is being presented as a " feminist " measure, intending to promote equality of rights between men and women by attacking a symbol of oppression. 
If we refuse that women are obligated to wear the veil, we also refuse that they be obligated to take the veil off. We cannot be liberated by repression but by obtaining our rights. The great feminist movements have never been done through a request of repression against us : we have always fought to gain our rights ".
One thing is certain for these women: the law that is in preparation will solve nothing.



The will to succeed

I met a friend who is the principal of a college in the suburbs. He is young and for the last four years, has been fighting to change the bad image of the college.

la volonté de réussir A great number of his 450 students are of Maghrebian or African origin. Some thirty or so deaf students have been accepted recently in the school. The students come from families in difficulty. Very often the mother is the only one to raise the child. 

The principal is not very tall and seems frail in appearance. But what inner energy he has ! He is afraid of nothing. When there is a scuffle in the schoolyard, you should see him plunge into the fray and he wins the respect of everyone. He knows everyone by name and he never makes a mistake when he calls a student by name. " Yet, he tells me, everybody's name is not Mohammed or Fatima! " That is where his strength lies.

He wants to be present as much as he can to all students, not only in the schoolyard but also after school. Sometimes, he gets discouraged. When violence has fallen notably, then it reappears. When classes are finished and students go out, if it is snowing some students put rocks in snowballs and throw them at car windows.
Students know very well his words that show his ambition for them: " You must find a way out " " You can do it ".

One success that is clear: the catholic schools that cater to a population with greater means, do not hesitate anymore to send to his college the students they don't want in their schools.
Television reporters request interviews in his college about the Islamic veil. They are met by his refusal because no girl is wearing the veil. The reporters are deceived!




Freedom for Cesare Battisti

This Italian came to France 14 years ago because the Republic, in the person of its president of that period, had decided to grant political asylum to men and women threatened heavily by the Italian justice. In 1991, the Court of Appeal of Paris gave a notice unfavourable to his extradition.

Cesare Battisti Cesare Battisti was then arrested as he was taking his mail out of his mailbox. He is now detained in the Prison of Santé in Paris.
It is unacceptable that France today betrays those who were greeted. Justice is coming back on his own decision.

Cesare is a writer, he has a family and lives like everyone else. He has not betrayed the confidence put in him.
This created a great stir in the Italian community and among many of his friends. The Italian political refugees are frightened. Tomorrow, it might be their turn. One cannot play with the life of individuals.
Immediately, resistance gets organized. One Saturday afternoon, although there was an important rugby game and it was the school holidays, two hundred persons gathered in the House of the Associations. Solidarity gets the people together. A number of actions are put in place.
An unauthorized demonstration is being planned to take place in front of the Prison of Santé of Paris to demand that Cesar be released temporarily while he is waiting to appear in Court.