To help you stay au courant of what French patriots are doing and saying in this time of turmoil and loss of nationhood. This website is for those with a limited knowledge of French and a boundless interest in saving European cultures from extinction. Leave a comment or send an e-mail to galliawatch.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Saint Martin's Restored
After all those churches vandalized it is refreshing to find one that has been restored. And from the photos it is quite beautiful. The Saint Martin church in the city of L'Isle-Adam, department of Val d'Oise, 32 kilometers from Paris, was first consecrated in 1499 by the bishop of Beauvais, and again in 1567. It was completely renovated between 1848 and 1885 and was classified as an historical monument on December 8, 1941. Another restoration began in 2010. The church was closed for eight months so that work could proceed uninterrupted, and the grand reopening took place on Palm Sunday. Above and below are a few photos from the parish website:
Note: I have added excerpts from the Pope's Easter speech to this post.
Check out the dozens of photos at Bivouac-Id of Muslims praying in Rome on Good Friday. These prayers took place before the Altar of the Fatherland, the huge white monument built to honor Victor-Emmanuel and 50 years of Italian unity. The construction spanned sixteen years from 1895 to 1911. The fact that the prayers took place there is regarded as a "declaration of war against the Italian Fatherland" by the authors of the video below. The fact that it took place on Holy Friday is a "declaration of war on all Christians".
The video was produced by Maxime Lépante, of Riposte Laïque, who made the many videos of Muslims praying in the streets of Paris. The text is simple: the Muslims gather, they lay down their tarps in the street. The muezzin calls them to prayer. The speaker at one point says that Islam does not treat women as objects, that objects do not say anything. At the end, a quote from Turkish Prime Minister Erbakan in 1989 that "Europe in its entirety will become Islamic. We will conquer Rome".
A Bivouac reader points out that another equally ominous event took place in Milan on Good Friday. For the first time in Italy, at 1:09 p.m., the call to prayer in Arabic was broadcast through loud speakers from the minaret of the Cascina Gobba mosque:
- Another provocation from the Muslim community that only confirms that Milan has become the capital of Islamic fanaticism of the Italian peninsula. The archbishop of Milan, Dionisio Tettamanzi, and the president of the Italian Commission of Bishops Ambogio Spreafico, are both favorable to the construction of a large mosque in the city. This article from Il Giornale, in Italian, has the whole story.
Update: April 26 - Pope Benedict XVI, in his Easter Sunday speech Urbi et Orbi, expressed the wish that refugees from the Middle East and North Africa be welcomed by people of good will. Here are the last two paragraphs of the speech, from the Vatican's website:
May the Land which was the first to be flooded by the light of the Risen One rejoice. May the splendour of Christ reach the peoples of the Middle East, so that the light of peace and of human dignity may overcome the darkness of division, hate and violence. In the current conflict in Libya, may diplomacy and dialogue take the place of arms and may those who suffer as a result of the conflict be given access to humanitarian aid. In the countries of northern Africa and the Middle East, may all citizens, especially young people, work to promote the common good and to build a society where poverty is defeated and every political choice is inspired by respect for the human person. May help come from all sides to those fleeing conflict and to refugees from various African countries who have been obliged to leave all that is dear to them; may people of good will open their hearts to welcome them, so that the pressing needs of so many brothers and sisters will be met with a concerted response in a spirit of solidarity; and may our words of comfort and appreciation reach all those who make such generous efforts and offer an exemplary witness in this regard.
May peaceful coexistence be restored among the peoples of Ivory Coast, where there is an urgent need to tread the path of reconciliation and pardon, in order to heal the deep wounds caused by the recent violence. May Japan find consolation and hope as it faces the dramatic consequences of the recent earthquake, along with other countries that in recent months have been tested by natural disasters which have sown pain and anguish.
While no one doubts the Pope's sincerity, it would be instructive to know what he thinks when he hears the call of the muezzin or when he sees so many discontented unassimilated Muslims praying in Rome on Good Friday. Especially since the mosques were empty, meaning that those out in the street did not have to be there.
So much has happened in France in the past eight days. Churches were vandalized, parishioners had to once again face the fact that going to Mass is potentially a dangerous activity. Parish priests had to deal with destruction by simply packing away all objects not nailed down. But at the same time, rebellion may be stirring in the hearts of frustrated Catholics and their clergy, as the double standard used against them by both government and media is becoming more and more blatant. Here is a summary of three churches vandalized during Holy Week:
During the weekend of April 16 in the city of Luçon a statue of the Virgin was shattered to the ground. It had been behind the church of the Sacre-Coeur. Pulled or pushed from its base, the head was found next to the day care center, The prefect of Vendée, Jean-Jacques Brot visited the site on Monday: "It is an odious act deliberately timed for Holy Week" he declared to the church volunteer workers. "It is also an affront on laïcité and on the republican pact." The bishop of Luçon deplored "the senselessness of such fury. We can only be saddened by this act of vandalism."
Another church in Vendée (below) was desecrated twice in two days. The local press report assumes the job was done by the "extreme right" because of the presence of satanic symbols:
Chalk inscriptions, satanic symbols of the extreme right. The Medieval church of Angles, between Longeville-sur-Mer and La Tranche-sur-Mer, in Vendée was attacked twice - Monday morning, the first set of inscriptions and graffiti were discovered, then a second set on Tuesday morning. "Satan", satanic pentacles, various Celtic crosses, a symbol adopted by various extreme right groups. Damage was found around the altar and some wooden benches. The town has filed a suit. The gendarmerie has opened an inquiry. The deputy prefect, Béatrice Lagarde "firmly condemns" these acts: "Whatever the religion or the place of worship, it is an attack on the principle of laïcité."
Worth noting: The author of the article has assimilated Celtic crosses with "satanic symbols". And the prefect wants it to be clear that it was an attack, not on Catholicism, but on laïcité!
Le Salon Beige wonders why no one has declared the graffiti to be "art".
A church in Seine-Saint-Denis was burglarized on Palm Sunday. If this was not upsetting enough it was the second time in less than two weeks that an assault had been perpetrated. In addition, the original article in Le Parisien suggested it was an act committed by Muslims. Soon thereafter, the paper deleted the reference, but several readers were quick enough to notice the deletion:
After Mass, the police arrived at the Saint John church in the Rose-des-Vents neighborhood, in Aulnay-sous-Bois. They began searching for clues to find the person or persons who had damaged a screen in the sacristy, broken two wooden crosses, and torn photos off the wall of Popes Jean-Paul II and Benedict XVI.
