By: Jo Siedecka
The election of Emmanuel Macron as the new president of France has been welcomed by London’s French Catholic community. Speaking from the French chaplaincy at Notre Dame de France church in Leicester Square, Fr Pascal Boidin said many parishioners are especially relieved for their families in France.
“The election in France has been a real surprise in many ways throughout the campaign - and including the end,” Fr Pascal said. “It looks like the end of an era in French politics…This could be a move forward. This result seems more balanced. But we will have to wait and see who Macron appoints. There are many challenges ahead. France is a very young country - because of its high birthrate.“
Fr Pascal said another aspect more important than the refugee crisis is the relationship with Europe. “Traditional Catholics have been very faithful to the concept of Europe - remembering the war and our need for peace,” he said. “You can see from the voting that the more Catholic regions voted for Macron.”
Throughout the election campaign, the French bishops did not endorse any candidate by name, but gave Catholics "elements for discernment, " saying that society must rely on "the search for common good" and "efficient solidarities.”
In his wide-ranging opening speech at the French bishops' conference spring assembly in Lourdes, on 28 March, Archbishop Georges Pontier of Marseille, spoke about civic duties. Archbishop Pontier stressed the "necessity of fraternity" in a divided France. "We won't be able to rethink the future of our nation if we isolate ourselves from one another. Some people think that this cultural isolation is a good thing. But that's a lure.”
He also warned of a growing acceptance and a trivialisation of abortion and eugenics. "New developements in science should be used to develop better treatments, and not to promote a culture that longs for the perfect child, and in doing so, wishes to eliminate the embryos crippled by a handicap," said Archbishop Pontier.
Read more about Notre Dame de France here: www.ndfchurch.org/en/