There is an excellent blogpost on the new Catholic Voices media blog, which states we have much to learn from the example of the French in our defence of marriage. The French bishops have successfully managed to keep the frame away from homosexuality (how many people realise that the Church favours the decriminalisation of homosexual acts) and have instead kept the focus upon the conjugal meaning of marriage and the welfare of children.
The French Church has managed to build a broad civil alliance against same-sex marriage, including various gay and atheist activists. The movement is called Manif pour Tous, which according to Le Figaro, includes “La Socialo, La Catho et l’homo.”
There is a rally taking place in Paris on Sunday, which has a predicted turn-out of at least half a million people – a rally ‘for marriage’ and ‘against homophobia’.
Against this backdrop, in a decision which could have implications for religious freedom across Europe, France’s education minister, Vincent Peillon, has written a controversial letter warning Catholic schools not to engage in any discussion about this issue with their students, after Eric de Labarre, secretary general of France’s Catholic schools had sent a letter to France’s 8,300 schools, urging just the opposite! The socialist President, Francois Hollande has weighed in on the side of his education minister and thus French Catholic schools (which are private) are barred from discussing the issue at all, unlike state institutions.
In the meantime, rumour has it that the ‘Equal Marriage’ Bill is coming before Parliament for its first vote (second reading) on 28 January.
La Manif pour Tous, has invited supporters of traditional marriage to join with them in solidarity and make their feelings known in London, this Sunday at the same time as the Paris rally. Meet in front of the French embassy, 58 Knightsbridge, from midday.
Catholics could make a day of it and go on from there to Southwark Cathedral where the relics of St Don Bosco can be venerated between 3.30pm and 5.30pm with the Mass at 6pm.
Put on your dancing shoes…