“He is the first head of state to visit the Shrine,” declares the Rector of Lourdes. Is Macron already in a political campaign?
Newsdesk (July 15, 2021 4:17 PM, Gaudium Press) Public relations between the Church and the government of Emmanuel Macron have been stormy. Not precisely in the Latin sense, but rather in the best French style: at times with elegance and discretion and a ‘glove of silk’ touch. And also at times, with the cold and dry ruthlessness shown by famous revolutionaries, such as Robespierre.
French Catholics do not forget how during COVID 19, in an absolutist fashion, the Macron government limited the attendance of worshippers to a ridiculous 30 people so that the large Church of St. Eustatius in Central Paris was treated like any little chapel on any rural pilgrim road. And that was only after appealing to the Council of State that the government-backed off the measure.
Nor do French Catholics forget that churches were still forbidden to open for worship when it was already possible to attend many recreational sites. Only after the spontaneous public demonstrations of the faithful all over France did the government give way inch by inch reluctantly.
So now… Macron will go to Lourdes. Tomorrow.
“Has Emmanuel Macron already started his electoral campaign ?” Catholic media. Famille Chrétienne wonders if the now not-so-prestigious French president may be looking to win back the Catholic electorate.
Catholics, who are forgiving but not foolish and have a good memory – remember how something similar took place on the feast of Saint Joan of Arc, 6 months before Macron announced his candidacy, back in 2017. Indeed, less than a year before the next presidential contest, the same movie rolls again, and France “remains the Church’s firstborn daughter.”
Even more: his visit to Lourdes coincides with a two-day trip to the Pyrenees where he will also meet – by chance, of course – the world-famous Tour de France. As Politicians say: “every vote counts.”
Lourdes’ Shrine Rector
“This place is certainly very important for Catholics, but it is also the heart of the territory’s economic influence,” says the Rector of Lourdes Shrine, Bishop Olivier Ribadeau Dumas. He is “delighted” to welcome the President of a Nation (France!) that once crowned the goddess of reason at the very Notre Dame of Paris.
“Emmanuel Macron is the first head of state to come to the shrine; other presidents have come to receive the Popes, but have remained at the airport,” the rector continues.
It is a historical fact and one that should be recorded. Suddenly, the Immaculate Conception performs another of her many miracles.
In any case, the fact cannot be denied: Macron’s visit to Lourdes takes Catholicism into account, even in a completely secularized France.
By Saúl Castiblanco/Gaudiumpress
Compiled by Gustavo Kralj