Immigration, abortion, end of life: bishops sound the alarm


Immigration, end of life, abortion in the Constitution... The Catholic bishops meeting in Lourdes sounded the alarm on Wednesday on these subjects whose legislative framework should soon evolve.

At the end of its autumn plenary assembly, the Conference of Bishops of France (CEF) reiterated its “concern at the idea that the freedom to abort could be enshrined in the Constitution”, a promise from President Emmanuel Macron.

If women must be "better protected" from violence and their rights "better guaranteed", the president of the CEF Eric de Moulins-Beaufort estimated that "abortion, the decision of which is rarely a choice of complete freedom, cannot be understood solely through the prism of women's rights.

“Including it in fundamental rights would damage the entire balance of these rights”, warn the bishops in a separate declaration which Mgr de Moulins-Beaufort intends to send to the President of the Republic “as soon as possible”.

Another subject subject to an ad hoc declaration: immigration, at the heart of a bill examined since Monday in the Senate. This intends to considerably tighten the section providing for the regularization of undocumented workers.

Here too the warning is clear: "Particular attention must be paid to the protection and rights of those who already contribute through work to the smooth running of our country." We must “resist the temptation to reduce migration issues to security issues,” says the text.

End of Life

Calling for "a burst of humanity in the face of migration", Mgr de Moulins-Beaufort warned against "the illusion of preventing all migration", saying he was convinced that "we can, in France, still, receive (...) those who come to us in the hope of a better life.”

The president of the CEF also underlined the "no less great concern" of the bishops "in the face of the bill in preparation concerning the end of life", expected for December. The subject was to be raised by Mr. Macron during his meeting on Wednesday with the Freemasons of the Grand Orient of France.

“A human society must be fraternal for all until the end of life, and promote active assistance in living,” he added, a veiled allusion to “active assistance in dying” which could be included in the bill.

This assembly was devoted to the "mission" (that is to say how to relay the message of the Gospel), but the war between Israel and Hamas was logically invited into the discussions.

While anti-Semitic acts are exploding in France (1.040 since the bloody attacks by Hamas against Israel on October 7) and Muslim leaders deplore a release of anti-Muslim speech, the bishops called for "not to give in to simplistic logic of confrontation between religious communities".

“We speak out against the racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim attitudes that this logic induces,” they insisted. 

No instructions for walking

However, they did not give instructions for the march against anti-Semitism on Sunday, where the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, will go, but which faces the boycott of LFI and the participation of the RN considered cumbersome by some.

“I am always reluctant to give political instructions,” explained Mgr de Moulins Beaufort, assuring however that the CEF “will be represented, at least by the director of the service for relations with Judaism”.

Calling for “justice for the Palestinian people” who “have the right to a free State”, he also asked for “clear recognition, everywhere, of the right to exist for the State of Israel”.

Finally, in a Church still shaken by the scandal of sexual violence, the bishops confirmed their "commitment to recognition and reparation" due to victims, by focusing on the specific case of adults.

“We are carefully following the current legal discussions with a view to better defining the influence,” affirmed the ecclesiastical official, describing the assistance of the State criminal justice system as “essential”.

Writing (with AFP)

Image credit: Shutterstock / Zdenek Matyas Photography (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes)

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