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Monday, January 12, 2015

French Jesuit journal publishes anti-Catholic cartoons in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo

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"We are Charlie"
How not to be indignant at the murder committed in cold blood? The attack that killed 12 people in the editorial office of Charlie Hebdo fills us with horror. As a result of a newspaper and its options, it is freedom of expression that is subject to terrorism. Unanimous reactions that have arisen, from right and left, among believers as from unbelievers, call out not to give in to fear and to defend a plural society.

We have decided to put online [on our site] a few cartoons of Charlie Hebdo that relate to Catholicism. It is a sign of strength to be able to laugh at some traits of the institution to which we belong, because it is a way of saying that what we value is beyond always transient and imperfect forms. Humour regarding faith is a good antidote to fanaticism and a spirit of seriousness which tends to take everything literally.

We express our solidarity with our murdered brothers , the other victims, their families and friends.
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Cathcon: The Jesuits here have an "it's complicated" relationship with the Church like almost all in their order.  Charlie Hebdo comes out of the French tradition of laicity dominated by socialism, which originated in the blood-drenched French Revolution.   This same tradition which committed the odious sin of regicide and gave the Church new martyrs during the Revolution thought nothing of expelling the religious orders from France in 1905.    During the French Revolution itself, malicious cartoons circulating about the King and Queen created the climate for their eventual deaths.

They also campaigned for the banning of the Front National, France's right wing political party.  While the party to which I belong, UKIP rejects outright any deal with the Front National on the grounds that they are too extreme, one can but wonder at the inconsistency.

The Front National comes out of another French tradition, that of Charles Maurras who in the end rejected both monarchy and church in favour of secular solutions.

A most vivid parallel of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons about Catholicism are the anti-Catholic cartoons which the Nazis circulated about the Catholic Church in the 1930s accusing her of systematic child abuse.  In those days the accusation was untrue, only to be made a reality in the post-conciliar church.

That said, satire which exposes an ugliness, proclaims a truth and is done from a love of that which is good has a role.  Without satire creating a climate of opinion, there is every chance that the sexual abuse scandal of the church would have been swept under the carpet.   The cartoons here are removed from this satirical ideal.  While the Vicar of Christ did indeed turn World Youth Day into a carnival the motivations for portraying him like this are darker and deeper.

I have a long history on this blog and elsewhere protesting at blasphemous texts and artworks.   Indeed, I was on Flemish TV outside one particular theatre protesting against a play which implied the Virgin Mary was not. I asked "What will become of Flanders, if Flanders is no longer Catholic?" Asking a similar question this week about France, someone commented that the more accurate question would be, "What will become of France, now that France is no longer Catholic?"  I would not resort to violence to make my point for that is a form of coercion, even worse than state coercion.  St Thomas Aquinas tells us that in the end persuasion is the only path, for the Faith of those that are persuaded will endure, but those who are coerced will revert to their former state.

Our Lady of France and All Martyrs of the Revolution pray for the repose of the souls of those who died!

See also the Hypocrites of Paris
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