The attack aroused painful memories of a recent break-in. (…) It was the night of April 5. "Doors smashed, collection boxes pillaged, microphones stolen, a tabernacle destroyed." Ever since that day, nothing, not even money for candles is left out, explained Patrick Morvan, the priest in charge of the Saint-Sulpice parish and of all churches in Aulnay-sous-Bois. "If their goal is to rob, they are wasting their time. After Mass we pack up everything! This time we don't know how they got in, there was no trace of a break-in. Possibly they unlocked a door during the service…" It was Palm Sunday and the church was crowded.
One Le Parisien reader writes:
- The inscriptions they found were "Allah Akbar" (our God is the greatest) written in Arabic. You have to have mastered the language to write this type of message on the wall. It's true, actions like this one are very dangerous for Catholics and i's not getting any better.
- I agree completely. I'm an agnostic and I respect all religions. Why don't the media talk about it? As you say, whenever it affects another religion, they talk about it right away, but when it's a church, it's as if it didn't count at all. I don't understand this different treatment. Equality also means respect for ALL.
I'm working on a post that will probably not be ready for a day or two on the vandalism of churches during Holy Week in France. I will include also any information about the lawsuit being brought by AGRIF in protest of the Piss Christ. While Andres Serrano is certainly accountable for his work, he is not the major player in this. As always it the the authorities who have turned Catholicism into an enemy of the State and Islam into a friendly power. Here is the real problem, and one that cannot be resolved in the current political structure.
Thanks to zazie and dauphin for their help and for these Easter contributions.
Eric Zemmour, France's most outspoken journalist, weighs in on the Piss Christ controversy. Despite the many good things he says, he seems to have missed the boat on several points:
The video (above) lasts for three minutes. He speaks rapidly, and I know I missed some nuances, but the essential is here:
If Piss Christ is labeled provocative, the work itself is not trash. It is a very beautiful photograph in red, in Cibachrome melded into plexiglass.
This is how the reporters at Libération , in their best art catalog style, describe the work. For them, the attackers are vandals, "illuminés", fanatics. The rest of the world gets into the act and denounces the fanatical Catholics led by their fulminating archbishop of Avignon whose remarks had already triggered the polemic.
Now let's imagine for a moment other works showing a body soaked in piss, a Mohamed defecating, Michelangelo's Moses immersed in his excrement, a Torah in a blood bath, and let's imagine what the headlines would be: Unbelievable sacrilege! A scandalous return to Nazi methods! Islamophobia! A new French illness! Let's imagine the reactions of the youth of the JDL decrying impious works, or Muslims demonstrating at the four corners of the globe against France - The Great Satan. A fatwa from Tehran or Cairo against the blasphemous trash. And embarrassment when the same newspaper is caught between the defense of artistic freedom and the legitimate reaction of offended minorities.
Here the host interrupts Zemmour and asks him to stop hypothesizing and get back to the issue at hand.
Zemmour goes on:
Catholics can legitimately fulminate against this double standard, but they should not necessarily rejoice that certain among them refuse to turn the other cheek. First, is not such violence in period of Lent contrary to dogma? Second, accepting parody, caricature and even blasphemy is proof of great maturity, both spiritual and democratic. Ever since La Religieuse(1) by Diderot, the Christian world has made progress. The majority religion in Europe has gotten used to living with mockery and even hostility. The anti-clericalism of Little Father Combes (2) no longer shocks the Church. It has even become the dominant ideology of the media. We can't count the number of campaigns against the Pope. But other religions, when offended, vehemently refuse to adopt the Catholic placidness. Judaism and Islam forbid the representation of God and do not have images - those sensual products of ancient guilds that Catholics have known from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.
Note: His argument in the preceding paragraph is fallacious. He is attributing to Catholics an unlimited supply of tolerance on grounds they have "matured" since the 18th century. But part of maturity is to know when and how to defend oneself against those forces seeking your capitulation. And he should add that not only is the Church no longer shocked by anti-clericalism, the Church has become itself largely anti-clerical in its submissive position to Islam and other destructive forces. This is not a sign of maturity, but of weakness. It follows that the actions by the protesters were in a sense an attempt to offset the weakness of the Church.
But some Catholics are now aping the vehemence of others and adopting the behavior of the super-sensitive besieged minorities - no doubt the ultimate consequence of the de-Christianization that has now turned Catholicism into a minority religion.
And there's the climate - Christianity is today the most assaulted religion. In France the Christian churches and tombs are by far the most vandalized. Throughout the world, Christians are persecuted and assassinated in Iraq, Sudan, Egypt and elsewhere.
That is the explanation. But it is so much easier to denigrate the awful Catholic fundamentalists.
(1) La Religieuse is a novel by Denis Diderot, left unfinished by the author who died in 1784, about the oppressive life in a convent and the fate of a young woman forced to live there. The essential theme is the belief that an individual must be free to choose his own destiny.
(2) Emile Combes (1835 - 1921) was a French politician of the Radical Party. Dedicated to anti-clericalism, he was instrumental in passing the 1905 law separating Church and State.
Zemmour's remarks are themselves almost as controversial as the photograph, at least to some Catholics. At the website Christroi, Zemmour's position is sharply criticized:
Pity that Zemmour questions the use of violence during Lent which he says is "contrary to dogma" - this is Talmudic pharisaism; we are not Jews that have to be handed this sort of religious interdict. Saint Joan of Arc waged war on Sundays and on "religious holidays", even though, it is true, she would ask her soldiers to confess first. It is not forbidden to wage war during Holy Week, and one can even wonder if the operation was not deliberately set to fall during Holy Week, just as the English, during the Hundred Years War, imagined that on certain dates of the year the enemy would not defend himself… There's nothing new here.
As for Diderot's La Religieuse and "the Christian world has made progress. The majority religion in Europe has gotten used to living with mockery and even hostility" (as if persecution was a natural and desirable condition for French Catholicism…) let's recall that Diderot is not a reference point for us. He was a fundamentalist freemason, instructed by Freemasonry to corrupt "opinion" with "philosophical" and "encyclopedist" ideas. (…)
Let us grant nonetheless to Zemmour his explanation for the violent reaction of Catholics by comparing it to the reactions of other communities. Still his speech was so ambiguous, we would like it to be clearer, so that we can know if he is defending us or criticizing us.
