The Bishop's change of heart
The Roma gypsies, or Roma people as they are sometimes called, are constantly in the news because of their disruptive behavior. Nomads, they travel in caravans, camping out wherever and whenever they choose, leaving filth and property damage behind. I do not have detailed information on them, and cannot say how many of them are French citizens, nor do I know if there have been any recent attempts to force them to settle somewhere. In this story posted at Riposte Laïque, we see a French bishop do a remarkable volte-face as he first denounces what he sees as prejudice against the Roma; then, mugged by reality, he denounces their presence on his property.
Tuesday, July 16, in the Eure quarter of le Havre, department of Haute-Normandie. At 6:00 in the morning the police evacuated the illegal Roma camp following a court decision. Bulldozers destroyed the shantytown occupied by thirty-four adults and forty-six children. An intolerable situation for Jean-Luc Brunin, bishop of le Havre, who made a vigorous appeal on regional television for solidarity with the Roma (see video above). You must listen to this burst of generosity that comes straight from the heart."Be careful, let us not turn our backs on fraternity. It is not by rejecting, excluding others that things will improve," the good apostle explained pedantically.
The families evacuated then scattered. Five of them, no doubt inspired by the bishop's appeal, settled in the garden of the Saint-Augustin church, not far from the deserted camp. An intolerable situation for Jean-Luc Brunin, the bishop of le Havre, who denounced this use of force on regional television (see video below), calling for the bailiff to confirm the occupation, and demanding an evacuation. You must listen to this rejection of the Other that comes straight from the heart: "I cannot accept this use of force. I'm willing to make suggestions, to reflect. We do not have a solution because if it existed we would know, but it's a solution that must be worked out together in a partnership. The Church alone cannot be made to settle the question of these families."
Do as I say, not as I do! Like many fine souls of the Church of France, the bishop of le Havre is generous… with other people's money. Whether it is toward Islam or toward the Roma, the Catholic hierarchy often takes absolutist positions, totally disconnected from the daily reality in which the parishioners live. But when reality imposes itself, our moralists are forced to admit the truth.
The author concludes with the suggestion that the bishop re-read the parable of the Good Samaritan, so often misinterpreted. The "neighbor" we are supposed to love as ourselves is not the one we help, but the one who helps and who is free to help whomever he wants, whenever and however he wants. The well-known parable is not a directive to help all the wretched of the earth.
Here's an interesting discussion of the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37), from Biblical Archaeology, a website that merits a detour, for those interested in the beginnings of our civilization.