From Sandro Magister at Chiesa
"No one would have bet on it. But after decades of invisibility and torpor, the French Catholic Church has returned vigorously to the public scene.
It was a minority and a minority it remains, in a country where less than 5 percent of the population goes to Sunday Mass, and where baptisms of children are increasingly rare.
But it is one thing to give up, to and another to be creative. That of "creative minority" is the future that pope Joseph Ratzinger himself has assigned to Catholicism in secularized regions. The Church of France is putting this to the test.
The turnaround came all of a sudden. One sign of foreshadowing was, in mid-August, the prayer that the archbishop of Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois (in the photo), had raised to Our Lady of the Assumption: "May children and young people cease to be the object of the desires and conflicts of adults, in order to enjoy fully the love of a father and mother." A furious controversy exploded, in a France on the path to legalizing marriage between persons of the same sex, with the possibility of adopting.
But the newspaper "Le Monde" also made a stir by entering the fray in defense of the archbishop, with a commentary signed by a famous literary critic who converted to Catholicism, Patrick Kechichian. "L'Osservatore Romano" reproduced the article on its front page.
The impression, however, was that everything could be reduced to the initiative of the cardinal. And that no one would march behind him.
But in the fall, everything changed. On November 7, gay marriage obtained the approval of the council of ministers. Cardinal Vingt-Trois protested to President François Hollande, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, and Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira, and made public what he had objected to them in private.
The archbishop responded to what the minister had told him, namely that "what is at stake is a reform of civilization," and said that he too thinks this way, that the issue is precisely this, of a radical change of the nature of man, of the sexes, of procreation. And therefore one cannot get carried away with an act of tyranny of such impact, deciding everything by a majority with a margin of 1 or 2 percent.
To Minister Taubira, who told him: "We are not touching the Bible," the cardinal rebutted that not even he was bringing this into discussion: "It is a question that concerns man, and this is enough."
And this is precisely what is new. Against the law on gay marriage a resistance is mobilizing that is not confessional, but humanistic, of men and women with the most varied visions of the world...." [Read it all here]