One last remark: Eric Zemmour used against Catholics an admonition that is often used against Jews, especially Israelis, namely, to "turn the other cheek". Jewish people become angered (and rightly so) when told to desist while being bombarded by their enemies. Jewish people often complain (and rightly so) that the world loves them when they don't fight back and hates them when they do. Now that the Catholics have fought back (in such a small way), they are being told they should have turned the other cheek. Zemmour seems to have missed this important connection.
Note: As I post, the most recent news is that the Piss Christ was destroyed by Catholic protesters on Saturday April 16, who entered the museum and smashed the plexiglass covering the photo. However, more details will be forthcoming. The amount of commentary on this event is more than I can handle in one post.
The city of Avignon has been in the news, especially at Catholic websites. In a nutshell, an art exhibit entitled "Je crois aux miracles" (I believe in miracles) has been open to the public since December 12 at the Hôtel de Caumont, where the Yvon Lambert collection of contemporary art has resided since 2000.
One of the works on display is the infamous Piss Christ by the American-born Andres Serrano, of Honduran and Afro-Cuban ancestry.
A petition, an outcry, prayers, angry letters, and pressure from the Archbishop succeeded in having the posters of the work removed from the streets of Avignon, where they served as publicity for the exhibit. The original photo was also removed from the museum. Catholics feared the work would mar the Holy Week observances.
But this outcry occurred three months after the opening of the exhibit, and even though the offending photo and posters were removed, they were replaced two days later. It seems the artist, Andres Serrano, is in the good graces of the bishops of France. The following is from Yves Daoudal's weekly Hebdo #123, but the story has been widely reported:
On April 7, AGRIF announced legal action against the organizers of an art exhibit in Avignon, on grounds that a photo by Andres Serrano showing a crucifix immersed in the artist's urine is an "act of racism that targets Christians in the very heart of their faith."
The following day, Archbishop Cattenoz of Avignon demanded that "this photo that mocks the image of Christ on the cross, the heart of our Christian faith" be removed.
The archbishop also said he had "tried urgently to reach the person responsible for the exhibit."
Urgently? But the publicity posters had been tacked on the walls of Avignon for three months. The exhibit opened December 12. And will only be there a few more days until May 8. (…)
What we do know is that nobody in Avignon alerted AGRIF or the archbishop before late March. No Catholic, no priest, was intrigued by this exhibit entitled "I believe in miracles", decorated with the strange crucifix.
Yet, with a few clicks on the Internet, you can know everything about the exhibit and the crucifix. And everything about Andres Serrano's works. And see pages and pages full of his repugnant photos. Serrano not only mocks Christ on the cross. This photo (in fact it is one of ten of the same abject image) is part of the "immersions" series that includes also a Virgin with child, for example… There is also a series of photos of his excrement. Pipi and caca: we can see the mental age of the artist. His series "The History of Sex" is quite simply pornographic. As for his series "The Morgue" it is an unqualified assault on human dignity. It is intolerable that Philippe Isnard be dismissed from his teaching position for showing what an abortion is, and that Andres Serrano be acclaimed as a great artist when he photographs an eviscerated body or pieces of bleeding flesh.
Note: Click here for some photos of Serrano's work. Some of the photos are OK, others are disgusting. Be advised.
Philippe Isnard, mentioned above, was fired from his position as a teacher for engaging in discussions about abortion with his students. Among other things, he showed a film entitled No Need to Argue that exposes the reality of abortion.
Serrano is one of many examples of the culture of death in art. The blasphemy against Christ is only the diabolical emblem of the desire to sully and destroy man in his humanity. It is the revolt against creation that becomes necessarily the revolt against the Incarnation.
Apparently Archbishop Cattenoz appears not to have been aware that Andres Serrano is an artist recognized by the French bishops. Writer Rémi Fontaine (in his book The Black Book of the Bishops of France) recalls that the archbishop of Poitiers, Albert Rouet, was co-author of a book entitled The Church and Avant-Garde Art - From Provocation to Dialogue - Flesh and God, with a preface by the bishop of Châlons-en-Champagne. In the book we find not only the Piss Christ of Andres Serrano, but other "works" just as blasphemous and repugnant. The book is presented at the website of the Conference of French Bishops:
"The avant-garde of the world of Art speaks with originality about us, about AIDS, about solitude, about bodies, about taboos. Can we listen and understand the men of today?
Is the Catholic Church, after centuries of being a center of creation, still capable of having a dialogue with contemporary artists? This is the challenge we face." (…)
The co-author of the book, Gilbert Brownstone, tells how he organized trips to New York for the bishops so that they might discover the marvels of contemporary art. He had them visit the Andres Serrano studio. Thus the bishops could attest "that there has never been for Serrano the slightest desire to offend the crucified one," because "he uses the infamous liquid to exploit the stunning plastic qualities." And the bishops discovered "a great artist of this century, possessing one of the most exact visions of the world around us."
It is obvious that AGRIF has no chance of succeeding. It was enough for the lawyers of Yvon Lambert (owner of the collection) to bring this book to the hearing, to show that Andres Serrano is recognized as a great artist and that the Piss Christ is not an offense to Christ.
Daoudal mentions the website Arts-Cultures-Foi that "is a part of the media of the French Catholic Church", and its sister website Artistes en dialogue where you can view the works of Serrano, in particular the series La Morgue. The photos are in the left margin, with commentary in French to the right. These particular photos may upset some. Why would the bishops endorse such works? Daoudal explains that not all bishops feel committed to contemporary art but they all must follow those who are set up as "authorities".
Archbishop Cattenoz, in addition to his communiqué, published a longer text in which he vehemently presents his argument. But he must be aware that his remarks, especially those addressed to the public authorities, have no influence, since Andres Serrano is supported by the Conference of French bishops, and is one of the twelve artists selected by Gilbert Louis, bishop of Châlons-en-Champagne, to be part of the exhibit "Flesh and God in contemporary creation"…
So it would appear that the bishops must follow the dictates of the most radical among them.
Below, images taken on Saturday of the demonstration against the exhibit in Avignon.
