Letter: February 2002
Seven years ago...





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il y a sept ans... 
Seven years ago, on January 13, 1995, Jacques Gaillot, Bishop of Evreux since 1982, was dismissed by the Vatican and was given the title of Bishop of Partenia, a North African bishopric that has disappeared since the sixth century. This unusual event raised a lot of comments in France and abroad, a majority of them expressing indignation. For many, believers or not, the decision made by Rome was unfair: not only because Jacques Gaillot had been specially an active Pastor in Evreux, well aware of contemporary society but also because his actions and writings were in close conformity with the teaching of the Gospel. The public opinion was receptive to his actions in favor of the poor, the sick, the foreigner, the excluded and the "sinner".
Various spontaneous demonstrations took place in Evreux and in front of most of the bishoprics in France. Many Bishops were asked to give some explanation on the legacy of this measure but also on its conformity with the application of Vatican Council II where the emphasis was made on the common solidarity and action of the Bishops. This was a turning point for an Institution used to being strongly centralized and hierarchical. Many associations began to sustain Partenia and struggled to avoid the covering-up of the "Gaillot Affaire". In fact there has been numerous mailings, letters, petitions, sent to the Vatican, the Nonce, the bishops, the newspapers and to Jacques Gaillot himself. All that indicates that what happened on January 1995 is not an incident in the life of the Church to be quickly forgotten but an event that is still continuing. After seven years, those having some responsibility in the Church cannot ignore it. Being a friend of Jacques Gaillot, a Christian and an historian by profession, I decided, in agreement with my friends of "Partenia 2000 in Paris", to write a book simply titled:
" Jacques Gaillot" It will be released on February 15, 2002 by the publisher, Desclée de Brouwer of Paris.

Pierre Pierrard