Friday, February 7, 2014, 12:18 by Fr Joe Borg
Last Sunday Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the Catholic archbishop of Lyon marched at the head of the protest organised in Lyon accusing the government of "family-phobia" for legalising gay marriage and planning other policies that in the opinion of the Cardinal and many others will harm traditional families.
At the same time that Cardinal Barbarin was leading the demonstration held in his diocese another protest was being organised in Paris. It is estimated that one hundred thousand people took part in the demonstrations.
This is just one of the many demonstrations being organised in France since the legalisation of gay marriage by President Hollande. Many similar demonstrations had been organised in an attempt to stop President Hollande going ahead with the legislation. The Catholic Church had taken a very strong stand against the introduction of gay marriage and against adoptions by gay couples.
Marchers are now protesting that the Hollande government would now introduce new gender equality lessons. Pilot projects are being held in a number of state schools. Such teaching based on the "gender theory" that looks at all sex-related roles as social constructs without any relation to natural differences.
Pope Benedict had criticised the gender theory. “People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves” he told officials of the Roman Curia).
The French protestors headed by Cardinal Barbarin also say that Government will legalise medical procedures to help same-sex couples have children. These measures will include assisted reproduction for lesbians or make surrogate motherhood an option for gay males who want genetically related children. Currently assisted reproduction is only available legally to married couples.
There is a particularly interesting dimension to all of this. Government is denying that there are any plans for the introduction of these measures.
A legitimate question raises itself: If Government is denying all this why are people protesting and why is Cardinal Barbarin leading these protests?
The very simple answer is that the protesters do not believe the Government. Neither does Cardinal Barbarin. During the demonstration he told journalists that such procedures could be included in amendments once the law goes to parliament in a few months.
The Cardinal clearly told journalists: "We are not naïve."
The Cardinal knows that only naïve persons believe governments whose actions indicate a pattern which betrays their intentions. The Cardinal knows that only the naïve believe a government who says one thing but in actual fact does the opposite. The Cardinal knows that only the naïve believe messengers that are sent by the powers that be to quell one’s fears.
And because the Cardinal is not naïve he did not just issue some half-baked statement. Neither did he just support the demonstrators. He led the demonstration protesting against President Hollande and his government.
Cardinal Barbarin said that he is not naïve. Experience shows that the same statement cannot be said about all members of the Catholic hierarchy.
PS. Following the demonstrations President Hollande dropped plans change the family law. It seems that it helps when members of the Catholic hierarchy are not naïve!