Above, Serrano in front of the vandalized photo. There are other copies. According to the left-wing Liberation:
In thirty-five years, this work has been shown everywhere, including Lille and even in Avignon in a monograph of the artist. Attacks have been rare, but a copy was destroyed in Melbourne, and a neo-nazi group pillaged a Serrano exhibit in Sweden 9n 2007. Notified yesterday (April 17), the artist was very upset, as was Yvon Lambert, to whom Serrano had given the work as a gift for the tenth anniversary of his museum. The UMP mayor, Marie-José Roig, expressed her solidarity with the museum. Minister of Culture Frédéric Mitterand condemned "an attack on the freedom of creation," but acknowledged that the work could shock some people."
Libération notes these words of Archbishop Cattenoz:
"If a photo representing a Koran soaking in urine were displayed as a work of art, the reaction of the local authorities and the State, would be immediate."
There's a large spread in the Daily Mail on the events of Monday April 11, as the law banning the burka went into effect. It turns out a demonstration in London overshadowed the two arrests in Paris, where police are saying that the law cannot be enforced and the Interior Minister is insisting that it will be. Police unions are warning that to prevent violence officers will simply close their eyes to the burkas. And Muslim organizations are setting up a fund to pay any fines that may be imposed.
Note: This post has been expanded (twice) from the original version posted earlier today.
The poster above, from François Desouche, announced an "Islamist Demonstration" scheduled for today April 9 in Paris, in protest of the law banning the burka. British and Belgian Islamists were expected to attend. However, the protest aroused the indignation of many people and organizations, and the prefect of Paris banned it. The poster reads "The Umma Awakens!"
UMP deputy Jacques Myard did not hesitate to qualify as "fanatical fundamentalist rubbish" the aggressive tone of the organizers, and to insist they be taken to court.
Bruno Vendoire, of the Bloc Identitaire, did not know exactly who they were but declared that "it is clear that their assembly is a provocation that aims strategically to create tension in France. I can't imagine that this demonstration of hatred would be authorized by the prefect. (…) They should be arrested and sent home. Their agenda to install sharia in France justifies banning this rally (…) We do not have to tolerate the activism of puppets who are fighting our civilization."
Christine Tasin, president of Résistance Républicaine, is "perplexed" as to why the CFCM (French Council of the Muslim Religion) refuses to condemn the rally. "This means that the Muslim organizations want to install sharia in France." (…) The Mosque of Paris did not answer their phone this afternoon.
Louis Aliot, vice-president of the Front National, expressed his feeling, by the end of the afternoon, that such a rally should be banned. "We are in a Republic, the governing document is the Constitution. If these people are not French, they can go live their umma elsewhere. And if they are French, it's even worse because it illustrates the failure of assimilation."
Note: Aliot, who is Marine Le Pen's companion, is cautious in his choice of words. He implies that the foreigners SHOULD assimilate. But this is not desirable since it would mean the end of the ethnic Frenchman. He also stresses the notion of a "republic", with all that it implies of socialism, not just of the economic sort, but cultural as well. The Front National under Marine Le Pen, will certainly be "social". How far she will go remains to be seen.
In the end, the police banned the rally on grounds it could trigger violence. According to some sources, "patriotic, nationalist and zionist militants" connected to the JDL, whose website was hacked, had threatened to intervene…
Below, the screen of the JDL's website on Friday afternoon.
Second update: Despite the ban, sixty members, including nineteen women, of the Islamist "Collective for Tawhid Unity" demonstrated at place de la Nation on Saturday and were arrested. L'Express reports:
This collective, known in France as Forsane-Alizza, brings together English, Belgian and French Salafists. These are radical Islamists whose stated goal is to impose sharia (Muslim divine law) on France. (…)
Two men, known to Interpol, were to join the small rally. Monsieur Choudary came from Great Britain but was stopped at a toll gate. Monsieur Belkacem, from Belgium, was also arrested between Amiens and Paris. (…)
Five or six men, seated at an outdoor café, with long beards and tunics to their ankles, became annoyed when journalists tried to engage them in conversation. A few minutes later they were joined by ten men dressed similarly. The police encircled them and told them to get into the van. "You didn't even ask me if I was participating in the rally! And you want to remove me? I wasn't born between 1939 and 1945, but what you're doing looks a lot like that. The truth is we're in a democracy, and free to demonstrate." When the man refused to leave, the police captain told him he would be taken to headquarters for an identity check. Nobody budged. A young sympathizer became impatient: "We are at home, France will soon belong to us. There are already 10 million of us, soon there will be 20 million, you'll see. You will not be able to stop us from doing anything. This country is ours."
Ominous words. It may have been a minor incident, but his words express everyone's secret fears.
This article, on the growing spread of halal foods and other items, is from Yves Daoudal's weekly newsletter Hebdo #113. While it focuses primarily on Brittany, halal is becoming endemic throughout France and other countries:
When you arrive in Lorient from Lanester, just before the train station, you see on your right a perfectly traditional butcher shop, the kind we all like. But it is closed. Across the street, there is a large modern butcher shop. Halal. This scene is worth all the speeches anyone could make on Islamization.
On January 31, in Lorient, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the department of Morbihan organized a conference entitled "The Halal Market, a market within your reach". The topics covered: - A world market for halal estimated at 457 billion euros in 2010.
- A Muslim population that should represent 30% of the world population in 2025.
- A halal label that concerns not only most food products but pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, personal care products and even services.
-Malaysia has become a world-wide reference for halal and allows the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia, to be accessible.
- In 2014, the port of Marseilles is scheduled to join a world network of distribution of halal products.
- A French halal market growing at the rate of 10% per year, that is more important than the market for organic foods.
- A not-very-complicated certification procedure that would allow access to this market in France and for export.
(…) The star of the day (and no doubt the one who inspired the day) was Bruno Bernard. An expert consultant in international commerce, Bruno Bernard has an impressive business card. For the moment let's note that he is counselor on foreign commerce for the Kingdom of Belgium, a member of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, the Moldavian Chamber of Commerce, the Franco-Belgian Chamber of Commerce, an accredited lobbyist in the European Parliament… For our purposes here, we will note especially that he is a "partner of the Brussels Chamber of Commerce for Official Halal Certifications."
In fact he created Eurohalal, the only official European halal certification, in collaboration with Beci. What is Beci? It's the Brussels Chamber of Commerce, But they call it the "Brussels Enterprises Commerce and Industry." Sic.
Bruno Bernard is not a Muslim. For him, halal is business, halal is marketing. A niche market like any other, like organic:
"Halal is a veritable way of life, just like organic. For some, organic products are nothing more than two or three vegetables in a wicker basket that you hand to some hippies once a month. But it's much more than that, since there are organic tee-shirts, organic medicine, and many other products that allow you to live while respecting certain principles. With halal, it's the same thing."
