THE CROSS CONTINUES TO BE A CAUSE OF DIVISION

Yvon Beaudoin gives the background to yet another anti-religious incident: “The mayor had requested the suppression of the procession on the feast of the Assumption. Bishop Fortuné went ahead with it all the same. A group of men attacked the young girls who led the procession and momentarily seized possession of the Cross, which was courageously defended by the Catholics who followed the procession.”

… What splendid people we have at Marseilles! You will have to go a long way to find their equals! Yes, that dastardly outrage. Well deserved the punishment meted out to the people responsible, and if they come back another time it will serve them right if you hit them even harder, for it is really too bad when a bunch of hooligans can brag of their immunity and insult religion and all that is dear to the 140,000 who make up the majority of the people here.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 24 August 1831, EO VIII n 492

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One Response to THE CROSS CONTINUES TO BE A CAUSE OF DIVISION

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Ah, these fiery people of Provence, and not just Eugene, but all of the people there who were involved one way or another. Are they any different from those of us who live here across the ocean from France? Are we really so placid or is it that there are hidden depths to all of us which lie below the surface?

    I think for a moment of this past weekend’s celebrations of Remembrance Day, and in particular of all of the Canadian men who went and fought in both World Wars to defend and preserve the rights of many men. I attended a very small but intimate Remembrance Day ceremony at the university and I thought of my father who was a veteran of the 2nd World War. He returned from the war, but unbeknownst to us he suffered greatly from PTSD and was not diagnosed until he was in his 70s. I knew him as a violent man, abusive and cruel but last weekend I was able to connect the dots and understand a little where he was coming from. I realized it was not just about the men who died ‘over there’ but also about those who came back home to us and whose lives had also been robbed from them in a different way. My dad had left part of his humanness over there. And so I think of some of the men that my father was fighting in his service, where were they coming from and what did they believe? How did live out of their fears and beliefs and brokenness?

    It was this that allowed me to look at how I lived out of the violence that I grew up in, how I acted with a zeal that was born out of fear and pain and most certainly a lack of knowing what love was all about. No different than those men that Eugene wrote about.

    And the Cross that means so much to me today – what kind of division does it cause in my life? I am not thinking of ‘how others treat me because of the cross that I wear’ but rather how as I wear and bear the cross – how do I respond to them, how do I treat those others?

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