Special edition for the 1st January 2005

  1995 - 2005: 10 years at the service of exclusion


in french: click and listen to Jacques Gaillot 




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1995 - 2005: 10 years at the service of exclusion

Ten years ago, you were called to go to Rome. What memory do you keep of this meeting you had at the Vatican?

Vatican I attended a trial with no counsel for my defence and a sanction with no appeal. In half an hour everything was finished. The round-trip Evreux-Rome by night train only served me from hearing the sentence: « Tomorrow, you will cease to be Bishop of Evreux at noon.» 

I did not expect that. A scandal. I felt this was unjust. This feeling of injustice will affect many people. By removing me from my office, other people also will feel they were sanctioned.
Then I said to myself: «Today, we must build tomorrow. This is the beginning of a new life. There is not a minute to lose! »

Soon after returning to France, thousands of people felt mobilized to support you. What souvenir do you have of these demonstrations during your last Episcopal mass at Evreux?

I remember first an occupied bishop's palace. Coming back from Rome I was in a hurry to get back to Evreux. For the first time I could not enter the palace: the crowd had invaded it as soon they learned the news by the media. People were in every room. 

à Evreux

dernière messe Then the last mass in the Cathedral: it represents for me the great times of Evreux, the most beautiful Pentecost of my life. They were non-believers inside and believers outside the church. Boundaries had fallen. All a people had risen up and spoke out.  

In 2000, Mgr. Bille, President of the Conference of the French Bishop, recalled that you are a "brother among the Bishops of France". In 2005 what brotherly message would you like to send to your brothers in the episcopate?

I will not allow myself to send a message to the Bishops. I have already shared my experience. My attention is not focused on the institution and the Roman Catholic Church is my family.

Eglise est ma famille 

When one starts from the world of the exclusion, every thing in the Church can be transformed. The cultural evolutions offer an opportunity to come back to the Gospel, to discover new ways of living, to be more creative, to be able to do new things « To new wine new barrels!»

Since 10 years, Partenia has become an association to help those who are « without» What is the word of Jesus that guides you every day in your mission as a Bishop?

«What you have done to the most humble one of mine, you did it to me» It is a word that stays in me.

avec les exclus 

By being in solidarity with all those that the society is continuously excluding, you cannot escape from being on the side of justice and peace. The future cannot be built on injustice. The Church is not really herself without the poor.