Note: I cannot take time to discuss in depth this fallacy. But organic refers to foods that are free of toxins and grown for the purpose of improving health. Halal, on the other hand, means the consumer is participating in a religious ritual, and subsidizing the religion in question. Two things could not be more dissimilar.
And halal certification is like any other, such as the ISO norms. (note: International Organization for Standardization)
He is proud of his halal certification, that only costs businesses 1500 euros a year.
"If we don't volunteer our services, these 1500 euros serve only to cover the costs tied to certification, namely, the imam's plane ticket, hotel, and the audit that is done first. Once these costs are paid, nothing is left, we are not there to get rich."
Bruno Bernard points out that he has made some enemies: a certification agency that charges 15,000 to 20,000 euros accused him of breaking the market. Bernard responded that the Koran forbids earning money in this way, to which the agency responded (to Bernard's shock) that most of the money went to Afghanistan to defend the cause.
So Bruno Bernard is interested in anything that can be certified halal. He himself created a halal beer, and in Lorient suggested that crepes be certified. The local paper Ouest France ran this headline: "Make halal crepes!"
He also said: "If you make cider, you can make it without alcohol and sell it in the Middle East. Obviously they don't have apple trees, there's nothing but sand!"
That last sentence shows contempt for Muslims from a man who claims to respect Muslims. Contempt for Muslims and for the people of Brittany, who eat crepes and drink cider (with a round hat), and who would be expected to make cider without alcohol which isn't cider. And naturally he displays his ignorance, since there isn't only sand down there, there are even apple trees, and the Lebanese (who produced 200,000 tons of apples last year) also make cider.
There is however one domain that Bruno Bernard won't touch: Islamic finance. He explains:
"If I decided to be a part of the coming of Islamic finance, I am nonetheless resolved to be very cautious on this matter. You must understand that an Islamic bank is bound to sharia."
Well, what do you know. He brings up sharia. But this is not about the fear of totalitarian religious constraints. Here's the rest of what he said:
"An investor, thus, becomes a participant in the profits and losses. Optimists would respond that the billions in the Gulf States are far from being exhausted, and that it would be profitable to attract Islamic investors to our shores, but that would be to forget that just two years ago, Dubai was bankrupt…"
In short, Islamic finance is a risk: you may lose as easily as win. That is why sharia arouses fear…
Otherwise, Bruno Bernard participates with all his might in Islamization. To develop commerce. Without considering for a second what Islam really is…
Note: The comment about the "round hat" refers to the shape of traditional Breton hats.
Brigitte Bardot has posted this letter at her website. On March 30, it was published in the daily Le Parisien with her signature:
Almost fifty years ago, in 1962, when I was a young woman, I waged my first combat against the torture of animals when I denounced the horror of slaughterhouses, long before the massacre of baby seals. After years of efforts, the stunning of animals before bloodletting became obligatory (Article R. 214-70 of the rural code).
Today we are witnessing a frightening regression and a terrifying "I don't care" attitude on the part of guilty authorities when confronted with the offenses in these places of death. Nowadays they slaughter animals alive, without concern about the regulation and even less about the pain that is unbearable and ignoble.
The slaughtered steer take fourteen minutes to lose consciousness. In that time the terrified animal fights and tries to escape. This massacre is a daily event in our slaughterhouses. I can no longer accept this! I beg you to fight by my side.
After these disgusting transgressions, we filed a complaint on February 10, 2011, in the Court of Justice of the Republic, against Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux and Minister of Agriculture Bruno Le Maire.
Note: The above refers to legal action she has taken against the two ministers for not withdrawing special permits granted to certain slaughterhouses to kill without stunning. She also denounced a derogation allowing religions to bypass the obligation to stun before slaughtering. According to her Foundation, the use of this derogation has become "systematic".
I am no longer a young woman, I cannot start the same fight all over again, and so I demand of the government that it apply French and European law in the slaughterhouses.
It is inadmissible and illegal that in Ile-de-France, 100% of the animals are slaughtered alive, without stunning, in conditions of abject violence and inhumanity, with the obvious intent to hide this scandal from consumers, since no labeling indicates the method of slaughter.
The Minister of Agriculture has sufficient financial means to monitor the slaughterhouses, verify the condition of the equipment (neglected) and especially to make certain the animals do not suffer any additional torment, which seems to me to be the very least that we owe them. Yet this very ministry prefers to spend millions of euros in taxpayers' money for mendacious propaganda promoting intensive breeding!*
We are all assassins but, I beg you, do not allow their deaths to be a torture!
*It also subsidizes corrupt breeders who respect no rules.
Here is a synopsis of the video (below) produced by the Brigitte Bardot Foundation:
The speaker reviews the content of Bardot's letter. She warns that some of the images coming up are very graphic.
The next scene shows a young woman who raises bovine animals. She says she loves her animals and hates to send them to be slaughtered, but since she must she wants them to suffer as little as possible. She wants them to be stunned before they are killed.
The next scene shows the action of stunning an animal.
The speaker says that stunning has been obligatory since 1986, except in the case of ritual slaughter. Kosher and halal meat come from an animal slaughtered while alive. (Note: at this point the images are upsetting)
For many years these practices were separate, but due to economic concerns everything is mixed together.
A former slaughterhouse employee confirms that the two kinds of meat (regular and ritual) are combined into one. The consumer knows nothing.
About 30% of bovines and up to 60% of sheep are slaughtered without being first stunned.
A representative of the Brigitte Bardot Foundation says that when an animal is slaughtered without being stunned, there is no one there to verify that the meat really corresponds to a need. They do anything they want and there is no labeling. Nor is there any desire to change.
The meat packers won't meet the press, except for Charal. The CEO explains that even though there is no labeling, all animals are stunned before slaughter.
On a related topic, here is an item from Samson Blinded, an Israeli website, about a move in the Netherlands to restrict ritual slaughter:
Jewish organizations are running at full steam fighting a proposed bill in the Netherlands which would restrict religious forms of animal slaughter. Such energy was not seen even in the days when Soviet Jews could not emigrate from their communist prison, nor is it seen today when Israel faces international condemnation.
The bill would generally require that animals must be stunned before slaughter; a very sensible and humane measure. The problem is that ultra-strict rabbis interpret stunning as a form of mutilation, which disqualifies the animal as food. In truth, such mutilation would only disqualify it as a sacrifice, and there is no Temple to sacrifice them to in the first place. Besides, stunning is not mutilation, and this case closely parallels Jewish law that allows criminals to be rendered unconscious before execution.
Even so, Jews would be able to continue shechita slaughter, with the only requirement being that the meat must be marked accordingly. Jewish meat processors claim that this requirement would drive them out of business because currently 3/4 of their meat is sold to gentiles for being not strictly kosher. But Jews at the time of Moshe did not throw away 3/4 of their meat; obviously, current halachic regulations are overly strict. Finding his community in a similar situation, Rashi relaxed the shechita laws. Another option would be to accept that a handful of Jewish meat processors would be driven out of business, and kosher meat imported from more permissive jurisdictions.
On the positive side, the proposed bill would greatly afflict Muslim communities in the Netherlands who wouldn’t be able to practice halal slaughter.
Here is the opening of Wikipedia's page on shechita (ritual slaughter) that gives more details on the strictness of the procedure:
Shechita (Hebrew:שְׁחִיטָה; also transliterated shechitah, shehitah, shehita) is the ritual slaughter of mammals and birds according to Jewish dietary laws. The act is performed by severing the trachea, oesophagus, carotid arteries and jugular veins using an extremely sharp blade ("chalef"), and allowing the blood to drain out.
The animal must be killed with respect and compassion by a shochet (ritual slaughterer), a religious Jew who is duly licensed and trained. The animal can be in a number of positions; when the animal is lying on its back, this is referred to as shechita munachat; in a standing position it is known as shechita me'umedet.
If the hindquarters of kosher mammals are to be eaten by Jews, they must be 'porged' - stripped of veins, chelev (caul fat and suet) and sinews in accordance with a strict procedure. Because of the expense of porging and the skill required to properly separate out the forbidden parts, a large portion of the meat of kosher mammals slaughtered through shechita in the United States winds up on the non-kosher market.
Note: This post was begun before the debate took place, and completed on April 6.
In a recent post I questioned the validity of discussions where ideas are manipulated and where those who contravene official thought are silenced or ridiculed. A new national debate is scheduled to begin on April 5 on the subject of laïcité and the place of Islam in French society. I suggested in my post that this new enterprise would be as futile as the last one on national identity, since Islam does not lend itself to criticism or questioning and the same repressive forces would be at work as have been in the past. However, I could be wrong. Catholic writer Bernard Antony believes there is much to be gained by this new debate. The following are excerpts from a much longer text:
For the debate on Islam is a good thing and cannot in any way contravene the respect due to Muslims as to all men. But it is essential to the very principle of freedom to affirm that Islam, like any other religion, ideology, culture, political, social and juridical system (and Islam is all of that since it rejects the evangelical distinction between the spiritual and the temporal) must be able to be analyzed, criticized , refuted.
The risk of criticism that is accepted in Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Free Masonry, Socialism, liberalism, Islam must accept it too. In those places where it is in power, the slightest critique, the expression of the slightest doubt are called blasphemy and incur the worst punishments if not death. In those areas where society has not yet submitted itself, from the first expression of any refusal of its model and its mores, Islam's leaders cry "Islamophobia", which pseudo-antiracism must then repress.
This is not acceptable.
He describes the obscene pornographic abominations against Christianity, against women, against human dignity, and how these complaints are thrown out of court by judges who remind him that the right of blasphemy is the basis of laïcité. He says that he would denounce such acts if they were directed against Mohammed, but he adds that no one dares do such things.
But it is essential to the freedom of our civilization to be able to criticize Islam, to be able to refute it, to be able to refuse its repressive totalitarian system, more long lasting even than Communism. Unfortunately, this is what religious spokesmen and even uncultured and frightened political leaders of all stripes, cannot seem to understand. And yet, as we know, to be able to criticize Islam freely is what millions of Muslims in the lands of Islam aspire to. And it is what thousands of our Arab and Berber compatriots are doing here. This must be thrown into the debate.
At stake is liberty!
I wonder what the reaction of the French people is to the Terry Jones story making headlines in America. The pastor in Florida burned a copy of the Koran, setting off an outpouring of sanctimonious reproof and outrage from both political parties and from the media.
French readers can read at least one positive reaction to this daring and courageous act at Français de France.
And an American businesswoman named Ann Barnhardt has reacted with rip-roaring approval for the pastor in two videos posted at Gates of Vienna:
Now, back to the debate on laïcité in France. It took place yesterday (April 5). What happened? Did it determine once and for all that Islam must be criticized like any other religion? Bernard Antony has a follow-up to his previous article, entitled "Copé's debate cut off and buried"!
(Reminder: Jean-François Copé is chairman of the UMP party):
Despite the fright of both civil and religious hierarchies, the guardians of reserved and monitored democracy, we were hoping that this national debate on laïcité and Islam by the UMP would really take place. We were expecting it to be organized on a great scale throughout society to allow for judicious analysis and reflection, and for the expression of the expectations of the French people.
The long and short of it is that it was wrapped up in less than three hours, during which not a single definition or fundamental thought on laïcité was produced. Once again they were very careful not to speak, be it ever so slightly, of what Islam really is, beyond the simple concept of religion.
Let us grant to Minister of the Interior Claude Guéant (1) that he timidly, therefore awkwardly, skimmed over the subject of the number of Muslims. He either spoke too much or too little, for he unleashed the thunderous disapproval of the Left. He should have asked the following question: "What will happen to non-Muslims when Islam is in the majority?"
We are convinced that it would have aroused much uneasiness and less of an uproar. But it is no doubt unfair to be too accusatory towards the ruling class for its collective denial of reality, when one considers the attitude of the spokesmen of religions who remain bound in their common precinct of trans-ecumenical representation.
Not to anger Islam even a little bit is now, from the evidence, their major concern, and especially that of the French bishops.
A left-wing French website called Politis has a humorous summary of the event and some photos. Here is the last paragraph. I don't know all of the people named, but it doesn't matter:
Luc Chatel didn't fool around: "We must not compromise with laïcité". Gosh. When Gilles Bernheim, grand rabbi of France who attended "on principle" expressed reservations on this debate, the atmosphere cooled slightly. When he said "our position is moral and cannot be political" he generated very restrained, even polite applause. But let's move on… with Gérard Longuet, for whom a weak government "would open the way to all kinds of extremism". Now there's a man who speaks as a connoisseur. We'll pass rapidly over the inspired remark of Farid Hannache "Republicans have a duty to debate" and the conditional warning of Laurent Wauquiez - "It is not religions that undermine society, it is potentially the fanatical elements". And after two hours of debate, Christophe Barbier is "reassured" to see that there is "no problem in defining laïcité. Only the concrete problems remain."
And that is the beauty of being with one's own: everybody agrees.
So much for the "debate", which took place in the Pullman Hotel in Montparnasse.
(1) I failed to do a post on the new Interior Minister Claude Guéant. He replaced Brice Hortefeux at the end of February. It happened so quickly I didn't realize there had been a change until several weeks later. I will do a post soon, but I don't see that it makes a great deal of difference at this point. The Sarkozy regime has gone from worse to worse. Its inability to confront the issues and its fear of not being in tune with the decadent times is paving the way for the Front National or... the Socialists.
A reader sent me a link to a long article by K.R. Bolton in Foreign Policy Journal, analyzing the attempt by the American government, through its embassy in Paris and Ambassador Rivkin, to influence and ultimately control the cultural, demographic and ideological destiny of France. I have posted three times on this topic, including the most recent post based on the Wikileaks revelations. This latest article goes far in denouncing the subversive program designed as part of long term project to force the French into the "globalist" mold. I disagree with the author's assimilation of "capitalism" with "globalism" (especially in the quote from Noam Chomsky). Capitalism is not new, and not specifically American, though we certainly gave it prominence. Capitalism is not comfortable with Socialism. Globalism, on the other hand, is a liberal movement in which capitalism is no longer connected to a nation, but is the means by which nations are dissolved or denatured, robbed of their sovereignty, and forced to bed down with their enemies. Globalism, therefore, resembles Communism much more than it resembles capitalism, which claims a work ethic and a chance to enrich oneself by one's own efforts in one's own nation. Globalism purports to do these things, but on condition that the nations renounce their nationhood and bring in massive numbers of foreigners who must be regarded as equals, or else. I have not read this article carefully, and cannot attest to it's accuracy on all points, but I saw this passage on the Front National that shows that liberal American politicians (both Democrats and spineless Republicans) would not welcome a Le Pen victory:
Nonetheless, given France’s historical role of maintaining sovereignty in the face of US interests, even in the current time with its opposition to the war against Iraq, France remains one of the few potentially annoying states in Europe. An added concern is that the French, despite their acceptance of McDonald’s, and their liking for American trash TV, will translate the remnants of their “xenophobia” into the election to Office of a stridently anti-globalist party, as reflected in the electoral ups and downs of the Front National, whose policy would not be in accord with either US foreign policy, or with privatization and cultural Americanization. Hence the Front National, like other anti-globalist parties, can be attacked by red-herring slogans about “racism” and “hate” to deflect from the real concern which is anti-globalization. This is a major reason for Rivkin’s far-reaching subversive and interventionist program to assimilate Muslims into French society, which in so doing would also have the result of fundamentally transforming French consciousness into a more thoroughly cosmopolitan mold. The intention is clear enough in the Rivkin Embassy documents where it is stated that the Embassy will monitor the effects of the “outreach” program on the “decrease in popular support for xenophobic political parties and platforms.”
Back to the cantonal elections for just a moment, Ivan Rioufol, a journalist for Le Figaro, predicts that the UMP party will lose in the presidential elections. His article begins with a review of the election results and a reminder that the Front National won 40% of the votes in the 403 cantons where they had a candidate. After the election the general secretary of the UMP, Jean-François Copé, stated: "the message has been received":
In truth, I doubt that the message from the voting booths has really been received, even if Copé recognized "the concern of the French people" and cited offshoring and migration issues. While he was speaking on RTL television, the government spokesman, François Baroin, was speaking on France-Info assuring everyone that "it was necessary to put an end to all these debates, such as the debate on laïcité and Islam," and calling on the UMP to return to "profoundly republican" values and to "concentrate on unemployment and deficits". A similar position was held by Dominique de Villepin, speaking on Canal +, urging the UMP not to "poach" on territory held by the Front National. "We must return to those issues that preoccupy the French people: housing, employment, purchasing power…" The Socialist Party says much the same thing, when it insists that the crisis is only economic and social. But this diagnosis is, from all the evidence, incomplete by a wide margin. Has the UMP decided to abandon the reality of the Front National?
It is this conformist thinking and political cowardice, which the UMP tries to hide, that will bring about its downfall in 2012. The truth is that the feeling of injustice and abandonment felt by the people is not just the result of a loss of purchasing power. The polls show that massive immigration and the Muslim separatism that results from it are topics as preoccupying as the pauperization of the middle class. Middle class Frenchmen cannot comprehend that a country deeply in debt, unable to provide jobs or housing or protection for its own citizens, persists in opening its doors legally to so many people, with no concern for integration, contrary to what Eric Besson maintained this morning on Europe 1: "Those who believe in integration must defend legal immigration and fight illegal immigration," he said. But, legal immigrants are as numerous in the ghettos as illegals.
The UMP will be swept away if it continues to refuse to understand the people. And it will get what it asked for.
Note: A reminder that Eric Besson was the Minister of Immigration during last year's debate on National Identity. He became infamous for saying:
"France is neither a people, nor a language, nor a territory, nor a religion, it is a conglomerate of peoples who want to live together. There is no ethnic Frenchman, there is only an ethnically mixed France."
A miraculous cure at Lourdes has been officially acknowledged by the Catholic Church. The event occurred in April of 2002. Le Salon Beige reports:
(…) Serge François, an artisan from Anjou now retired, had been suffering for years from a herniated disc despite two operations, and from a near total paralysis of the left leg with intense pain when, on April 12, 2002, he went to the Massabielle grotto in Lourdes. There, he was seized with a pain so sudden and intense he thought he would die, according to his narration. After a few minutes, the suffering gave way to an intense feeling of well-being and warmth. His leg felt better and gradually returned to normal motions. During a new pilgrimage in 2003, he reported his cure to the Medical Bureau of Lourdes.
On December 1, 2008, after years of investigation, the International Medical Committee of Lourdes (CMIL), composed of twenty doctors, recognized that Serge François' cure was remarkable because it was sudden, complete, not related to any therapy, and long-lasting.
But it was up to the bishop of his diocese to make a pronouncement, which Emmanuel Delmas, bishop of Angers, did today (March 27):
"In the name of the Church, I recognize publicly the 'remarkable' nature of the cure that Monsieur Serge François benefited from in Lourdes. This cure can be considered as a personal gift of God for this man, as an occurrence of grace, as a sign from Christ the Savior."
One Salon Beige reader wonders why the bishop used the phrase "remarkable nature of the cure" instead of "miraculous cure" that was the term formerly used by the Church. Another reader refers him to an article in Le Figaro that explains the changes that have been made in the verification procedure:
Jacques Perrier, bishop of Lourdes, insists that Lourdes is "above all, the apparitions of the Virgin! They do not need cures in order to be authenticated."
In 2006, the bishop finally decided to reform the procedures for recognizing cures. Serge François is the first to go through this new maze of analyses. On the medical level, the Church now includes the complexity of research dealing with the diagnosis of illnesses and the effectiveness of modern treatments. On the theological level, it can now recognize "cures that science cannot explain" without necessarily speaking of a "miracle".
"We have at last emerged from the binary logic of 'miracle or not a miracle'", bishop Perrier happily declares. (…)
Catholic writer Yves Daoudal is not at all pleased with the new regulations. In his weekly newsletter Daoudal Hebdo #121, he expresses his surprise that it was the bishop of Lourdes himself who made the decision to change the rules:
Since 2006, the Holy Virgin does not have the right to make miracles in Lourdes. To be more precise, she is no longer able to make them. We cannot deny that there are still unexplained cures, but they are not miracles.
Using documents from the International Medical Committee of Lourdes (CMIL), Yves Daoudal lists in detail the medical treatments followed by Serge François - operations, tests, medication (including morphine), etc… and their ineffectiveness.
Even if the CMIL calls the cure sudden, complete, not related to a therapy and long-lasting, for bishop Perrier it is not a miracle… The extraordinary thing is that the 2006 reforms (…) still speak of a miracle at the end of the third phase of the investigation, that of a "ratified cure". The CMIL first must certify the cure as exceptional, then the bishop of the diocese recognizes it as a miracle.
But bishop Perrier decided that they could not go that far because "the application of certain criteria for a miracle, set down by cardinal Lambertini (future Pope Benedict XIV, 1740-1758), is nowadays almost impossible." For one thing a diagnosis is rarely considered infallible, most sick people have had some kind of treatment, and there is always a psychic dimension. (…)
Since Lambertini's criteria make no mention of a psychic dimension, and since there is a psychic dimension in any cure, whatever it may be, that eliminates any possibility of a miracle. This is why bishop Delmas of Angers, in his declaration that resembles a gendarme's report, was content to recognize "the 'remarkable' nature of the cure of Serge François". The word "remarkable" was in quotes because bishop Delmas leaves the responsibility to the doctors…
Yves Daoudal concludes by saying that bishop Perrier of Lourdes cannot be given the power to make such decisions:
(…) his decision, which is an affront to the Holy Virgin and to God himself, is totally illegitimate. If it is not, then it is urgent that he explain to the Pope that there must not be any more beatifications or canonizations (except in the case of martyrs). For a Christian to be beatified, then canonized, a miracle must be recognized. But how can the Congregation for Saints recognize a miracle? They must refer to Lambertini's criteria, since cardinal Lambertini had drawn up these criteria expressly for the purpose of canonizations. In Rome they still do not know that "the application of certain criteria for a miracle, set down by cardinal Lambertini, is nowadays almost impossible."
Note: I feel the bishop has denatured completely the meaning of a miracle. I cannot speak as a doctor or as a priest or theologian, but a miracle without a psychic element is impossible to imagine. In any cure there are many forces at work. The divine healing powers that are within us are activated at the moment when CONTACT is made with the being beyond us that created us. To assume otherwise would be to say that a sick person who is emotionally, psychically, and spiritually passive can be cured by the miracle of divine intervention. But that is impossible. So the psychic element is essential. The bishop is saying that the psychic element makes a miracle impossible. But the very fact that sick people go to Lourdes is proof that their will to be cured precedes the cure itself. Moreover, in addition to our conscious will there is the unconscious will, a more powerful force, that may trigger a cure. More importantly, the unconscious will opens a conduit to the deity, thus initiating the cure. So the cure is miraculous because the physical and psychical mechanisms in us that suddenly begin to function normally are there by divine mandate.
I realize that for some this is sheer nonsense. If you believe only in "scientific" solutions to medical problems, you will no doubt think I'm nuts. But I believe sickness and health depend on more than drugs, important though they may be.
FYI, here is an article, copied verbatim, from the New York Times on Lambertini's criteria:
Catholic Church rules devised in the 1730s to determine whether an unexplained cure was miraculous.
In December 2008, The A.P. reported that the International Medical Committee of Lourdes would cease to describe unexplained cures as miracles, calling them instead “remarkable.”
Appointed by the Roman Catholic Church, the Committee has ruled on unexplained cures at Lourdes since 1954, using the Lambertini Criteria established by Cardinal Prospero Lambertini (later Pope Benedict XIV) in 1734-38. The criteria are:
 The disease must be serious and impossible (or at least very difficult) to cure by human means;  The disease must not be in a stage at which it is liable to disappear shortly by itself;  Either no medical treatment must have been given or it must be certain that the treatment given has no reference to the cure;  The cure must be instantaneous;  The cure must be complete;  The cure must be permanent;  The cure must not be preceded by any crisis of a sort which would make it possible the cure was wholly or partially natural. (Patricia Treece, “Nothing Short of a Miracle,” 1994)
The Lourdes Medical Committee’s reluctance to describe cures as miraculous seems pragmatic and political. One official told The A.P. that the application of the Lambertini criteria is nowadays “almost always impossible,” and the Committee’s secretary said, “It’s a sort of rebellion, if you will, against laws that don’t concern us – and shouldn’t.”
Note: These criteria make a clear distinction between the "natural" and "supernatural", since the cure must not be preceded by any crisis that could have triggered a "natural" cure. I repeat that I cannot speak as a theologian or a doctor. For me this distinction cannot exist. There has to be some connection between the sick human being and the Healer. What is prayer if not a connection to the Healer?
Could Lambertini's criteria really be too strict to be applicable? Or was bishop Perrier wrong to shun the word "miracle", even though a "psychic" element is unavoidable? Was the bishop merely complying with the current anti-Catholic sentiment that prevails in so much of the Western world?
Below, Serge François, the man who was cured at Lourdes.